An American friend writes: I just call to your attention the fact that in all the posts about Superintendent Pynch-Worthylake, none of you polite Canadians commented on her name. I''m pretty sure she was Dean of Discipline at Hogwarts before coming to NS. Tsk, tsk. [Update] Reader Bev Brett replies: I find it interesting that not stooping to namecalling is considered "polite." Obviously the people who wanted their points in the debate to be considered valid held back. Rather than "polite," I would call it "informed discussion." If anyone makes fun of someone's name during a serious debate, I automatically dismiss the argument. ...

Golly, tons of reaction — on all sides — to cyber-libertarian Jeff Shallit's nomination of South Shore District School Superintendent Pynch-Worthylake as "Authoritarian High School Superintendent of the Month." (Apologies for the delayed posting; it's been a busy week.) Chris McCormick writes: I figure someone's right to express their opinion is balanced by my right to ignore them; the principal's reaction just valorizes the 'victim society' where we want to whitewash all differences and offending symbols...

[Update below] A Canadian Internet civil libertarian has named South Shore Regional School Board Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake "Authoritarian High School Superintendent of the Month" for placing student William Swinimer on five days suspension for wearing a shirt that read, "Life is wasted without Jesus." University of Waterloo computer science professor Jeffrey Shallit announced the tongue-in-cheek award on his Recursivity Blog, but his denunciation of Pynch-Worthylake's overreaction was anything but tongue-in-cheek: North American high schools are not places where free speech and criticism of authority are welcomed. Instead of teaching lessons about free speech, free expression, the Bill of Rights, and the Charter of...

Remember the Ottawa Press Gallery's rending of garments over the "despicable" violation of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews's privacy when Vikileaks30 revealed seamy details from the public record of his divorce proceedings—details that called into question the minister's personal adherence to the family values he used to denigrate gay Canadians and oppose their exercise of equal rights under the law? The view that embarrassing details from a cabinet minister's private life are off-limits, even when they conflict with his sanctimonious public pronouncements, has suddenly acquired unanimous support among Canada's major media organizations. Why, suppressing such details is practically a sacred duty. Parliamentary reporters...

On his Green Interview website, Silver Donald Cameron imagines how an innovative, creative mayor might have responded to OccupyNS: He starts by quoting the late Allan O'Brien, mayor of Halifax from 1966 to 1971. The Mayor has very little actual power – but he has the power to bring people together, to encourage action on matters that he considers important. He has the power to influence the public agenda. He has access to the press. And if you use those powers strategically, you can accomplish quite a bit.” Cameron muses: Imagine if Peter Kelly had that kind of awareness, that sense of direction, when...

Sounding old before her time, Marilla Stephenson follows up the Chronicle-Herald's ringing endorsement of the status quo with a ringing endorsement of middle class sensibilities. The protesters just had to go. They just had to. There had been an overdose in Vancouver or something. Enough is enough. To this we respond: Dear Marilla: You walk into a room With a piece of paper in your hand. You see somebody naked, And you say, "Who is that man." You try so hard, But you just don't understand. Do you, Mrs. Stephenson? With apologies to Robert Allen Zimmerman. Cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon, on the other hand, gets it right....

Lots of reaction to HRMs forcible eviction of the Occupy Nova Scotia protesters. The best piece of actual reporting comes from a blog post by Bethany Horne, news curator for the recently launched indie website Openfile Halifax. A recent King's grad with a progressive sensibility, Horne didn't flinch from describing some of the incipient problems at the encampment: [I]f the events of November 11 hadn’t happened, I’m not sure how much longer the gathering would’ve lasted. At the November 9 general assembly, tensions were high. The camp’s reputation for accepting anyone, giving them shelter, food and a makeshift community was attracting more...

Contrarian reader Dana Doiron writes: I remember listening to Peter Kelly giving early warning that the occupiers would have to leave the Grand Parade to accommodate Remembrance Day and seasonal activities. He spoke of respect for the rights of the occupiers and the importance of dialogue on issues confronting us collectively. I was impressed with his search to accommodate the occupiers elsewhere and then with the assistance provided to relocate them to Victoria Park. I visited the assembly at Victoria Park and was pleased to see the civil interaction with other Haligonians and, particularly, with police officers. I also heard the Mayor of...

HRM District 14 Councillor Jennifer Watts has issued an apology for her role in Saturday's forcible eviction of Occupy Nova Scotia. She still believes the parks bylaw trumps Charter guarantees of free speech and the right to assemble peacefully, but she now regrets the Remembrance Day timing and the failure to explore alternative resolution methods. Her silence on those issues, "was a serious error in judgment on my part for which I sincerely apologize." Full text here....

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),...