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Year in Review

A look back at the HMC's reporting in 2013

by Natascia Lypny

Year in Review

Few other words can describe 2013 in the Maritimes than a “doozy.” From the shale gas protests in Kent County, N.B., to barista labour disputes in Halifax, and Nova Scotia’s ongoing battles with poverty, housing and homelessness, the Halifax Media Co-op was there for it all, providing its readers with free coverage from an independent, grassroots perspective.

Over the course of 12 months, the HMC not only stepped up its output of hard-hitting journalism — publishing once a day if not more — but also grew as a organization, attracting new reporters and loyal supporters. Here is a look back at our 2013 reporting.



A wakeup call for Canada: hundreds gather in Halifax in support of Idle No More.

IDLE NO MORE: Reporter Miles Howe argues for the place of spirituality and ceremony in ongoing Idle No More negotiations and treaty discussions, while hundreds rally for Idle No More in Halifax.

HOUSING: Kendall Worth blogs about finding decent housing in Halifax when living on income assistance, disability cheques and a modest shelter allowance; Robert Devet outlines groups’ concerns regarding the Department of Community Services’ public consultations on affordable housing; and Nova Scotia Power shows signs of making life (a bit) easier on low-income rate payers.

RACE: Solidarity Halifax members Ben Sichel and Jackie Barkley reflect on the allegations against the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and its place in the province’s complex racial past (and present).

FOOD: The Community Carrot Co-op wins $115,000 in Aviva funding to set up a grocery store on Gottingen Street



Solidarity Halifax announces finalists in 'Name our Oval' contest.

LISTEN: Rocky Jones on Nova Scotia's Black history, and present day struggles.

LABOUR: St. FX teachers strike; and seasonal and casual workers in NS reel after EI reform is implemented.

HEALTH: TRANS*form Healthcare launches a campaign at improving health care provisions and access for transgender people.

ENVIRONMENT: Omnibus Bill C-38 eliminates environmental assessments for salmon farms in Nova Scotia.



Halifax police crack down on medical marijuana club.

LISTEN: Province rejects salmon farm at Shoal Bay, but the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore is not celebrating yet.

POVERTY: A recommendation to eliminate the five-cent deposit on recyclable bottles is seen by some as “poor-bashing.”

INDIGENOUS: Shelley Young, from Eskasoni First Nation, and Jean Sock, from Elsipogtog First Nation, go on a hunger strike in protest of the “Made In Nova Scotia” process.

COMMUNITY: Robert Devet looks at libraries’ increasing challenge to maintain services when facing slashed budgets and diminishing resources.

DISABILITIES: The Department of Community Service’s “Putting People First” document and related consultation on housing for people with intellectual disabilities gets a stormy reception.

POLICE: Police crack down on the Halifax Compassion Club; meanwhile, HRM’s police chief tells reporter Hilary Beaumont that marijuana charges are down in the city.



Rehtaeh's friends and relatives say society needs to change.

LISTEN: Two bariastas dismissed from their jobs after trying to unionize chat with Asaf Rshid.

LABOUR: Just Us! Café baristas lose their jobs after they attempt to unionize; people later rally in their support; and employees are told there will be consequences should they unionize.

INDIGENOUS: In the first invocation of Jordan’s Principle, the Supreme Court hands down an historic ruling reimbursing the mother of a severely disabled child for his at-home care.

POVERTY: Robert Devet looks at the lack of homeless youth services in Nova Scotia’s rural areas.



The right to know: Monsato, GMOs, and international security.

ENVIRONMENT: Trenton residents protest the health effects of the pollution emitted by Nova Scotia Power's Trenton Generating Station.

LABOUR: Just Us! Café employees file a labour board complaint alleging they were being denied breaks; and two employees who say they were fired after trying to unionize are given $11,000 to cover living expenses, raised by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.

COMMUNITY: Stepping Stone executive director Rene Ross steps down in an attempt to save the sex worker organization some money following funding cuts; frozen funding forces Annapolis Valley family centre to lay off staff, reduce programs; and after searching for more than a year, the Roberts Street Social Centre finds a new home on Creighton Street — but only until February 2014.

