Roundup: Rage at McNeil inquiry refusal, HMCS Fredericton comes home, JazzFest adapts, meet the Kings Co. owl man

Shooting victims' families and supporters march for an inquiry. Photo: Raissa Tetanish.

Anger continues to grow at Premier Stephen McNeil’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Nova Scotia mass shootings. Last week, provincial justice minister Mark Furey instead joined federal public safety minister Bill Blair to announce an “independent” review, which lacks the transparency and legal authority of an inquiry. Both men are former police officers.

Condemnation of the decision has come from a variety of people, including Liberal-appointed Senators, victims’ families, and a range of citizens’ groups. Even Liberal MP Lenore Zann, who represents Portapique in Parliament, is calling for an inquiry, although last week she signed a letter saying she “welcomes” the decision to hold a review.

Nova Scotia Feminists Fighting Femicide was one of the first groups to call for a public inquiry. “We stand in solidarity with the families, respectful of the severity of their losses and their demand for a full and transparent public inquiry,” the group says in a press release. “By not listening and responding to the public, the government is causing a loss of trust and undermining our democracy.”

Yesterday, there were protests in Bridgewater and Halifax demanding an inquiry and more marches are planned in downtown Halifax on July 29 and Wentworth on July 30. There are also several petitions circulating. Raissa Tetanish has the details in this extensive report from Hub Now.

Bluenose II. Photo: Tammy Fancy

HMCS Fredericton returns to Halifax
Today at around 9:45 a.m., HMCS Fredericton returns to Halifax after six months abroad. It was a particularly gruelling deployment, with six service members killed on April 29 when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise.

The Canadian navy’s sail-training ship HMCS Oriole and the Nova Scotian schooner Bluenose II will escort Fredericton into port. See the livestream on the navy’s Facebook page. Bluenose II is in the midst of sailing tour around the province. Yesterday, it was in Peggy’s Cove and will be heading next to the Digby area.


The Halifax Jazz Festival takes a new shape
You won’t find the crowded concerts of past summers, but the Halifax Jazz Festival has found a way to adapt and carry on through the pandemic. “That’s always a priority for the festival to support the community, get people out, and put on shows,” says Andrew Jackson, JazzFest’s senior program manager. “We were trying to find different ways, and we came up with a whole bunch of different concept ideas of how to do some online programming.”

This year’s lineup includes a diverse array of online workshops and performances. The highlight is sure to be a three-night (Aug. 6–8) series of concerts recorded at Sonic Temple studios in Halifax. Featured artists include Electro Jacques Therapy with Krasnogorsk, Corey Adams, a unique spoken-word performance featuring Andre Fenton with Samantha Wilson and the Easley, Arsenault & Stevenson trio. The final night the spotlight is on Jamaican reggae artist Jah’Mila and renowned local jazz drummer Jerry Granelli. Ameeta Vohra reports for Halifax Magazine.

Drive-in resurrection
The cancellation of countless summer events has left many small communities wondering how they can safely socialize and reconnect. In the Queens County community of Mill Village, an impromptu drive-in movie theatre is the answer.

“Normal doesn’t exist anymore,” says organizer Catherine Croft. “I think we have to look at new ways of connecting our neighbours and our community and I look at this as one of them.” Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow. 

The owl man of King’s County
For 40 years, locals have known Bernard Forsythe as “The Owl Man.” He studies barred owls, helping them survive changing forest conditions near his home in the Annapolis Valley. A self-taught naturalist, he has created an enormous database of information. He tells Darcy Rhyno about his work in this Saltscapes interview.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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