This reflection was written on October 13 and expanded on October 17. Some 400 people gathered at an outdoor memorial meeting to honour the life of work of Robert Devet held in Halifax on Thursday evening, October 14.
Robert Devet was born in Holland in 1954 to a progressive, anti-fascist family. His maternal grandfather, Hendrik Koch, was a family physician in a poor working class neighbourhood in Amsterdam who championed the rights of women to have control over reproduction and a political activist in the international communist movement who also moved to the Soviet Union for a period. After having been taken prisoner in 1941 fighting the Hitlerite German occupation of the Netherlands, he died in 1942 in the Nazi concentration camp Neuengamme near Hamburg. His name is on the national list of honour in the House of Parliament in The Hague. Robert Maarten de Vet was a son of Huibert A. de Vet (born in 1920) and Sophia Louisa Jacoba (“Pop”) Koch (born in 1918). Both his parents took part in the heroic resistance of the Dutch people in different ways. His father was an expert forger of documents used to get Jews to safety and his mother was a member of the communist party (CPN) during and right after World War II and worked on its newspaper De Waarheid. Robert was part of a broad wave of youth who came forward in the Sixties to oppose the racist and fascist South African apartheid regime and the American war of aggression against Vietnam. In a reflection, his sister Hélène de Vet writes that “especially his mother, but in a certain way also his father, were independent and outspoken people. They were neither conformist nor bourgeois. We like to think that all of us children have inherited some of this contrarian ‘family’ attitude.” 
Robert emigrated to Nova Scotia with his partner Maria van Gurp from Halifax in 1979 where they soon married. He worked as a civil servant with Service Nova Scotia in information technology. After Maria passed way and his retirement, without any formal background in journalism he began writing for the Halifax Media Co-op in 2012. In stylistic terms, his writing was simple, straightforward and to the point. He was a faithful interlocutor who conducted interviews with respect. Colleague Hilary Lindsay notes that he authored over 300 articles between September 30, 2012 and December 19, 2015. He was without a doubt motivated by the direction of the anti-social, neoliberal agenda of the Nova Scotia government, which he experienced first hand. His last series of articles for the Halifax Media Co-op supported the almost two-year-long strike of newsrooms staff at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, part of the Saltwire media monopoly, which he backed up by participating on the picket line of his colleagues.
This is a shameless cartoon from the Halifax Chronicle Herald, owned by the regional media monopoly Saltwire:
Canada is deeply involved in a humanitarian crisis. The role of the Canadian government – and that of Nova Scotia, regardless of the relatively low number of cases (1,089) – is unconscionable. Internationally, it provides a good cop, bad cop human face for the Trump presidency and U.S.-led aggression. Nationally, in the last week 14,882 new cases were announced, 22 per cent more than the previous week. It is one thing to mock U.S. imperialism; Canadians deeply distrust American politics. The people of Nova Scotia face the same challenges as all of us and are fighting for the rights of all. The editorial message is: Long live the “Atlantic bubble” – an exceptional island of social peace exempt from a global humanitarian crisis.
The Need to Enforce Rights: Accountability is a serious concern. Introductory commentary by Tony Seed to an interview by Workers’ Forum with Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union (NSGEU).
The lack of accountability on the part of governments at all levels for what is happening to the people is a serious concern. There is no doubt that decisions that governments have taken and are taking have created the conditions for the dramatic and tragic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and safety of the people in Canada no less than the United States. Thirty years of anti-social offensive in health care and social services – with massive cutbacks, increased privatization, further concentration of decision-making power in ministerial hands and the marginalization and exclusion of the experience and opinions and demands of frontline workers, have wrecked the capacity of the health care system to face the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading →
A fishing shed floats offshore Fisherman’s Reserve on the Eastern Shore after Hurricane Juan (Photo | Allan Jean Joyce)
(Part of a series) This Saturday, September 29, marks 15 years since Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax in the middle of the night toppling trees, smashing boats and knocking out power for many days and even weeks in some neighbourhoods. Wind speeds of up to 178km an hour were recorded at McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. Mark Rushton and Tony Seed compare the responses of Canada and Cuba to hurricanes. Continue reading →
(Part of a series) This Saturday, September 29, marks 15 years since Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax in the middle of the night toppling trees, smashing boats and knocking out power for many days and even weeks in some neighbourhoods. Wind speeds of up to 178km an hour were recorded at McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. Continue reading →
This Saturday, September 29, marks 15 years since Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax in the middle of the night toppling trees, smashing boats and knocking out power for many days and even weeks in some neighbourhoods. Wind speeds of up to 178km an hour were recorded at McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. Amunition shells from the 1940s and “other debris” were being washed ashore. | The late MITZI BOWMAN* with TONY SEED
BLUE ROCKS, NS (October 24, 2003) – THE Halifax Chronicle Herald reproduced on October 4, 2003 a capsule commentary from the Canadian Press that the Canadian Forces were cleaning up unexploded shells from the 1940s (WW2) “and other debris”.
