News release: Water protector and Mi’kmaq Elder Dorene Bernard did not mince words during a speech by Premier McNeil this morning. The premier’s talk was entitled ‘Open for Business: Nova Scotia on the Move’, which Bernard says is a blatant glossing over of the Indigenous right to free, prior, and informed consent. “We’re only open for business if treaty rights holders give their free, prior, and informed consent,” says Bernard. “That consent doesn’t come from the KMK termination table, it comes from the people and the traditional governments.”

There’s a wonderful new book on the history or poor houses and poor farms in Nova Scotia, written by poverty activist and frequent NS Advocate contributor Brenda Thompson. Things are better now, of course, but in a way not much has changed for people who are very poor.

We first met Sophia a couple of months ago, and did a Lives on Welfare story about her  efforts to provide for her family while struggling with chronic pain. Here are more of Sophia’s memories about growing up on and off welfare. Unable to afford a computer, Sophia wrote this on her phone, because born story tellers like Sophia will always find a way.

These days you pretty well need a criminal record check for any job that’s out there., says Kendall Worth. But these things cost $50, and when you’re on welfare and all you get is $275 then that’s a lot of money. If society really wants people on social assistance to find jobs, then either the police should waive the fee, or Community Services should pick up the bill.

Rana Zaman, an immigrant, social activist and community volunteer, writes about the humiliation and raw pain she experienced as the result of a recent restaurant experience with subtle but clear racist overtones. She decided to tell the story, not to call out the restaurant or any individual servers, but to explain how very harmful and hurtful this kind of behaviour is.

Educator Molly Hurd tackles the current threats to art education in Nova Scotia. “By reducing arts education, we are once again widening the gap between those who already have and those who have not. Rich parents will always be able to provide private lessons and classes for their children. Schools in wealthy neighbourhoods will always be able to fund-raise for extra artistic opportunities.  Public education, to be truly equitable, needs to provide good arts education for all.”