That proposed convention centre for downtown Halifax got the Dexter government's nod yesterday. But before the project's proponents do the dance of joy, this thing's far from a done deal. The city needs to make its decision now. Halifax is being asked to put up $57 million toward the project, the same amount the province would contribute. It would be a huge surprise if HRM council rejected the city's involvement. Most councillors have indicated their support for the convention centre. The big unknown is whether the Harper government's onboard and that's far from certain. The feds are running a $55.6 billion deficit with more red ink to come over the next couple of years. And Nova Scotia's man in the Harper cabinet, Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been virtually silent on the matter. Ottawa is being asked to make a lump sum payment of $47 million by 2014. Without federal help, it seems the project would be dead in the water. Stay tuned.
Supporters say this project will help revitalize a struggling downtown, but at what cost say the critics who say the convention centre's price tag is too costly. They have a point. Under a leasing arrangement, city and provincial taxpayers will end up paying nearly $350 million over 25 years on a project that will cost nearly $160 million to build. And at the end of the day, we won't even own the building. Something's not right there.
Seems our boy Howard wasn't the only member of the NDP caucus opposed to the convention centre. Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley New Democrat Gary Burrill has also gone public with his opposition. He says with 20,000 Nova Scotians a month going to food banks, now is not the time for a multi-million dollar investment in a convention centre.
Justice Minister Ross Landry says nobody convicted of a sex crime will get a get out of jail free weekend pass. Overcrowding at the Burnside jail is being used as the reason for allowing those given weekend sentences by the courts to serve the time at home. An uproar ensued with revelations sex offenders were given the temporary absences. Landry now says when he became aware of the situation, he put an end to the practice.
Is it just me, or do none of the four sketches of the alleged South end Sleepwatcher look similar to one another? Halifax police have released a 4th sketch of the individual who breaks into the homes and apartments of women and watches them sleep. On at least two occasions however, touching was involved, prompting concern the Sleepwatcher may be escalating his crimes. But this 4th sketch, at least to my eye, looks nothing like the previous. Indeed, all bear no resemblance to one another.
How ridiculous is the Halifax school board's way of handling bully cases? The case of 8 year old Connor Eisenhauer is a good example of the board's ineptitude in dealing with bullies. Connor has been relentlessly bullied. The Grade 3 student at Rockingstone Heights School in Spryfield has been kicked in the teeth and shot at with pellet guns. His parents say he's bullied at least twice a week. They want him transferred to another school, but the school board refuses. It's solution---the school gives him a 5 minute headstart home at the end of the day. Outrageous. Before this kid is permanently scarred by his bullies, give him a fresh start at a new school.
They were complete strangers, but it was hard not to get emotionally involved with the rescue of those 33 miners trapped below ground since early August. The last of the 33 was brought to the surface late last night, touching off a celebration in the homeland and cheers around the world. The daily news is most often rife with stories of death and destruction, but in this case, these brave men and their struggles some 700 metres below ground brought joy and hope to millions around the planet glued to television sets watching the drama. Mission accomplished. Job well done.
Have a great day. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.