Hilary Beaumont

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Why aren’t young people voting?

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Young people at Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

Millenials hanging out at Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

I meet Crystal and Nick as they’re walking out of the liquor store, armed with supplies for their Friday evening. They’re wearing matching red plaid coats. Light acne freckles Nick’s face and Crystal wears heavy eyeliner and a blue bindi between her filled-in eyebrows. They’re both 21.

I’m 26 and posted outside the NSLC with my recorder on a hunch that booze on the weekend may be more attractive to my age group than polling stations at election time.

“No, I don’t vote,” Nick answers. Crystal says she doesn’t either.

“If we vote then we’re just feeding it to the government, right?” Nick says, taking the lead. “So if we buy things from Wal-Mart, or if we buy things from Sobey’s, then we’re feeding it to those corporations, so we’re helping Wal-Mart prosper. So if we vote we’re helping the government prosper. And I don’t want this government to prosper, so if I don’t vote, I’m not helping it at all.”

He continues: “If there was someone that I wanted to vote for, then I might, but nobody really interests me. The whole thing doesn’t interest me at all. I want a whole new government. So I’m not going to help it at all. I’m going to wait until a new system comes up.”

“…If nobody votes, then something has to happen.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hilarybeaumont

August 31, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Politics, Social issues

Protesters share stories of racial profiling at march for Ferguson

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Tendai Handahu holds his fist in the air at the solidarity rally for Ferguson. Photo: Hilary Beaumont

Tendai Handahu holds his fist in the air at the solidarity rally for Ferguson. Photo: Hilary Beaumont

They might have marched out of a history text. In a scene nearly indistinguishable from a 1960s civil rights protest, a multiracial crowd of nearly 300 people stalled traffic Tuesday evening as they walked down Spring Garden Road. The rally was a show of solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri where 10 days ago a teenager lost his life.

On August 9 Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, was walking down the street with his friend when Darren Wilson, a white police officer, confronted them. It’s unclear exactly what happened next but Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, said the officer pointed his gun at Brownand when it was over the teen lay bleeding on the pavement. He had been shot six times including twice in the head. He was unarmed, and witness accounts suggest his hands were above his head when he was shot. The event spurred protests and calls for justice in Ferguson.

In Halifax, African-Nova Scotian community leaders and young people led the rally holding a banner that read, “Black lives matter,” and chanting, “Who are we? Mike Brown!” White Halifax residents followed behind echoing the chants and carrying signs with supportive slogans, including “Black is not the problem, your fear is.”

(Video after the jump)

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Written by hilarybeaumont

August 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Politics, Social issues

This Nova Scotian politician didn’t realize blackface is offensive

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A bunch of Dutch people in blackface and on rollerblades because... it's Christmas? via Flickr.

A bunch of Dutch people in blackface and on rollerblades because… it’s Christmas? via Flickr.

Joachim Stroink, a Liberal member of the legislature in Nova Scotia, got a fancy new racism scandal in his Christmas stocking this year. At a Dutch holiday event last weekend, the Nova Scotian politician sat on the lap of a man posing as the always controversial Zwarte Piet—the Netherlands’ confusingly racist, blackface holiday character who is Santa’s slave. Stroink smiled for the camera. Then, to solidify a social media and political backlash, this supergenius tweeted the photo with the following caption: “Giving some love to Zwarte Piet and Sinterklass [sic] thank you to the Dutch community for putting this event on.” (Photo after the jump)

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Written by hilarybeaumont

August 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Damage appears in historic buildings after blasting at future trade centre site

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About a metre-long crack runs down the centre of the wall that holds a Joe Howe plaque, and continues at a right angle along the bottom. (Photo by Hilary Beaumont)

About a metre-long crack runs down the centre of the wall that holds a Joe Howe plaque, and continues at a right angle along the bottom. (Photo by Hilary Beaumont)

A new crack has appeared in the middle of a plaque at Province House quoting Joseph Howe.

The provincial government is investigating whether this crack and others that have appeared recently have any link to blasting at the nearby Nova Centre site.

Cracks have materialized in seven downtown Halifax buildings, including four that are owned by the province, since blasting began at the development site in January.

According to documents obtained through a freedom of information request, the province is looking into “cracking issues” in the Dennis Building, Government House, One Government Place and Province House.

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica and the Carleton Music Bar & Grill are also keeping tabs on damage noticed since blasting began.

Phil Pacey of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia said damage to heritage buildings is “a serious issue.”

“We have a limited supply of heritage buildings. They are not replaceable,” he said. “We should not put those buildings at risk.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hilarybeaumont

August 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Politics

Africville: Nova Scotia’s string of broken promises

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Published locally on the Halifax Media Co-op and nationally on Rabble.

Seaview Memorial Park. (Photo by “Come From Away” on Flickr)

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil squints into the sunlight on Sunday afternoon at Seaview Memorial Park in Halifax. Glancing down at his speech on the podium, he purses his lips towards three thin black microphones, preparing to speak.

“A Liberal government will recognize the memory and spirit of Africville by restoring the Seaview Baptist Church and by creating an interpretive centre on the site,” McNeil reads.

Irvine Carvery, watching nearby from behind the cameras, has heard it all before. Politicians have promised to help the Africville Genealogy Society President so many times that when he tries to recall specific dates, or even years, he can’t be sure.

McNeil came late to Carvery’s long awaited project: the resurrection of his community’s church. When Nova Scotia’s provincial election was called for June 9, Carvery acted quickly. He garnered the support of the province’s New Democrats first and the Conservatives soon after. The former Africville resident does not endorse any of the three parties.

So when the Liberal Leader spouted his vow of $2.2 million over four years, Carvery thought: “show me”.

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Written by hilarybeaumont

June 5, 2009 at 12:51 am

Posted in Politics, Social issues