Why isn’t the Chronicle Herald telling us what this “other debris” is or could be? Continue reading →
Bruce Wark points us to the job description for the position of Managing Director Corporate and External Relations at the Executive Council office which was created by Stephen McNeil for Marilla Stephenson:
The position will lead the development of, and provide advice, plans, and strategic approaches that will inform decisions and assist with proactively managing issues. The Managing Director will lead, manage, consult and provide expertise in planning and execution of strategic, systems approaches to assist with managing issues, crisis and to proactively provoke strategic activities to assist in the delivery of the government’s agenda and support corporate priorities. Serves as a primary point of contact and liaison between the Premier’s Office and government departments. Continue reading →
Public sector workers are not a cost to the economy; quite the contrary, they are producers of value
An article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald suggests public sector workers are a cost to the economy and should be eliminated. The item entitled “John Bragg: Cut civil service to help dig N.S. out of debt” quotes Bragg, the president and CEO of Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. saying, “Reducing Nova Scotia’s civil service down to the national average would result in savings of $836 million a year.” Continue reading →
Defend Public Services and the Workers Who Provide Them, Halifax May Day 2012
Anti-worker comments from John Bragg, president and CEO of Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. are the latest in the neo-liberal propaganda war for privatization of public services and seizure of public assets. The ruling capitalist elite are in crisis over where to invest their accumulated social wealth. They are in a blind alley as they refuse to look to a new pro-social direction for the economy. With few options open to them on the front of private enterprise that would boost their profits, they are desperate to pillage public services through privatization and to plunder the public treasury with handouts and public-private-partnerships. Continue reading →
The owners of the Halifax Herald Ltd. have erected a chain-link fence around its printing plant to keep the picketing unionized workers from entering the premises | Halifax Media Co-op
The Chronicle Herald in Halifax has locked out 13 pressroom workers and is printing the daily paper with anti-worker scab mercenaries. The owners of the newspaper have erected a chain-link fence around its printing plant to keep the picketing unionized workers from entering the premises. Hired guards escort the anti-worker mercenaries into the plant to do the work of the locked out press workers. Continue reading →
On July 2, 2013 the Halifax Chronicle Herald published a Canadian Press item in its Today in History section entitled “In 1578, Martin Frobisher discovered the Hudson Strait.” In response, Mi’kmaw Elder and historian, (Dr.) Daniel N. Paul, C.M., O.N.S. wrote to associate publisher Ian Thompson to protest the use of such inaccurate and Eurocentric propaganda: Continue reading →
After a seven-month absence due to the necessity to deal with various issues, I am resuming this weblog with both current as well as postdated materials. Readers may also be interested in WordPress’s ranking of the articles of greatest interest (below). There are presently 362 articles posted, of which 101 are from 2011, along with 345 images. There have been 6,448 views since the launching of the site in April 2011. Most visitors came from Canada. The United States and the United Kingdom were not far behind.
The busiest day of the year was June 23rd with 99 views. The most popular post that day was Lock out at post office: All out to defend the rights of postal workers!. The most commented on post in 2011 was Tony Seed again stands as anti-war candidate in Halifax.
Most viewed posts for all days ending 2012-02-02 (Summarized)
Dr ISMAIL ZAYID condemns the double standards in the reporting of the Halifax Chronicle Herald and the Canadian Press on the Halifax International Security Forum and its warmongering agenda against Syria and Iran. Continue reading →
Protesters wait for the arrival of Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in Montreal, November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi (CANADA ROYALS CONFLICT)
Part one of a two part series by TONY SEED, Part two is here.
