A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘cornwall

[ISL] Five #PEI links: National Park, Lennox Island, traffic, Charlottetown mass transit, Cornwall

  • The Prince Edward Island National Park, unsurprisingly, was devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Global News reports.
  • The Mi’kmaq community of Lennox Island lost large amounts of frozen lobster after Hurricane Dorian. CBC PEI reports.
  • Peter Rukavina has mapped the busiest and sleepiest roads on PEI, here.
  • Growth in ridership on Trius Transit in Charlottetown continues to outpace expectations, CBC PEI reports.
  • The work that the Charlottetown suburb of Cornwall is doing, diverting the Trans-Canada Highway to build a Main Street, is authentically exciting urbanism. CBC PEI reports.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares the latest from exoplanet PDS 70b, which has a gain in mass that has actually been detected by astronomers.
  • The Crux considers what information, exactly, hypothetical extraterrestrials could extract from the Golden Record of Voyager. Are the messages decipherable?
  • D-Brief shares the most detailed map yet assembled of Comet 67P, compiled from images taken by the Rosetta probe.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about the way changing shopping malls reflect, and influence, changes in the broader culture.
  • Hornet Stories notes that, while Pope Francis may not want parents of gay children to cut their ties, he does think the parents should look into conversion therapy.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper examining how beekeeping in early modern England led to the creation of a broader pattern of communications and discourse on the subject.
  • Language Hat shares the story of an American diplomat in 1960s Argentina, and his experiences learning Spanish (after having spoken Portuguese) and travelling in the provinces.
  • Language Log shares a biscriptal ad from Hong Kong.
  • The LRB Blog shares a story told by Harry Stopes about a maritime trip with harbour pilots from Cornwall.
  • Roads and Kingdoms shares an anecdote of a family meal of empanadas in the Argentine city of Cordoba during the world cup.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why, in the early universe, the most massive stars massed the equivalent of a thousand suns, much larger than any star known now.
  • Towleroad shares Karl Schmid’s appearance on NBC Today, where he talked with Megyn Kelly about HIV in the era of undetectability.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the many obstacles placed by the Russian government in the way of Circassian refugees from Syria seeking refuge in their ancestral North Caucasus homeland.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: greening vacant lots, lost St. Lawrence, Vaughan, Amsterdam, Ashgabat

  • CityLab takes a look at how greening vacant lots can improve the mental health of the people living in different neighbourhoods.
  • Paul Soucy at Global News reports on the lost villages of the St. Lawrence, drowned in the 1950s by the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway near Cornwall.
  • There is controversy in Vaughan over a plan to sell public parkland to a developer. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Is Amsterdam at risk of being hollowed out as mass tourism makes it a destination for partying tourists? Guardian Cities reports.
  • David Farrier writes for Guardian Cities about his experiences in the strange new model city of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.

[URBAN NOTE] Four notes about changing cities in Canada: Hamilton, Edmonton, Cornwall, Antigonish

  • Hamilton’s Christ Church is striving for continued viability, in part through selling off vacant land for condos. Global News reports.
  • Edmonton’s Accidental Beach, a byproduct of construction berms on the North Saskatchewan River, has gone viral. Global News reports.
  • Meagan Campbell of MacLean’s looks at how the refugee crisis did, and did not, effect the garlic festival of border city Cornwall.
  • The successful integration of a Syrian refugee family of chocolatiers in the Nova Scotia town of Antigonish is nice. The Toronto Star carries the story.

[NEWS] Five links about refugees and migrations: border debris, Cornwall’s camps, and online fraud

Earlier today at my blog, I linked to an article published earlier this month in the Toronto Star. In “Fleeing to Canada, asylum seekers’ old lives revealed in the scraps found along New York’s Roxham Rd.”, journalist Allan Woods looked at the debris discarded by refugee claimants fleeing potential threats in Trump’s America.

