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Police reform reaches the end of the beginning

Plus, why $2.7 is just the starting point for education spending in Nova Scotia

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Good morning!

The old weather adage says that when March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. And it sure came in like a lion—a cold, wet, angry one. Then there’s Shubenacadie Sam, a more cuddly climate creature, whose prediction back on Groundhog Day was that we’ll be getting an early spring. All this, plus a three-day forecast that calls for temperatures on Wednesday to hit double digits above freezing, could convince a person that we’re done getting snow for the season.

But is that just wishful thinking? I’m not asking rhetorically, I really want to know your opinion. Take a moment to answer the follow poll to tell me how much snow you’re expecting.

How much snow is Halifax still going to get?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

– Kyle

🌡️ Traffic & Weather

Today: 🌧️ 7°

Tomorrow: 🌤️ 

Next Day: ⛈️ 10°

🚗 Driving today? Check out the current traffic conditions and ongoing road closures.


Spending $2.7 billion on schooling is just the beginning for Nova Scotia

📸 Communications Nova Scotia

Provincial finance minister Allan MacMaster earned a big round of applause from his colleagues at Province House last week for bringing in Nova Scotia’s 2024-25. Getting a document together that tracks every one of $16.5 billion dollars is an achievement. But let’s not forget that after all the work to put the budget together, it’s really just a best guess about what the province will spend in the coming fiscal year—we’ll be lucky if the final price tag is anywhere near $16.5 billion.

The current budget year isn’t even over yet (the new one starts April 1) and Nova Scotia has already overspent by more that $1 billion. Such overages are such a normal part of the system they have a name, “additional appropriations,” and if there’s ever a time they’re avoidable, this isn’t it. The Coast has a special interest in the education parts of the budget, which are slated to cost $2.72 billion, and we already know that figure is going to grow.

Education reporter Lauren Phillips explains why $2.72 billion is a floor, not a ceiling, in a budget breakdown at The Coast’s website.

🤔 Need To Know

🚨 Adsum for Women & Children, a local charity operating shelters and supportive housing, says it gets several calls a day from people who can't afford a place to live when their fixed-term leases run out, and Adsum can't help them.

🏛️ March Break must-do: cooking workshops, family research, scavenger hunts AND free admission (thanks to a partnership with Emera). Pack the kids. Go to the Museum!*

🔌 As warned of in Friday's newsletter, the city went ahead that day and cut electricity to the encampments at Grand Parade and Correctional Centre Park.

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Halifax makes tangible progress on police reform

📸 The Coast

Winston Churchill is best known today as a racist war hero, but the British prime minister was also extremely quotable. After winning a big battle in the Second World War, he said the perfect thing to acknowledge the victory while reminding people there’s still a lot of work to be done: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Last week, Halifax might just have reached the end of the beginning of police reform, when council had the first-ever budget debate for the new Department of Community Safety. Police reform has been a hot topic in Halifax in recent years, with the Wortley Report, the Defunding the Police Report and the Mass Casualty Commission all screaming about the need for systemic changes in how we approach public safety. The Community Safety Department was created last year to do that.

The same council budget meeting also heard that come summer in the city, there could be as many as 400 unhoused people outside sleeping rough. If this sounds to you like a return to the beginning of the beginning of the problem, council agrees. In his report on the meeting, City Hall reporter Matt Stickland looks at how councillors officially decided to start planning for refugee camps.

🗞️ In Other News

🦠 Long COVID affects nearly 10% of Canadians, yet people who have it still struggle to get disability assistance. Dr. Lisa Barrett, one of Nova Scotia's important experts through the pandemic, recently told CBC: "The first step really is that medical professionals need to be educated that this is a thing, it's real and it's not a made-up thing because people just don't want to be at work."

🔎 A child who went missing on Saturday was found later that day wandering around near a grocery store in Lower Sackville, missing a shoe but otherwise safe.

🥅 Dalhousie University's Alec Bélanger isn't just a player on the Dal Tigers men's hockey team, and the Atlantic university league's rookie of the year. He also won a community service award for launching a program that teams up student volunteers with kids who have Down syndrome.   

🦞 A lobster caught and tagged by scientists in Atlantic Canadian waters made headlines when it was caught again off the coast of Maine, 256 kilometres away.

🐾 In more animal news, yesterday was World Wildlife Day. Hope for Wildlife celebrated with an open house at their animal rehab centre in Seaforth, and gave an update that two bobcats in their care—one hit by a snowplow, the other trapped in a snare—are doing really well.


