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Establish an Africville inquiry
Talk about Africville seems tired. It’s been almost six years since the United Nations urged Canada to consider reparations for the removal of Africville residents, the closure of their businesses and church and the overall destruction of their community, but all these years later, the wrong hasn’t been righted.
And neither the city of Halifax nor the province of Nova Scotia has found it in themselves to issue an official apology. Moreover, for nearly 20 years, politicians have been promising some sort of compensation, or at least to rebuild the church that was bulldozed to the ground in the dead of the night. But still no compensation, and still no church.
Eddie Carvery, whose family was one of the many forced to leave Africville, has been camping off and on at the site of his family’s home, 1833 Barrington Street, since the ’70s. He’s not even asking for compensation at this point. But he is demanding a public inquiry to figure out once and for all what really was behind the relocation of Africville, and to openly and honestly acknowledge the wrong and suggest proper compensation.
Carvery is right. An inquiry is the logical first step, and the very least we can do. —CD
Provide water in bars
It’s true that many places in Halifax are happy to provide customers with as much free tap water as they want, whether they serve that water or provide a pitcher and glasses at the bar, but there are other places that straight-out refuse to give people water unless it’s bottled and sold at pretty ludicrous prices.
Let’s look to our friends, the Aussies, to learn how to do things better. In New South Wales, the government has a legislation that states: “Free water mandatory.” They recognize that at establishments where liquor is sold, it makes sense to allow patrons to have access to tap water.
The legislation says it is necessary for people to have water if they need to take medication or to relieve dehydration. The law also mentions that bottled water often doesn’t conform to “reasonable charge” guidelines The legislation also points out that having water accessible is important in slowing down alcohol consumption and preventing dehydration. (And remember, bar owners: the longer it takes people to get wasted, the longer they can stay out and keep buying alcohol, so the more money your establishment will make.)
It’s next to impossible to figure out who should be responsible for passing this legislation in Nova Scotia. Each government department suggested someone else to speak to, saying the issue didn’t fall under its jurisdiction. But it seems the Department of Alcohol & Gaming should be the ones in charge. Once again, that’s how the Aussies did it! —CD