There were airplane boarding passes and luggage tags from Haiti, Florida, Ethiopia, Salt Lake City and New York; Greyhound bus tickets from Albany and Indianapolis; a Delaware driver’s licence and a U.S. Social Security number; Florida detention records; immigration documents from Orlando; and medical laboratory test records for a Delaware man.

Dampened by rain and dried by sun, the scraps of papers discarded while fleeing for a new life in Canada offer insight into the journeys made by asylum seekers. They may have been thrown away as simple garbage from a life abandoned or been purposefully left behind for fear of complicating an expected refugee claim in Canada.

Canadian officials said this week that there have been about 250 people crossing each day at Roxham Rd. in the past few weeks, with a one-day peak of 500 about a week ago.

About 85 per cent have been Haitian nationals worried that the U.S. government intends to get rid of a special immigration designation, known as a Temporary Protected Status, that prevents deportation back to Haiti and nine other countries.

Among them is the Baptiste family — mother Sophonie, father Michel and son Colby — who stepped off a Greyhound bus at 6 p.m. Wednesday along with an elderly grandfather, an aunt and a cousin after deciding to leave behind the life they had built over the past decade in Queens, N.Y.

In Haiti, they ran a successful home renovation business that was abandoned over fears of kidnapping. Colby Baptiste said he was employed by Honda and was a registered real estate agent in New York before the family decided to seek refuge in Canada.

Pushing them to take that decision was a letter they received from immigration authorities advising them to prepare for the expiration of their Temporary Protected Status and an eventual return to Haiti.

With tears welling in her eyes, Sophonie Baptiste said she saw Canada as a more generous and open country and was confident her family would be able to rebuild once again.

More recently, the Star carried Mike Blanchfield’s Canadian Press article interviewing some of the people fleeing.

The Francois family are among nearly 7,000 asylum seekers — most of them Haitian — who have flooded across the Quebec-New York state border since mid-July when the Trump administration announced it might end their “temporary protected status,” which was granted following Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake. They are among the first few hundred the government has relocated to this eastern Ontario processing centre.

Few here have heard of Justin Trudeau and no one says they saw his now-controversial January Twitter message welcoming immigrants facing persecution. The tweet was heavily criticized by the Conservative opposition for sparking the American exodus.

But many here say they uprooted their new American lives because of something more primal: they were driven by fear of the anti-immigration politics of President Donald Trump.

“I decided to come to Canada because the politics of migration in the United States changed,” says Haitian-born Justin Remy Napoleon, 39. “I was scared. I came here to continue my life.”

Like Frank Francois, Napoleon says he feared deportation over Trump’s policy shift, so he left his adopted home in San Diego, flew to the eastern seaboard and boarded a bus for the northern border. It wasn’t the first time he decided to start over in another country. He left Haiti in 2006 for the Dominican Republic and then went to Brazil.

Napoleon says he dreamed of coming to Canada from as far back as his time in Haiti. When he crossed the border earlier this month, “I thought I was entering a paradise.”

The eastern Ontario city of Cornwall, close to the Québec and New York borders, has–as reported by, among others, Global News–been scrambling to find housing for hundreds, even thousands, of people.

Const. Daniel Cloutier, a Cornwall police spokesman, says almost 300 Haitians have arrived recently and, so far, there have been no problems and none are anticipated.

About 3,800 people crossed into Quebec in the first two weeks of August following the 2,996 who crossed in July after the Trump administration said it was considering ending “temporary protected status” for Haitians in the U.S. following their country’s massive 2010 earthquake.

Last week, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced a temporary shelter would be set up in Cornwall.

The newcomers are being housed at the Nav Centre, which is run by Nav Canada, the private non-profit corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation service. The military is erecting tents on its grounds.

The centre sits on more than 28 hectares of parkland abutting the St. Lawrence Seaway and is billed as a government conference centre with all the amenities of a luxury resort. Its website boasts 560 “comfortable” rooms, as well as a swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre and outdoors sports fields.

Amy Minsky, also at Global News, reported that many of the refugee and asylum candidates who came to Canada have been misled by false rumours, carried on social media.

