MacElmons Pond Walking Trail

Located not far from Truro, MacElmons Pond Picnic Park is a great spot for a quiet picnic and some pleasant nature walking. The trail winds through a red pine plantation, a black spruce swamp, an old field, and along the pond itself in a 1.6 km loop that passes by an adjacent wildlife sanctuary. As with most walks in the woods in Nova Scotia, fall is the perfect time to visit – the leaves are turning, the bugs are for the most part gone, and birds and small forest creatures can be seen and heard as you amble along (resident and migratory waterfowl are especially prevalent). There are boardwalks allowing for easy navigation of the boggier sections, and signage indicating some of the forest features. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon after a picnic.

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Breakfast in Halifax – Five Faves

Halifax has no shortage of restaurants that serve a good breakfast. These are my five favourite spots (in no particular order), all within walking distance of my house on Robie Street. Each serves eggs (I always get them scrambled), toast, coffee, and sausage or bacon, with the exception of the kosher Hali Deli, which has a top notch corned beef hash instead. Cora’s also tosses in some fruit, which is always a welcome addition, because it makes me feel like I’m at least trying to eat healthy!

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Fixing the Nova Scotia Film Industry

Several weeks ago I was contacted by an old friend who works the back-rooms of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party when he isn’t working in one of the bright and shiny waterfront towers in downtown Halifax. He wanted to get my thoughts on what he called “the Chinese water torture” that has become the Nova Scotia film industry controversy. As I’m always happy to pontificate if someone else is buying the coffee, and because I hadn’t seen my friend in a while, I readily agreed to sit down and chat.

What follows is a summary of a fairly long and involved back and forth. My answer was simple: fix the industry by lifting the cap on the incentive fund that replaced the film tax credit, and by closing the gap in financing that was created by the loss of equity investment for local productions when Film and Creative Industries was closed last April.

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The Nova Scotia NDP Leadership Candidates on Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy

The Nova Scotia New Democratic Party is currently in the final two weeks of a long leadership campaign to determine who will be elected the next leader of the Party. Three candidates entered the race and are now nearing the finish line (voting commences on February 15th and runs until February 27th):

1. Gary Burrill, the MLA from Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley 2009 until 2013.

2. Dave Wilson, the MLA for Sackville-Cobequid since 2003; Wilson served as a cabinet minister in the NDP government from 2011 until 2013, and is the current House Leader for the NDP; and

3. Lenore Zann, the MLA from Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River since 2009, and the current Deputy House Leader for the NDP.

The NDP government from 2009 until 2013 had some significant achievements in terms of policy surrounding the creative economy, and arts & culture in general. From the restoration of the Nova Scotia Arts Council and the passing of the Status of the Artist Act to the establishment of Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, the NDP government consistently prioritized arts and culture as part of their overall agenda. Unfortunately, much of their work has been undone by the austerity government of Stephen McNeil and the Liberals that defeated the NDP in the 2013 general election. The funding system for the film and television industry has been completely dismantled and replaced with a fund that is simply not working despite the best efforts of the bureaucrats who have been charged with its administration. Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia has been dissolved. Many artists across the Province feel as if the government no longer values their contribution to society in general, and to the economy in particular.

Accordingly, we here at View 902 thought we would take the opportunity to ask the candidates a few questions about what plan they have for the future of arts & culture and the creative economy in Nova Scotia.

Here are their replies.

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Renewing English Canadian Dramatic TV & Film

Imagine ordinary people across Canada being as passionate about drama as they are about hockey. It can happen if we set up 180 small teams of professional movie makers to be community artists in residence across Canada. Each team will mobilize and work with their home communities to create dramatic features or series that involve ordinary citizens in the process – much the same way hockey is coached and nurtured. When community projects are completed, they would go to regional competitions, then to national and the top ten would receive world marketing budgets. Ordinary Canadians will tune in – or log on – to Canadian drama in numbers that will astound industry experts. A democratic revolution in Canadian cinema will blast a wave of participatory creativity around the world.

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Graham Steele’s “What I Learned About Politics” – A Review

After a life in politics where he might have been considered the ultimate party man, Steele comes off as remarkably unsentimental, with some industrial-strength insights into Nova Scotia’s rote inability to change. Railing against the “Status Quo,” the former Finance Minister provides an extraordinary portrait of practical politics in a period where the old-line parties are creeping back to the unsavory ways that got us into our current mess. Steele’s vivid and focused view of his time in government from 2009 to 2013 is marked by a refreshing candor that can only help our understanding of the massive challenges Nova Scotia faces, not least of which is a dysfunctional political culture.

For anyone interested in Nova Scotia politics, it is absolutely required reading.

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Behind the Eyes of Kathryn Jordan

An interview with aspiring model Kathryn Jordan, who grew up in New Minas, Nova Scotia, and is now based in Toronto.

Is she the “next big thing”? I have no idea. But I do know that she is on my list of people that I want to work with someday. I haven’t chatted with her in person in a few years, so I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up and give our readers here a closer look at a talented and driven young Nova Scotian working hard to make her way in a tough profession that requires character as much as it does a “look” if you really want to succeed.

Fortunately, Kathryn Jordan has both in spades.

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NDP MLA Dave Wilson’s Open Letter to NS Film Industry

Nova Scotia MLA Dave Wilson, who is in the midst of a campaign for the leadership of the provincial New Democratic Party, has issued a very personal open letter to workers in Nova Scotia’s film and television industry, which has been decimated in the nine months since the April 2015 budget of the Liberal government of Stephen McNeil.

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