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Citizen at Large: May 4 2013

Another week, another column from yours truly. Excited? Good! Me, too! Let’s get started shall we?



I’m betting habitual gamers and Haligonians alike will be clamouring to get their hands on a copy of Beyond: Two Souls upon its October 8th release. Why? Well, let me see … maybe because the interactive action drama stars none other than Halifax’s Oscar-nominated sweetheart Ellen Page?

Created by Sony Computer Entertainment and Quantic Dream, this “gripping and unpredictable psychological action thriller” which also stars Willem Dafoe and “A Different World” actor Kadeem “Dwayne Wayne” Hardison, screened this weekend as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

According to Sony, which describes Two Souls as  “one of the best looking games ever seen on the Playstation 3,” players are given the opportunity to play out the “remarkable life” of Ellen’s character Jodie Holmes, who was “born with a connection to a mysterious entity with incredible powers.”



Just because it’s been more than a year since Dan Leger bid adieu to his lofty perch as The Chronicle Herald’s Director of News Content doesn’t mean the veteran newsman’s writings are any less capable of grabbing others’ attention. Why just last week, freelancer Dan’s April 22 Herald column, “Let’s Call Attack Ads What They Are: Mass Cyber Bullying,” caught the eye of none other than SUN NEWS blowhard Ezra Levant.

By way of a 12-minute “opening statement” that kicked off his April 26th edition of “The Source,” right-winger Ezra discussed, in some detail, his displeasure with several media-related responses to the Conservatives’ fairy dust-laced attack ad aimed at newly minted federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

“The saddest response to the Conservative ad,” opined Ezra, “was from Dan Leger of the Halifax Chronicle Herald.”

“Remember out in Halifax, they’ve got a big bullying debate going on … the allegation that Rehtaeh Parsons was raped or bullied after having sex to the point of killing herself.”

“Bullying … real bullying,” he continued while standing in front of a huge TV screen displaying Rehtaeh’s photo, “… potentially criminal bullying is a hot issue in Halifax. Suicide. Those are important issues. Bigger than partisan squabbles over ads. But this Tory ad was really taking off … hundreds of thousands of views online and countless more on TV … so Dan Leger had to go nuclear.”

Showing viewers a digital image of the column, Ezra wasted no time in picking at Dan’s editorial scab by publicly reducing his column to little more than a lame, Justin-protecting, attack ad rebuttle.

“Seriously, you’re equating a gentle, slightly silly political ad, criticizing a 41-year-old man, the leader of a national political party, who wants to be Prime Minister … you’re equating that with bullying, maybe even the bullying that led to a young woman’s suicide?”

Pointing to media types like Dan, who suggested in his column that attack ads serve to intimidate their viewers as well as their visible target(s), and the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt, Ezra proceeded to mock what he perceives to be widespread media protectionism of young Trudeau. At one point, he played a poorly dubbed – yet somewhat humourous – version of YouTube sensation Chris Crocker’s 2008 viral “Leave Britney Alone” video, replacing the titular pop star’s name with that of the famously named Papineau MP.

“Don’t you think it rather proves the (attack ad’s) point (that Trudeau is over his head) if all the Mommy journalists come to (Trudeau’s) aid so emotionally saying, ‘Don’t be mean to my boopsy-woopsy?’ … If Trudeau become Prime Minister and goes to the G8 Summit, will (Susan) and Dan write articles asking Vladimir Putin not to be mean to our wittle Peter Pan?”

“I don’t believe that Susan Delacourt or Dan Leger or any other member of the media party actually think that tough questions are bullying. They ask tough questions all the time … of politicians they don’t like.”


It’s worth noting, even though Ezra didn’t, that Dan wasn’t the only Herald columnist to hop on the bullying bandwagon in the wake of the Trudeau-related TV spot. Chad Lucas, a provincial government media advisor who writes a weekly, face palm-compelling column on the trials and tribulations of parenthood, also weighed in. “You might be a good dad, but you’re not a good role model for this nation’s youth,” he scolded Stephen Harper as the man behind the ad. “Fortunately, there are other Canadians we can look to for inspiration in these troubling times.”

Herald reader Bill Hearn of Dartmouth called both Dan and Chad’s articles “inane” while another, Robert LeBlanc of Halifax, called the comparison between an attack ad and the Rehtaeh Parsons case “a debasement of the term bullying,” adding that the “continued misuse of this word will render it useless.”

While I tend to more or less agree with Robert, Herald reader Joanne Renaud of Bridgewater agreed with Dan that the ads are a form of “legalized bullying.”  And Robert Grantham of Stewiacke labelled the columns among “the few, wonderful ‘Aha!’ epiphanies” in his life, agreeing with Dan that “we are the unwitting collateral damage of attack ads.”


He may have found Jesus in his floor boards, but Barrington Street coiffeur Jay Wells will have to look further afield should he decide to replace recently departed stylists Jason Gilbert and Lisa Myers. Said tonsorial twosome recently formed a partnership and have set up their own tease and curl operation, The Hair Attic, at 1539 Birmingham Street.