Amid the federal government’s assurances it has everything under control at the Canada-U.S. border, where thousands of would-be refugees are crossing over in droves, is an aggressive campaign to combat one element seen to be behind the most recent wave: the viral spread of potentially deliberately misleading information about Canada’s refugee and asylum systems.

The Liberal government has said it is aware of misinformation spreading via instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and through other social media platforms.

Much of the misinformation has targeted the Haitian population living in the United States with “temporary protected status” granted to more than 50,000 Haitians, primarily in the wake of 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 222,570, injured another 300,000 and displaced almost 100,000.

With that status likely to expire without renewal in mere months, however, many have packed their bags, made their way to Champlain, N.Y., and walked across to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. – seemingly, according to the Canadian government, encouraged by false information.

“The misinformation that Haitians in the United States, for example, could get permanent residency easily in Canada if they have temporary protected status in the United States. That’s completely untrue,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in an interview with Global News.

“Those [are the] kinds of myths we’re working really hard to dispel, and we’re engaging all available means to attack that misinformation.”

Videos on YouTube are also spreading misinformation about Canada’s system.

At VICE, meanwhile, Cole Kazdin described how fraudsters in the United States are taking advantage of refugees and immigrants there desperately trying to legalize their status.

When Andrea Mora took her grown daughter Karla to get her green card two years ago, she could barely contain her excitement on the drive to the immigration office. “The happiness…” Mora tells me in Spanish. “We were looking so forward to the interview.” Finally, she would have her entire family together in the US.

But instead of walking out of the immigration office with a green card, Karla was given a deportation order on the spot. She was a victim of the sort of misinformation and sometimes deliberately misleading advice that experts say is all too common among immigrants looking for permanent resident status.

Mora, who asked that I change her name, came to the US 11 years ago from Costa Rica to be further from her alcoholic husband and closer to her eldest daughter, who is married to a US citizen. After being sponsored by her daughter, Mora now has resident status. She was hoping to sponsor her younger daughter, Karla, who came to the US on a tourist visa. So she borrowed money from friends to get the $5,000 to pay a notario—a term for a notary or immigration consultant—who advised her and helped them fill out the paperwork to apply for Karla’s residency.

But notaries don’t have law degrees. The one that Mora saw not only filled out the paperwork incorrectly, she also promised an outcome—a green card—that attorneys familiar with the case say would never have been possible.

Those errors led to her interviewer at the immigration office not just turning her application down but telling her to leave the country. Heaping injury upon injury, the notario’s high fees meant that Mora is still paying back the friends who lent her money two years ago.

I wonder if anything similar is going on in Canada.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2017 at 11:30 pm

[META] On the latest blogroll expansion

Consider this post a consequence of a consolidation of my blogroll, with three posts from older blogs I’ve added previously and two new posts from new blogs.

  • Missing persons blog Charley Ross shares the strange story of five people who went missing in a winter wilderness in 1978.
  • Roads and Kingdom shares an anecdote by Alessio Perrone about a chat over a drink with a Cornishman, in a Cornwall ever more dependent on tourism.
  • Strange Company shares the story of Kiltie, a Scottish cat who immigrated to the United States in the First World War.
  • Starts With a Bang, a science blog by Ethan Siegel, argues that there is in fact no evidence for periodic mass extinctions caused by bodies external to the Earth.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, a group blog by Canadian economists, considers the value placed on Aboriginal language television programming.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reports from Washington D.C.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper looking at the stellar wind of Tau Böotis and the impact of Tau Böotis b on this.
  • Language Log considers the exact grammatical role played by Brexit.
  • Language Hat links to a report on a museum of language in Paris.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that the website Atlas Obscura is set to produce a book.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the paradox of a Cornwall dependent on EU funds voting against the European Union.
  • Steve Munro looks at the problems of fare integration in regional transit.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares multimedia highlights of the launch of China’s new Long March 7 rocket.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at a new road shortcut in suburban Charlottetown.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at institutional chaos in the Moscow area and suggest Cossack mobilization risks a North Caucasian countermobilization.

