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Come-from-aways…

March 13, 2015

So, the most popular major in Canada – fresh off winning the World Mayor Award – and noted urban visionary – was in town yesterday – giving four speeches over the day – and all he got in the daily Herald was a front page picture and about 6 inches of page 3 column. And the only take-away the Herald focused on was the fact that Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi noted that the feds need to do a better job funding cities.

That was it.

No talk about visionary urban planning, income disparities and crime rates, public policy, affordable housing.

No newspaper interview with the mayor.

Nothing.

In fact, about three times as much space was dedicated to the two pictures of Nenshi, than were given to the content of his visit.

Nenshi’s visit to Halifax shared the same news page as a Port Hawksbury sex abuser, a regional court decision on a Metis hunting-out-of-season issue, and about ½ the space dedicated to next year’s tuition hikes at Dalhousie.  (And 1/6 of the space dedicated to national university sports tournaments going on this weekend.)

When I first moved here, I would have thought this lack of coverage merely coincidental – as there are a number of factors that go into deciding what today’s “news” will be.

But after living here for a few years, reading the Ivany Report (and a dozen others), being treated first-hand as a ‘come-from-away’ of the worst kind (a “Torontonian”), and seeing, as an outsider, just how insular Nova Scotians can be, I am in no way surprised to see a world-renowned city mayor from out west, with a south-Asian name no less, be all but ignored by the only daily newspaper in town.

Now don’t get me wrong. This would not have been a conscious decision. There was no overt white xenophobic discussion going on at the morning conflab of editors and reporters. I’m sure it was entirely business as usual.

But it is “just the way it happens down here”.

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When Nelson Mandela died, Halifax was the only CBC affiliate in the entire country that opened its 9am news with another story (I checked).

Mandela was #2 that morning. Right after an extensive piece on the prohibitive cost of a drug for cystic fibrosis, or some such disease.

When I called people out on it, everyone acted like I did not know what I was talking about. The Mandela story did get covered. It’s not like it was ignored completely.

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A Halifax cab company was fined $27,500 this week for refusing to pick up Black people; making this the third Halifax business that I know of, that has been fined in the last two years, for refusing to serve Black people.

Maybe you should stop and read that sentence again. And understand this: In 2015, in the largest city in the Maritimes, in this liberal-multicultural-democracy we call Canada, 3 Halifax businesses lost their court battles and have been fined for not serving Black people.

Interesting too, that the Chronicle focused mainly on Nenshi’s plea that the feds need to give more money to the cities. The message implied that we don’t need anyone telling us how to spend it – not Nenshi (with his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, and his undergraduate degree in Commerce) – not any other come-from-away…

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/02/03/calgarys-naheed-nenshi-declared-worlds-top-mayor.html

 

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