INDIGENOUS: The Crown appeals the Supreme Court ruling on Jordan’s Principle.



Anti-fracking arrests continue on Highway 126.

ELSIPOGTOG: Reporter Miles Howe heads to New Brunswick to begin reporting on the shale gas protests that pitted Kent County residents against SWN Resources. Two women were arrested and later released after performing prayer; the Mi’kmaq light a sacred fire; 12 people are arrested while blocking seismic trucks, followed by a dozen more on National Aboriginal Day; and Sarah Slaunwhite looks at the myths surrounding fracking’s effects and SWN's corporate history.

FOOD: Reporter Hillary Bain Lindsay examines local farmers’ challenges in getting their produce sold at large grocery stores.

COMMUNITY: A public consultation on the future of St. Pat’s-Alexandra School illuminates concerns about the gentrification of the North End; members of the Kitpu Youth Program believe the school should be made a community space.

LABOUR: Just Us! Café employees pen a deal with the Service Employees International Union; previously dismissed workers are invited back.



Colouring the concrete: PlaceMaking Halifax.

WATCH: Ask first: Haligonians respond to Robin Thicke with sexy-but-consensual video of their own.

ELSIPOGTOG: Reporter Miles Howe is arrested while reporting on the shale gas protests in Elsipogtog, N.B. He is charged with threats and obstruction of justice; Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi is jailed, then released without bail; reporter Hillary Bain Lindsay takes part in civil disobedience training with others in Elsipogtog; road blocks and truck seizures capture the camp’s attention; Rana Encol profiles the “making of a Maliseet warrior”; and just as July comes to a close, 25 protesters have their charges dropped as SWN finishes its seismic testing with a promise to return in September. LABOUR: Second Cup allegedly fires three baristas after union vote; and reporter Hilary Beaumont analyses the recent rash of union disputes at Halifax establishments.

LGBTQ: Reporter Jacob Boon looks at what it means to be two-spirited; and Blair Langille reports how LGBTQ sporting groups are on the rise.

OBIT: Rocky Jones, pioneering African Nova Scotian human rights activist, dies at 71.



In loving memory of Palmira Boutillier.

WATCH: A mini-documentary is released on the lack of affordable housing in Antigonish.

OBIT: The Media Co-op mourns the loss of reporter and dear friend, Palmira Boutillier.

FOOD: Michaela Cavanaugh explores eating for free in Halifax.

HEALTH: Rana Encol investigates the effects of the potash and gas industry on Penobsquis, New Brunswick's “dirty little secret.”

LABOUR: Second Cup firing and unionizing dispute goes to labour board.

PEACE: Peace activist Tamara Lorincz bids adieu to Halifax as she leaves for England on a Rotary International Peace Fellowship.



Mi'gmaw Warriors Society fells trees, lights fire, creating inner road block on Highway 134

LISTEN: Pro-rape chant symptomatic of endemic sexism on campus, says St. Mary's sociology professor.

LABOUR: Shay Enxuga discusses how queer struggles are related to class struggles, using Halifax’s Baristas Rise Up campaign to illustrate.

POLITICS: Rallies across Canada ask Canadians to “Stand Up for Science.”

ELECTION: Dalhousie Student Union tackles student apathy in the provincial election; and a grassroots group creates an innovative website to keep voters informed. The HMC covers a myriad of election issues, including midwifery, taxes and rent control.

DISABILITIES: The Department of Community Services releases a report calling for the phasing out of large institutions for housing for people with intellectual disabilities, a more individualized approach to care and funding, and improving service provisions.

ENVIRONMENT: Residents seek to “Save the Bedford Basin Reef.”

ELSIPOGTOG: Seismic testing returns to Rexton, N.B., as does reporter Miles Howe. One day in, arrests are made as people protest RCMP cordons of SWN Resource Canada’s equipment; and locals respond with their own blockade.



RCMP bring 60 drawn guns, dogs, assault rifles, to serve injunction on the wrong road.

