Bluenosed Babbitts speak

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and AllNovaScotia.com, ranking arbiters of mainstream opinion in Nova Scotia, lent editorial support Monday to Mayor Peter Kelly’s forcible police removal of peaceful Occupy Nova Scotia protesters.

The Herald, in a bracing throwback to its days as the fusty Old Lady of Argyle, approved the eviction in every detail: violence, secrecy, sneakiness, double-dealing, rights-violation, and even Remembrance Day timing. AllNS tried to have it both ways. A commentary* by former-Managing-Editor-turned-United-Church-minister Kevin Cox quibbled with Kelly’s timing and secretive decision-making, but endorsed His Worship’s position that a vague and rarely enforced municipal bylaw should trump Sections 2. (b), (c), and (d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In a letter AllNS published this morning, Halifax Filmmaker John Wesley Chisholm pointed out that Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi had reached the opposite conclusion, “saying the Charter of Rights prevented the city from arbitrarily forcing out the protesters — even if they’re breaking a city bylaw.”

Halifax officials, Chisholm wrote, took a big gamble with taxpayers’ money, risking hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions on a possible court defence of

the notion that these protesters’ use of tents to camp out in a public park was so egregious, so outstandingly shocking to our community’s values, of such a danger to public safety, so offensive to our public interests, that it justified a police action to deny their rights and freedoms to assembly and protest under the federal law on which our civil society is based..

Even by the smug standards of Halifax’s establishment media, this was a shabby performance.

*Access to AllNS is by paid subscription, and its flash-based web structure makes it impossible to post accurate links.

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