[LINK] “Cornish identity: why Cornwall has always been a separate place”

Philip Marsden had an article published in The Guardian responding to the recent recognition by the British government of the Cornish as a distinct ethnicity. Cornwall, as Marsden argues, is a region of England that is not just a region of England, but rather a place with its own distinctive ethnic identity.

Why did the resurgence come so late? It might just be a matter of numbers. Only a few hundred people claim the (revived) Cornish language as their main language. The population of all Cornwall is comparable to the number of people in Wales who actively speak Welsh, and the population of Wales is six times that of Cornwall. I do wonder how long this effort can be sustained, but if Cornish wish it, why not?

When I first drove down to live in Cornwall more than 20 years ago, I was met by a graffiti message on a railway bridge near Truro: “Go home, English!” I should have taken it personally. I should have politely turned around to head back across the Tamar. I was exactly the sort of incomer who was swamping the last little islands of Cornishness. But in fact, I found it heartening. Cornwall was not England – that was why I’d come.

Since then, Cornwall’s distinctiveness has, rather than being smothered, become resurgent. In those days, the monochrome simplicity of St Piran’s flag was an unusual sight, confined to places of nationalist fervour like Hellfire Corner at Redruth rugby ground. Now it is everywhere – in the logos of Cornish companies, on car stickers (usually with some jokey tag like “Pasty on Board”), or fluttering importantly from Cornwall council buildings. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Cornish language was likewise invisible, a barbarous and long-vanished practice, like piracy and smuggling. Now it receives government funding to be taught in schools and appears on the bilingual signs at the Cornish “border” on the A30, and on street signs for every new housing development.

It is tempting to regard such reinventions as quaint, like Morris dancing or beating the bounds; some of the most vigorous St Piran’s flag-waving comes from English, or even American, settlers. But Cornwall’s separateness runs deeper than that. It is less folksy and more physical, something from the soil itself, like the radon gas that seeps out of the granite of Carnmenellis or West Penwith.

The survival of Cornish identity can be traced, on one level, to the quirk of geomorphology and tectonics that placed the sea on three sides and made most of the fourth out of the river Tamar. The shape is reflected in the name: the “Corn-” comes from the Cornish “kern”, or “horn” ( the Cornish name for Cornwall, Kernow, is now as ubiquitous as St Piran’s flag, and has the same root). Trying to identify Cornwall’s appeal, Jacquetta Hawkes reached for its shape: “Cornwall is England’s horn, its point thrust out into the sea.”

Such a position has always made Cornwall tricky to administer. The Romans didn’t bother trying, as long as their supply of tin was secure. Saxon villagisation did not extend far into Cornwall. When the Tudors tried to unite the realm, the Cornish proved unbiddable. Two of the fiercest rebellions of the time came from the far south-west. In 1497, a revolt against taxation began in the village of St Keverne on the Lizard; within months, 15,000 restive Cornishmen had reached London, where they were soundly routed. In 1997, the Keskerdh Kernow 500 commemorated the revolt tracing the original route from St Keverne to Blackheath. The smaller, more benign band of flag-waving Cornish that wound through the market towns of southern England helped to re-establish the sense of Cornish identity, at least for those who took part.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 30, 2014 at 1:04 am

[BRIEF NOTE] On Cornwall. abuse, and conspiracies

The small eastern Ontario city of Cornwall has just seen the end of an exorbitantly expensive inquiry into claims of an organized pedophile ring there. Triggered when police officer Perry Dunlop learned of a sexual abuse scandal that the Roman Catholic Church had quietly settled in 1994, matters quickly spiraled into speculation that dozens of men were systematically abusing young men. Following a series of failed trials, an inquiry into the who affair began, and was already going badly by the time that Dunlop skipped the inquiry. The whole situation is a catastrophe.