HALIFAX (July 1, 2011, revised July 4) – THE July 1st headline of the Halifax Chronicle Herald leaps into never-never land with its banner of another royal tour: “Canadians smitten  with royal newlyweds.” The entire front page of the second section is also given over to fawning coverage of the alleged affair. Then you read more carefully. “A small crowd … at the government airport.” A “walk-about” amongst tourists to the nation’s capital with nothing else to do but touch the elephant!
IN AN editorial published on April 21st, the day before Easter Friday and Earth Day, the editors of the Halifax Herald Ltd. demanded that the United States escalate the war of aggression against Libya: “The only way forward is to use more force. The sooner NATO comes to this conclusion, the better.” Continue reading →
November 21, 2009: Haligonians mount a vigorous protest against the First Halifax International Security Forum, funded by DND and ACOA.
By BRUCE WARK
HALIFAX (November 21, 2009) – ABOUT 200 protesters gathered in a park outside an international military conference in Halifax today to demand that Canada withdraw from Afghanistan and from NATO, the trans-Atlantic alliance that is waging war in Afghanistan. One demonstrator carried a sign reading “60 years is 60 years Too Long” referring to Canada’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S.-led military alliance formed in 1949. Continue reading →
Sixth in a series of articles on the Nova Scotia elections by TONY SEED*
Michelin threat advertisement
NOVA SCOTIA NDP leader Darrell Dexter, to whom the polls have ascribed victory in the June 9 provincial election, has stressed that Michelin Tires Manufacturing of Canada, a subsidiary of the world’s leading tire monopoly that controls 20 per cent of the world market, has been “a good corporate citizen in this province.”
The statement does not represent any change in NDP policy as some media want to divert. In an address to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce on February 12, he went even further in his accolade: Continue reading →
Fifth in a series of articles on the Nova Scotia elections*
By ENA BOUTILIER and TONY SEED
AT A RECENT campaign stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia MLA – and prospective Premier – Darrell Dexter proclaimed that, if elected, his NDP government will not repeal the anti-labour “Michelin Bill” of 1979. “I have no interest in fighting battles that happened 30 years ago,” he said on May 11. Far from contesting ancient history, Mr. Dexter has declared that his Nova Scotia will fight to remain an open shop for the exploitation and plunder of the province by monopoly capital, for monopoly right, for militarizaton and for annexation to the United States through such projects as the Atlantic Gateway. Continue reading →
Third in a series of articles on the Nova Scotian elections by TONY SEED*
“IT’S important that everyone vote,” the three Nova Scotian party leaders repeated as one in their closing remarks in the Leader’s Debate on May 19.
In this, the second “great debate,” the three leaders were asked to address the decline in voter participation. Tories, Liberals and New Democrats joined together to blame the people. It is noteworthy that not a single leader advanced any substantive proposals for democratic renewal. For these individuals, Nova Scotia represented the best system in the world. Incumbent premier Rodney MacDonald touted the great work of the multi-party Democracy 250 project amongst youth in promoting Nova Scotia as the self-styled home of “responsible government” going back to 1758. For his part, NDP leader Darrell Dexter blamed the fact that the assembly had only been convened for a grand total of thirteen days in 2008 for “people not buying in”; his government would make people “buy in.” Continue reading →
ON MAY 4, Nova Scotia’s opposition parties defeated the MacDonald government’s finance bill. The defeat was quickly followed by the fall of the minority Conservative government, and the setting of a provincial election date for June 9. The bill proposed an amendment to the Provincial Finance Act which would have allowed a portion of the $830 million dollars from the so-called Atlantic Accord to be used for purposes other than financing the province’s $12 billion dollar debt, the highest per capita debt in Canada (much of which is held by private Wall Street financial interests), on which Nova Scotians now pay an annual interest of nine hundred million dollars. Both the NDP and Liberal parties accused the MacDonald government – which forecast a surplus of $4 million for 2009-10 – of using money from the Atlantic Accord to cover up the deficit. For its part, the MacDonald government claimed that no alternative source of funding was available to live up to the cost of the programs and services tabled in the bill. His cabinet then exercised special spending powers through orders-in-council to expend $130 million for paving and building projects under the pretext of “stimulus.” Continue reading →
HALIFAX (1 February 2009) – THE Government of Nova Scotia is stepping up its anti-social offensive against workers and the general public through its proposal to implement several so-called “public-private partnerships” (P3’s) in the province as part of Harper’s infrastructure “stimulus” program. Continue reading →
‘It is a deplorable situation indeed when the Canadian government and major media make themselves immoral instruments of prostituting Canadian women and girls, repeating outright lies as if they were facts. The message is unmistakable. Canadian women and girls: head for the bars on the weekend to look for well-heeled American sailors.’
