1. Seven councillors voting against Austin’s motion

Councillor Sam Austin will put a motion before council today to ditch a staff review into the stadium proposal, but at least seven other councillors won’t support it, reports Anjuli Patil with CBC.

Steve Streatch, David Hendsbee, Tony Mancini, Russell Walker, Matt Whitman, Steve Adams and Lisa Blackburn all told CBC they plan on voting against Austin’s motion, which needs the support of two-thirds of council to pass.

Mancini says council owes it to citizens to make a wise and informed decision on the recommendation of city staff.

Let me be clear, I am not saying we should move forward on a stadium. I am saying we should do our due diligence and allow staff to complete their work and come back to council with their report and recommendations in the new year.

Austin says the stadium proposal isn’t a good deal for the municipality.

There was that sinking feeling in my stomach when I submitted the motion on Thursday because it certainly is taking a stand.

But it is something that I think we’re on the wrong path on this and it’s my duty when I see something like that to put something forward and then have the discussion at council.

2. Leaders debate

Canada could use more Nova Scotia.

There wasn’t much talk of Atlantic Canada in last night’s leaders debate, although we did learn Canada apparently gets one Nova Scotia’s worth of immigrants every three years. 

David Maher with The Telegram outlines some of the issues covered last night that are of interest to Atlantic Canadians, including climate change and health care.

3. Bridge protest ends in arrests; Halifax Twitter was lit

All 18 protesters arrested after yesterday’s bridge protest on the Macdonald Bridge were released without charges later in the day, although they were each fined $237.50, reports Graeme Benjamin and Jesse Thomas with Global. 

The protest was organized by Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia and coincided with other protests around the world. About 100 protesters showed up at the bridge. The HRP and bridge commission shut down the Macdonald before the protesters showed up. Halifax Transit buses operated on detours and cyclists took the ferry, although there were lineups because of the 12-cyclist limit on the boat.

The bridge protest dominated Halifax Twitter yesterday.

You can watch that entire video here.

Meanwhile, councillor Steve Streatch called the protest “rhetoric” and “ridiculous.”

Well I’m going to get back in that diesel 400 horsepower 350 and I’m going to drive down across the MacKay Bridge and I’m going to go over and speak to this issue.

Well folks I’d like to stay all day but unlike a lot of you folks I have a job to get to so.

Tim Bousquet adds:

For a more positive view of the bridge protestors, check out this video by NSCAD prof Sam Fisher:

YouTube video

4. Plastics exec speaks out against bag ban

The head of a plastics industry association says the province didn’t consult with industry over its plastic bag ban, according to a report from Andrew Rankin at The Chronicle Herald.

Joe Hruska, the vice-president of sustainability with Canadian Plastics Industry Association, says the ban will mean a loss of jobs and more plastic in local landfills.

Hruska spoke at the law amendments committee yesterday, proposing a three-bag approach similar to one in Squamish, B.C. Under that system, customers are charged according to the environmental footprint of plastic, paper, and reusable bags. Hruska says reusable bags often end up in landfills.

We should be using all these bags responsibly and let people choose what they need. The best option of all is a polyethylene bag that can be used 50 to 100 times before being recycled.

Hruska says Inteplast, a plastic bag and films recycling plant, could close down, and jobs could be lost at Goodwood Plastic Products in Colchester County. Goodwood converts shredded plastic bags into plastic posts and lumber.

Mark Butler with the Ecology Action Centre also presented to the committee, proposing putting a fee on paper bags and a price on reusable bags. He also suggested the province have a public awareness campaign, a review on the ban after one year, and a ban on other single-use plastics.

5. Driver’s plate mix-up fixed

Access Nova Scotia. Photo via Yelp.

Shaina Luck at CBC reports that a Halifax woman has her clean driving record back after a clerical error made by an employee at Access Nova Scotia was finally fixed.

Anne Irwin drove around with an unregistered vehicle for two years after the employee detached her plate from her vehicle. The car was properly registered by the dealer from whom Irwin leased the vehicle.

Irwin didn’t know of the error until she was pulled over this summer. When the cop ran the plate, he found the car unregistered and gave Irwin a ticket that she paid. Access Nova Scotia admitted the error, but told Irwin they couldn’t reverse the ticket, saying her payment on it was an admission of guilt and she’d have to go to court. Irwin went to CBC with her story instead.

I think the publicity, the right people saw what was going on. I’m thankful that they stepped up and looked after it.

I’m still a bit sorry that it couldn’t be resolved [by] the people I spoke with initially, but I’m glad it’s done now.

A lawyer with the Department of Justice went to court to reverse the ticket and Irwin got a refund for $180 on her credit card.

6. Aaron Carter is moving in

In yesterday’s Morning File, Tim mentioned that Aaron Carter was moving to Nova Scotia. Carter is the younger brother of Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys (Backstreet’s Back, alright.) Yesterday Carter was sharing details of his move to Nova Scotia on his Twitter account. Carter stopped into a Tim Horton’s somewhere and bought some Timbits, which he ate while driving and filming himself eating them, getting the powdered sugar all over his pants. He was also wearing a parka in the video (it was not parka weather yesterday). Carter told his followers he bought a new house.

What is a “thot tub?” I think Carter will need it in the middle of February. Also, I just moved into a new place. Where’s my free maple syrup 4Life?

This morning, Carter tweeted that he’s heading back to the U.S. I don’t know any of his songs and am too old to be a fan, but I’m a little worried about him.


1. The moments when everything changes

In her blog, Halifax lawyer Barbara Darby examines the moments in time in which we decide on certain feelings about situations. First, she explores those moments in time in which we fall in or out of love, but she looks at how those moments are explored and determined in law.

It now occurs to me (duh!) that so much of legal resolution requires identifying an exact moment in time. Justice uses calculators, to assess the time period to add up lost earnings since the day of the accident, since the afternoon when your job was terminated, since you were locked in a cell as someone wrongly incarcerated, since you lost sales when the contract was broken.

Then there’s the challenge of seeking justice when the harm has occurred over time, incremental damage and systemic damage of, say, hearing racist insults or sexist jokes or endless political promises to get to that most important issue.

We rarely know what day the situation became intolerable, yet we have to prove that it did.

The exact moment when you knew the feeling.

Darby looks at the case of Miss Sadie Chertkow, an American who immigrated to Lethbridge, Alberta as a child and met and married Tony Feistein in Winnipeg in 1920. Sadie and Tony operated clothing stores and had a daughter, but Tony left Sadie after five years of marriage. Sadie got the furniture and $7,250, but two years later, was committed to the “hospital for the insane” in Ponoka, Alberta.

In 1928, Tony brought a motion before the Court to have Sadie declared “insane” at the time of the marriage, thus rendering the marriage null and void, and he sought custody of their child. Because Sadie was a “lunatic,” she had to have someone represent her in Court for the litigation. I expect that Tony wanted to remarry.

At trial, Judge Ives declared the marriage null and void, in Tony’s favour, finding that Sadie was indeed “insane” at the time of the ceremony. Under the law, nullity is like the marriage never happened. Sadie appealed.

This is such an interesting case, grappling as it does with what moments in time are legally significant. Sadie was assessed to be mentally ill a couple of years after the marriage ended. The Court was asked to determine what her mental state was on the day of the marriage, going back in time to when the marriage occurred.

Eventually, several experts go on to find Sadie wasn’t mentally unsound at her wedding ceremony, but rather peculiar and maybe a little cranky (oh no, I may be in trouble here).

And so, Sadie succeeds: she continues to be married, her child continues to be legitimate. What difference this made to her is not clear. Cold comfort, indeed. She was clearly distraught on the day of her vows, but not so upset as to be incapable of making a bad decision, and the only decision that was realistically available. After years of marriage, Tony, you bet you can’t argue that you used my labour and body, only to take my traumatic state of mental health now and retroactively apply it to then.

2. Big money for big magic weekend

Colleen Gosgrove at The Chronicle Herald recently interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, who will be in Halifax for a Make Big Magic Weekend starting this Saturday. Gilbert’s book was turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts who, from what I remember, ate a lot of pasta and met some good-looking men. As a middle-age white woman, I must be the target demographic for this weekend and all its big magic because the event ad keeps popping up on my Facebook feed. The weekend is being hosted by a group called Soul Tribe Live. One of the tribe members calls herself an Autopoetic facilitator.

Gilbert hosts creativity workshops around the world and will be hosting one as part of this weekend in Halifax. Here’s part of the description of her workshop.

Using stories from her own life of creative exploration, as well as experiences from her world travels, Gilbert will show how “everyone is invited,” and will explain how absolutely everybody — no matter what their background or position in life — can benefit from exploring and expressing their own inherent creativity. She will explain how every human life is a creative endeavor, and that creativity is not just a privilege of artists.

Gilbert tells Cosgrove we have lost our sense of what creativity is and we’re focused too much on making money off that creativity.

Why does there have to be a reason beyond your joy, your release, your unique expression that allows you to create? There’s so much stratification in the creative world — who’s allowed in, who’s not allowed in and who are the gatekeepers and what are the badges of honour — I find that to all be so suffocating.

I’m fascinated with this industry, if that’s what you want to call it, of life coaches, thought leaders, and whatever this Make Big Magic Weekend is. I think I’m a pretty creative person, but these people speak in a language I honestly don’t understand. Here’s the description of one of the weekend’s workshops called Unleash Your Sacred Fire.

When we tap into it life it is exciting, joyful, and meaningful. We reclaim the power of our intuition, reconnect with our inner essence, and create safety through integrity. Get ready to channel unwavering commitment and focus on what really matters in your life.

Umm, what does “create safety though integrity” mean? What will the participants actually do in this workshop? I have no idea. Everyone needs something to follow and I guess this is an option. It’s a new religion, really.

Spend your weekend making big magic brownies.

Check out the tickets. It costs almost $500 to attend both days of workshops. Part of me wanted to attend, but I can’t afford the $500 or to lose a whole weekend to this.

Listen if you’re thinking of going, I can organize a day trip instead and we’ll go explore beautiful places, maybe have some wine and ice cream, and you can vent about all your troubles and have a lot of laughs. We’ll unleash our sacred fires together for a lot less than $500 and there’ll be less BS, too!


Camp Hill Cemetery has been closed since the day after hurricane Dorian in early September. The storm downed some trees in the cemetery causing damage to a number of headstones. But it looks like Camp Hill will reopen by the end of the week. Waye Mason mentions it in his newsletter he published yesterday.

One person who noticed the damage at Camp Hill is Craig Ferguson, a local TV producer and former journalist who runs the Dead in Halifax account on Twitter. Ferguson took some photos of the damage, although he reminds others it’s not yet safe to go inside.

Ferguson started the account in July and he shared photos and stories from a number of cemeteries, including Camp Hill, around the city. He says he’s worked in local cemeteries and despite his own fears about walking in them, he says he noticed a couple of things that intrigued him. The first was the headstone of John Edward Power, a 13-year-old who died after getting lost in the woods near North West Arm in July 1921.

I thought that seems like a story. To me, every time I find something new in there, it’s like a treasure hunt. It’s a way to connect with the history in the city in a very personal way.

Ferguson started digging and started a Twitter thread on John’s story that includes newspaper clippings detailing the search for Johnny. His remains were found in the woods on Oct. 22, 1922. Ferguson learned Power grew up in a house on Creighton Street, not far from where he once lived himself.

If not for an accident in history, you could have known him.

The day after hurricane Dorian, Ferguson took a look inside the cemetery to see how it fared during the storm. A number of trees fell and toppled over headstones.

The cemetery, which was opened by a private company in 1844, is now maintained by the municipality. It’s the final resting place for some of Nova Scotia’s most famous people, including Robert Stanfield, Joe Howe, Viola Desmond, and Abraham Gesner, the Nova Scotian who invented kerosene.

Yesterday, Maggie-Jane Spray, a spokesperson with the municipality, told me work to repair the damage from the hurricane will start today. Repairs for hurricane damage are separate from other repairs, which are covered by the perpetual care fund that’s part of the city’s operating budget.

Ferguson says while he knows the municipality takes care of the cemetery, he’d like to see private citizens get together to care for the cemetery, much like the Friends of the Public Gardens work to preserve that historic landmark. He’d like to see Camp Hill become a historic site and says Camp Hill and other cemeteries are also important green spaces in the city. He’s taken his kids to see Viola Desmond’s final resting place after they learned about Desmond in school.

I think the city, rightly so, has other priorities. They have to take care of the living. There are stories behind those headstones. It’s like a museum for people. If that’s something the dead can give the living, it’s worth preserving. I think they’d want us to tell their stories.




City Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — Here’s the agenda.


No public meetings.



Health (Tuesday, 9am, Province House) — Department of Health and Wellness, 811 ProgramDr. Todd Howlett, Medical Director; Natalia Gallant, TeleHealth Manager of Quality and Privacy; Wendy Boutilier, TeleHealth Manager of Operations and Clinical Services.

Committee page here.


Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) —
Public Service Commission, Laura Lee Langley – Public Service Commissioner
Department of Agriculture, Frank Dunn – Deputy Minister
Department of Justice, Karen Hudson – Deputy Minister
Department of Community Services, Tracey Barbrick – Associate Deputy Minister

Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Service – May 2019 Report of the Auditor General, