The Dexter Government's decision to make a retroactive grab for disgraced MLA Trevor Zinck's pension should not pass without comment. It is a cynical exercise in pre-election pandering to public hatred of politicians. The pandering ploy reflects badly on the government as a whole, but especially on the lawyers among its ranks, including Darrell Dexter and Graham Steele, both of whom certainly know better. The courts should be left to deal with Mr. Zinck according to the evidence as it may be adduced at trial, and the law as it existed at the time his of alleged crimes and misdemeanors. His...

Contrarian reader Joyce Rankin reacts to Contrarian's caution that justice will not be served by presuming a hearsay accusation of sexual assault to be true in every detail. I don't usually print reader responses at this length, but in the interests of fairness I will do so in this case without edits. Please, please, please don't be one of those men who keep doubting that a rape took place. Every woman knows that there are many many rapes that are never reported because the victim knows exactly what kind of a shitstorm she will letting herself in for and decides not...

I have more reader mail on the furore around Rehtaeh Parsons' death and the factors that led to it. Once again, a few preliminary points. Rehtaeh's family and friends are going through an unimaginably horrible experience, one they have handled with grace and courage. The one point that united everyone in this case is sympathy for their ordeal. It bears repeating that, if you or anyone you know are having suicidal thoughts, please call the toll-free Kid’s Help Line at 1-800-668-6868 or the toll-free Suicide Prevention Line at 1-888-429-8167. Also please check out this website, and this list of warning signs. In a post on April 11, I raised...

"I’ve never considered myself a moron before," writes a hapless dishwasher owner in Portland Hills,  Dartmouth, "but my blind faith in Sears proves I should have my mittens tied together with a string, and I should only eat with spoons, as I could easily lose an eye if I tried a fork." The unnamed customer is so distraught over fruitless attempts to get the venerable appliance giant to furnish a working dish washer, he's offering to sell it for the price of the sushi takeout he and his wife ordered Friday night: $57.50. But after 4,300 hits to his viral-bound washer-for-sale...

Not surprisingly, yesterday's Contrarian post on the furore over Rehtaeh Parsons' death has produced a lot of email, pro and con. Much of the angry reaction appeared on Twitter, where Contrarian tweets as @kempthead. Before sampling the reader response, two important preliminaries: What Rehtaeh's family has been through this week is about as awful as human experience gets. They have been loyal in support of their daughter, and courageous in their rejection of vigilante action against those accused of abusing her. Whatever one's views on the issues I raised, compassion for this family ought to be universal. As I said yesterday,  if you or...

"To love someone," wrote Jean Vanier, "is to show them their beauty, their worth, and their importance." That can be a tall order, but a few Halifax members of the Asperger's Syndrome Parents' Empowerment Network give it a good shot in this short video, produced by Halifax filmmakers John Hillis, Michael MacDonald, Caley MacLennan, Kimberlee McTaggert, Andrew Starzomski, and Amy Spurway: H/T: Valerie Patterson...

In an email cri de coeur last week, musician Robert Speirs lambasted Halifax TV newscasters for publishing the names of five men allegedly lured into motel meetings with a police officer they believed to be a a 16-year-old girl. Bill Turpin, former editor of the late lamented Halifax Daily News, makes the case for printing names of people accused of crimes, even bogus crimes concocted to entrap them. I understand Mr. Speirs’ distress over the plight of the men identified as the accused in the on-line child luring case last week and his sense that the media are persecuting them. But publicity...

Late last week, Halifax musician Robert Speirs fired off an angry email to three broadcast networks: Why did you divulge the names of the men accused of luring? What if they are innocent? Why do you want to try them by media and subject them to public humiliation, [and] so ruin their lives? Why do you display such unjustified hatred to people you do not know? Again, what if they are innocent? Your insistence on revealing the identities of the accused inspires any thinking person to wonder who are the true perverts. Shame on you! Speirs, who signed the note, "Disgusted," was referring to a sting...

Almost exactly a year after precipitous--and as it turned out, groundless--complaints by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services forced the closure of Cape Breton's only residential addiction recovery centre, Talbot House will get its funding back this week. Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson will deliver the news in Cape Breton Friday, a weekday traditionally chosen for announcements governments would prefer to inter quietly. Wilson became the minister responsible for recovery centres last September, when Premier Darrell Dexter, fed up with the continual barrage of negative stories about DCS mistreatment of Talbot, stripped that department of the file and handed...