TRADE UNIONISTS and other social activists are rallying in Halifax all this week against the latest annual conference of the financial oligarchs from the New England states, the Canadian Atlantic provinces and Québec promoting the Atlantica project, a new arrangement for deeper integration with the United States (later renamed the Atlantic Gateway – ed.). In the lead up to the conference, daily media reports are quoting various government officials, business association spokespeople, and think-tank “experts” to tell the people how they should view the event. Even different “alternatives” are discussed. To assist the workers and people to establish their own thinking and point of view on the Atlantica project and what to do about it, TML is posting information about the ideological and corporate forces behind the Atlantica project. Continue reading →
The Canadian soldiers and their porn, out there “hunting” (by implication) for brown-haired, brown-skinned, brown-eyed Afghans is a very disturbing and revolting example of racism, sexism and pro-US, pro-war propaganda
By ENA BOUTLIER, Shunpiking Online
Headline: “Nova Scotia’s Hardcore Medic: Springhill’s Fretter brings both giggles, toughness to posting duty in Panjwaii” by Bill Graveland, Canadian Press, in The Chronicle Herald (Saturday, 25 November 2006) as well as the Halifax Daily News 26 November 2006 and other newspapers across Canada. Article is reproduced below.
HALIFAX (3 December 2006) – THIS BIZARRE piece of pro-war propaganda from the Canadian Press  is laden with both racist and ethnocentric sentiment combined with overt sexism and female objectification that trivialises war and human suffering.
The female medic, a mother of five, indicates that members of the Afghan Army “are forever begging her to pose for pictures with them” because of her “… ‘blond hair and blue eyes’.” Continue reading →
God help the children, God help the innocent women and children, God help the people who are treated by such barbarians parading as doctors |ENA BOUTLIER
Headline: “Nova Scotia’s Hardcore Medic: Springhill’s Fretter brings both giggles, toughness to posting duty in Panjwaii” by Bill Graveland, Canadian Press, in The Chronicle Herald (Sunday, 26 November 2006), the Halifax Daily News (Saturday, 25 November 2006), and other newspapers across Canada. Continue reading →
ALTHOUGH the vast majority of Canadians want an independent and nuclear-free Canada, a Canada which is a factor for peace, not war, the Government of Canada continues to welcome the unceasing “visits” of U.S. and NATO nuclear-capable warships with open arms: no questions asked. Its total hypocrisy is to the extent that it also claims to be the greatest upholder of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty under the pretext of “security” when it comes time to attacking independent states who are not kowtowing to the dictate of the United States. Continue reading →
“Co-operative engagement capability”; Praising the Lord and passing the ammunition
EDITOR’S NOTE: THE Halifax Daily News has published an article by its military reporter that provides information on one of the mechanisms for seamlessly integrating the Canadian Forces into the U.S. Armed Forces under the pretext of “inter-operability” and “co-operative engagement capability.” Military analysts acknowledge that the Canadian Navy is, in fact, the branch of the Canadian Forces with the highest degree of military and operational integration.
The article prettifies the annexation of the armed forces by promoting that this is all a matter of superior technology, not politics, and solely “defensive” in nature. The fact that the Canadian warships operate under U.S. and NATO strategic command once they leave port and the imperialistic aim of the missions in which these warships and billion-dollar missile systems are deployed is carefully left in the shade. Continue reading →
HALIFAX (October 25, 2003) – AN INFORMATION BLOCKADE on Cuba parallels the American economic, political and cultural blockade. Despite pretensions about its “independent line” on Cuba, the monopoly media in Canada also kowtows to the U.S. dictate and is caught in its own veneer of “objective reporting.” The media’s response to the recent national tour of Dr. Aleida Guevara March and Irma González speaking about the situation of the Cuban Five is a case in point.
Dr. Guevara March – referring to media disinformation on the five men who have been imprisoned by US authorities for exposing terrorism against Cuba organized from U.S. soil – said that the most important aim for their tour was for the government and people of Canada to acquire correct information about the case. Continue reading →