WATCH: Showdown at Highway 134.

ELSIPOGTOG: Elsipogtog First Nation's Chief Arren Sock presents a Band Council Resolution stating that his community is prepared to reclaim all unoccupied Crown Lands in most of New Brunswick; SWN Resources successfully acquires an injunction against anti-shale gas blockade; Sock’s advisers’ connections are called into question; reporter Miles Howe is arrested for a second time and released without charges; escalation mounts as SWN enforces its injunction with RCMP help; and Halifax rallies in support of Elsipogtog.

ELECTION: Election coverage continues with overviews of parties’ stances on income assistance, education, health care, the environment, women, poverty, the electoral system, and diversity.

HOUSING: The battle between Atlantic Living Property Management and one of its tenants, claiming unsuitable living conditions, heats up.

ENVIRONMENT: Tracey Allen profiles Renewable Energy PEI.

RACE: An anti-racism caravan winds its way through Dartmouth, triggered by recent incidents at a Leon’s store.

HEALTH: A group works to develop the North End’s first community health assessment tool.

POVERTY: The local ACORN branch joins national fight for lower-priced Internet, cellphone service and computer access.



Million Mask March spotlights cyberbullying.

ENVIRONMENT: Jen Stotland uncovers the green burial moment in Nova Scotia.

ELSIPOGTOG: Miles Howe unearths questions about how the Oct. 17 anti-shale gas raid went down; Halifax hosts an Elsipogtog Benefit Concert; and Howe is arrested for the third time while reporting in Rexton, N.B.

POLITICS: A rally against the pending closure of Veterans Affairs offices draws a huge crowd in Sydney.

POVERTY: A report on housing and homelessness in HRM paints grim picture and the 2013 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia finds 29,000 children living in poverty.

GENDER: The Second Story Women’s Centre launches a free magazine on motherhood.

LABOUR: Irving Shipyard workers walk off the job after co-worker's suicide.



Contaminated wells in Harrietsfield connected to construction waste processing.

LISTEN: Group wants to start a tool library for low-income families.

ELSIPOGTOG: Miles Howe investigates the “intriguing” connections between New Brunswick’s key shale gas players.

FOOD: The Community Carrot Co-op purchases a building on Gottingen Street for its grocery store, set to open in March.

ENVIRONMENT: Concerns are raised over proposed changes to the Otter Lake Landfill facilities, which will negatively affect the number of recyclables that end up in the waste dump, and its odour; and an audit shows provincial pesticide ban often ignored.

HEALTH: HRM allows construction to continue as residents in Harrietsfield face contaminated wells related to the work.

DISABILITIES: Stephanie Taylor examines how people with autism have trouble accessing sex ed.

LABOUR: Just Us! Café baristas ratify first collective agreement.


What was your favourite story of 2013? Please comment below.


How did the HMC grow in 2013?

  • Supporters: 35 new subscribers and approx. 20 new monthly sustainers.
  • Website hits: The HMC website was visited nearly 500,000 times in 2013 by over 345,000 unique visitors.
  • Facebook Likes: 780+
  • Twitter followers: 2,100+
  • Increased distribution of our broadsheet, The Tide, to 5,000 copies per month.
  • Launched a new podcast and radio show called The Tide.


How can you help the HMC in 2014?

Get involved: Email your story ideas, press releases, event notices and pitches to hmc@mediacoop.ca. Ask to be added to our mailing list for regular updates, and join us Mondays at 8 p.m. at Cafe Cempoal de la Calavera Negra (2378 Agricola St.) for our contributors meetings.

Subscribe and sustain: The HMC is supported primarily by its readers — you! Find out how to subscribe to the Media Co-op’s flagship publication, The Dominion, and make monthly contributions here. Supporters are considered co-op members are given a voting say in how the Media Co-op is run. The HMC also accepts lump-sum donations from individuals and organizations.

Read and connect: Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can find copies of The Tide in eateries, schools, community centres and general gathering places around town.

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The site for the Halifax local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.