It’s curtains for Sunnyside Mall’s Wicker Emporium location, which is now in the throws throes of a 50-70% “closing out sale.”


While some say it’s a move in right direction, others say Sunnyside Mall’s planned breast-feeding facility – set to occupy the plaza’s old Roots location – is little more than an attempt to pacify the boob-averse by moving once-public feedings to a private setting.


Service industry vet Sonny Berry, the former Sweet Basil manager who, following the closure of that eatery, joined the staff at Jane’s on the Common, can now be found at Cafe Chianti on Barrington Street.


Chatter emanating from within Halifax’s Lebanese community suggests that Michel and Marcel Khoury, the brotherly duo behind the recently shuttered Palace, may be planning to transform the Brunswick Street watering hole – the same bar that once played host to Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie – into a “high-end sports bar.”


Roger King’s Supplement King brand is making its way to Alberta. A new 700 Signal Road, Fort McMurray locale is set to open in June and will be in latest in the growing list of SK’s coast-to-coast brawn barns, with stores throughout Nova Scotia, in British Columbia, and in Newfoundland and Labrador.



Looks like St. Margaret’s Square in Upper Tantallon is getting a new Tim Horton’s. An “OPENING SOON” sign recently went up near the existing Credit Union, Lawton’s and Canadian Tire stores at 5110 St. Margaret’s Bay Road.


Robert Pace, President and CEO of The Pace Group (Pace-controlled MBS owns radio stations like FX 101.9 and HAL FM, as well as the document-destruction outfit Shredder’s) is poised to become Chair of the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) by 2014.

Appointed Vice-Chair of the railroad company last month, Robert will – “upon his successful election to the Board” – replace existing retirement-ready Chair David MacLean next April.


Royal LePage Atlantic will be hosting its National Garage Sale in aid of Phoenix House Women’s and Youth Programs next Saturday, May 11, at Premier Self Storage on Wright Avenue, Burnside. If you have unwanted household goods you’d like to donate, please call 453-1700.


Congratulations to veteran journalist, Frank Magazine co-founder, property magnate and heritage buff Lyndon Watkins, this year’s recipient of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia’s Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his conservation of more than a dozen Halifax houses, including early Georgian cottages in the Schmidtville neighbourhood.


While I regret to report that a serious sinus infection kept me from attending last week’s All Saints Cathedral send-off for recently deceased NSCC Akerley Campus Principal Daurene Lewis, I was happy to see – thanks to CTV Atlantic’s memorial service coverage – Nova Scotia’s former Lt. Governor Mayann Francis in attendance.


After all, Daurene and Mayann, in addition to being trailblazing figures in Nova Scotia’s black community, were very dear friends. In fact, on at least one occasion, I’m told, Mayann joined Canada’s first black female mayor for lunch in the Akerley dining room, one of the erstwhile campus head’s favourite entertaining venues.

Also attending Daurene’s send-off were several members of the N.S. Liberal Party including, I’m told, present-day leader Stephen McNeil. In 1988, Daurene ran for the provincial Liberals in Annapolis West, but lost to then-Tory Cabinet Minister Greg Kerr (now the MP for West Nova) by more than a thousand votes.


Dr. Emad Massoud, at the Lacewood Starbucks, on April 28.

Herald columnist and King’s College instructor Lezlie Lowe (I think!), at the Lacewood Starbucks, on April 30.

Doctors Nova Scotia CEO Nancy MacCready Williams, at the Lacewood Starbucks, on May 2.


FIELDING, Wilfred “Wilf,” 85, Annapolis Royal-born television producer, on April 19. Toronto denizen Wilf spent many years working with the CBC, Britain’s Grenada Television (think Coronation Street), and CBS Television in the U.S.

McMULLIN, Sister Rose Alma, 96, Sisters of Charity educator, on April 19.

McLEOD, Elizabeth Margaret, 79, former manager of Irises Flowers, on April 20.

ROSS, Frederick Scothorne, 73, former RBC branch manager, on April 20.

CLUETT, William Selig, 86, Lunenburg man-about-town, on April 22. Among his many accomplishments, Cluett served as town crier and was a past president of Lunenburg’s famed N.S. Fisheries Exhibition & Fisheries Reunion.

ETTINGER, J. Albert, 94, past East Hants MLA and erstwhile owner of Shubenacadie’s Ettinger Funeral Home, on April 23. Elected as a member of Nova Scotia’s PC Party, Ettinger first won the riding of Hants East in a 1962 by-election, when he defeated Gerald A. Regan (Nancy’s father) by just 77 votes. Ironically, Ettinger  lost his seat to Liberal Jack Hawkins in the same 1970 election that saw Regan elected Premier of Nova Scotia.

WENTZELL, Arleen Mildred, 77, educator, on April 26. Throughout her lengthy teaching career, Wentzell led classes in Digby, Shelburne and Kings Counties.

JACK, beloved dog of Halifax-raised Mutant X/daytime soap star Forbes March, of Lyme Disease, in late April.

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