Enjoy March in Downtown Halifax

March is coming in jam-packed with things to do in Downtown Halifax.

From the Savour Food & Wine Festival and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to The 2024 JUNO Awards, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

And with March Break right around the corner, now’s the time to start planning your Downtown adventure.

Check out all the fun happening here.

🗓️ Things To Do

No matter the weather, we’re here to help you plan your week with these Coast picks:

🗓 Sackville Sandwich Week Burger Bash doesn’t start until April 11, but for an appetizer you can take in Sackville’s celebration of sandwiches, with 15 restaurants participating now through Saturday | final day Mar. 9

🗓 Oodles of Noodles: Can you handle another food event? Is that even a question? Quinpool Road’s first-ever ode to the noodle kicks off Wednedsay | final day Mar. 10

🗓 Music Bingo: East Coast Queers is hosting at the queer-friendly Freeman’s Little New York in Fairview, and everyone’s welcome as long as you’re on time. Tuesday’s theme is queer anthems | Mar. 5 | 7pm | Free

🗓 The Environmental Gala: The School of the Environment at Saint Mary’s University and the SMU Environmental Society invite you to an evening of food, drinks and dancing, Tuesday night at SMU | Mar. 5 | 7-11pm | $17.31 and up

🗓 Aaron Pritchett w/ Cory Marks & Matt Lang: The “Better When I Do” country singer visits Halifax on his Liquored Up Tour this Wednesday | Mar. 6 | 8pm | $46

🗓 Dartmouth Queer Trivia Night: Alex B is busy this week, celebrating the two-year anniversary of Queer Trivia Night—that’s general trivia in a queen-safe space—by hosting events on both sides of the harbour. The Dartmouth edition happens Wednesday at Brightwood Brewery (Halifax info below) | Mar. 6 | 7pm | $7 per person, minimum two-person table

🗓 Halifax Queer Trivia Night: Join host Alex B on Thursday for a night of trivia for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and allies, happening Thursday at The Duke’s Public House (former Foggy Goggle) | Mar. 7 | 7pm | $7 per person, minimum three-person table

🗓 International Women’s YAY!: Celebrate International Women’s Day this Friday with this comedy show/fundraiser at Elle’s Bisto. Half of ticket sales go to Adsum for Women & Children | Mar. 8 | 8-10pm | $22.63  

🗓 Holly-Bolly Friday: DJ Spin Singh is coming in from Toronto to power a party of Bollywood hits and Hollywood glitz at the Toothy Moose | Mar. 8 | 9pm | $10.90 and up

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings

⚓️ What’s In The Harbour

➡️ At 4am the 65,950-tonne container ship Delphinus C leaves the Fairview Cove terminal, headed for Port Everglades, Florida.

🚢 Tropic Hope reaches Halifax at 6:15am, the 160-metre-long container vessel last making landfall at the Caribbean port of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.

🚢 The 158-metre container ship Bakkafoss is scheduled to arrive from Portland, Maine at 7:15am. It will be at the South End Container Terminal through the heart of the day, then leave for Argentia, Newfoundland at 6pm.

➡️ NYK Romulus leaves Halifax at 8am. The big container ship—294 metres long—is making the trans-Atlantic trip to Southampton, England.

🚢 The 46,011-tonne oil tanker Stolt Sisto gets to the Imperial refinery in Dartmouth at 12:15pm, completing its voyage from Antwerp, Belgium.

➡️ Cargo vessel Onego Deusto is scheduled to leave at 10pm, destined for Sheet Harbour, just a little further east along Nova Scotia’s coast.

👀 In Case You Missed It

🪦 Reviews from our newsletter subscribers were mixed when we referred to Brian Mulroney as a “Florida man” last week in the Daily. Sure, the former prime minister happened to die in Florida, and he left office under a cloud, but many readers wondered if we forgot that Mulroney deserves major credit for getting Nelson Mandela out of jail and ending apartheid in South Africa. Well, yes, we totally forgot that, and we shouldn’t have. Here’s a look at how Mulroney did it.

📢 Local efforts to save Hartlen Point—a piece of Eastern Passage wilderness popular with hikers, surfers and birds—from Department of National Defense plans to turn it into a warship testing facility got a boost in Ottawa from Green Party leader Elizabeth May. The Coast’s Martin Bauman has the story.

📰 The question of how to solve journalism’s problems got some great answers from Coast readers.

That’s it!

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