This and That

Pick a lane?

I live in the North End of Sydney and on a day a week or so ago when there were three cruise ships in port, I had a sudden vision of the area as a pedestrian-only district. It sounds crazy, I know, because at the moment, the neighborhood is clogged with cars, both the parked and the moving variety, but I have seen the future and it’s much more attractive than the chaotic present.

On this particular day, I was in a car trying to go north on the Esplanade, and found the street in front of St Patrick’s Church filled with cruise ship passengers—some crossing the street, some walking (three abreast) in the street, one standing in the middle of the street taking a picture of the church. (Later that same day, I would see five, beaming visitors pedaling their rental bikes down the wrong side of George Street.)

My first response was to crankily wish they’d follow the traffic rules.

But then I remembered the lessons I’ve been learning from a book I keep quoting (but have yet to finish), Paris Marx’s Road to Nowhere, in which the author explains that the decision to cede our roads to cars was just that, a decision, one heavily influenced by the powerful oil industry. Prior to the advent of the car, the streets belonged to everyone and on this particular day on the Esplanade, once I’d gotten past my initial crankiness, I realized that streets that belonged to everyone would be very cool.

I also realized that the sheer unpleasantness of driving in downtown Sydney these days—the detours due to work on Charlotte Street and the new Marconi Campus, parking that has effectively reduced some streets to one-lane—is making the case, in real time, for some combination of active and public transportation that would prioritize people over automobiles.

Sign me up.


Hidden agendas

Hurricane Fiona interrupted CBRM Council’s meeting schedule as effectively as it did my publication schedule, with the result that we’re both just returning to normal this week.

CBRM Council had to postpone an in camera meeting and an audit meeting, both scheduled for September 26, as well as a meeting with Municipal Affairs Minister John Lohr and a regular council meeting scheduled for September 27.

Of these, only the regular council meeting has been rescheduled, although Council will meet on Thursday to discuss its ongoing boundary review process.

The point of all this is to underline an item that appeared on the agenda for the regular council meeting when it was first announced but disappeared from the rescheduled meeting, which was held last night.

The original agenda included this:

CBRM Council agenda item re: COVID vaccines

As you will recall, if you read the Spectator‘s coverage of that September 13 meeting, Green, the councilor for District 12, supported a motion by District 1 Councilor Gordon MacDonald that would have repealed the municipality’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, against the recommendation of the CBRM’s HR director.

During discussion of the motion, Green took the opportunity to state that vaccines “don’t work.”

I just now looked up the Post’s coverage of that discussion and discovered that their reporter was quite kind to Green:

“It’s proven by science and by the medical profession that vaccines do not (fully) protect you from COVID-19,” said Green, who for the record has been vaccinated.

That “fully” was added—along with reference to Green’s vaccination status—by the reporter, presumably after consultation with Green.

What the councilor actually said during the meeting was:

It’s proven by science and by the medical profession that vaccines do not protect you from COVID-19.

And later:

The science says vaccinations do not protect you from…the COVID-19 virus. It’s clearly stated.

(I edited that sentence because Green initially started to say “vaccinations do not protect you from the vaccine” before correcting himself.)

I’m disappointed Green didn’t clarify his position last night because I would have been very interested in what he had to say.


McInnes Cooper

I only twigged to this development on the local legal scene a week ago, as I was actively transporting myself (read: walking) down Charlotte Street and saw a McInnes Cooper sign where I had expected to see a Breton Law sign.

It turns out the “merger” of the two firms was announced in August, took effect as of September 6, and was covered by CBC’s Information Morning on September 8, so, something of a reportorial fail on my part, I’m afraid.

Sydney becomes McInnes Cooper’s seventh office, after Halifax, St. John’s, Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John and Charlottetown.

McInnesCooper home page

No one shared any of the interesting details of the merger, like, the financials; or the objections (if any) raised by Breton Law’s five partners, three associates and 14 staff; or any fun name suggestions for the merged firm. Instead, we got the usual blah-blah about “synergies” and “resources” and “opportunities.” (Although it is, arguably, pretty funny that a law firm founded in 1859 waited until 2022 to decide Sydney was worth a look-see.)

The only interesting facts I can add to this story are those I gleaned from the potted history on the McInnes Cooper website, namely, that the firm represented the White Star Line after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912; the owners of the Mont Blanc after it exploded in Halifax Harbour in 1917; and Mitsubishi, the builder of the Ocean Ranger oil rig, after it capsized off the coast of Newfoundland in 1982.

I think I’ll withhold further comment.