It wasn’t long before the original premise grew to shocking proportions: a ring or clan of pedophiles that reached into the city’s highest corners — priests, a bishop, a Crown attorney, lawyers, probation officers, possibly senior police officers.

Because so many powerful people were involved, went the theory, the original investigation was blocked, forcing Mr. Dunlop to circle around his own police force. He was the whistleblower extraordinaire, unafraid to put his career on the line to protect abused children.

[. . .]

Mr. Dunlop’s role in the case, however well intended, has contributed to a breathtaking expenditure of public resources — time and money — not to mention the stain on an entire community.

And Mr. Dunlop doesn’t want to talk about it?

Briefly, there were two Cornwall police investigations in 1993, an Ontario Provincial Police probe in 1994 and, finally, the launching of Project Truth in 1997. It spared nothing: The allegations of 69 complainants were investigated, leading to 672 interviews.

Four years later, the OPP were satisfied there was no pedophile ring in the city, but laid 115 charges against 15 individuals. There was but one conviction.

[. . .]

At least one of the witnesses — an original complainant — has testified he never saw evidence of a pedophile ring, contrary to an earlier written statement. Those named in the statement? Nah, never saw them. The statement itself? Didn’t even read it, he testified.

He claimed he was pressured into making the statements by one Perry Dunlop. Nor was he the only witness to retract outlandish allegations.

“I did anything (Mr. Dunlop) told me to do,” said one alleged victim.

Even though the inquiry has, 53 million dollars later, come to the conclusion that there wasn’t a conspiracy, the idea will still remain active.

An explanation that to some appears to debunk a conspiracy theory just further confirms others’ suspicions, said University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson.

“It’s very difficult to disprove a conspiracy theory, because every bit of disproving evidence can be just written off as additional evidence that these conspirators are particularly intelligent and sneaky,” he said.

Conspiracy theories are usually started by people who are very untrusting and it gathers steam among others who are somewhat untrusting, Peterson said.

They’re psychologically compelling because they neatly tie together troubling facts or assertions, he said. When things go badly there are often many explanations, and an orchestrated conspiracy “should be pretty low on your list of plausible hypotheses,” Peterson said.

“A good rule of thumb is: Don’t presume malevolence where stupidity is sufficient explanation,” he said.

“Organizations can act badly and things can fall apart without any group of people driving that.”

While Glaude made no definitive statements about a ring, he declared there was not a conspiracy by several institutions to cover up the existence of any such operation, rather that agency bungling left that impression.

By now, the majority of Cornwall has dismissed the allegation that once spread like wildfire there, but among a small group of people the theory will never die, said columnist Claude McIntosh with the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder.

When historical allegations of sex abuse started surfacing in the 1990s people were certainly talking about the issue, he said. Then a group of townspeople started a website and posted names of people they named as pedophiles.

They also posted an affidavit from one man detailing the most sensational allegation, that ritual sex abuse was performed by men in robes with candles on weekend retreats. He would later recant that allegation at the inquiry.

This sounds a lot like the various panics over alleged Satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s and 1990s, triggered by moral panic related to concern over the breakdown of traditional mores, like the nuclear family or conventional religion. What happened in Cornwall seems to me the consequence of the moral crisis triggered by revelations of clerical abuse. Cornwall is not only a strongly Roman Catholic community, it’s a community that has experienced significant economic stresses with high unemployment and low education levels and a relative lack of investment in public facilities. A Roman Catholic priest really did abuse a child; the Roman Catholic Church really did try to cover it up. Especially when life is already strained, it’s not such a big stretch go from a trusted religious authority betraying the public interest in a specific fashion to any number of trusted authorities engaging in orchestrated horrors. Besides, as Peterson notes, conspiracies tend to be more coherent than the idea that bad things just happen in isolation for no particular reason, more comforting in a way since they offer a sense of predictability and thus an ability to control the conspirators through public action.

I also recommend Religioustolerance.org’s analysis.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 21, 2009 at 7:28 pm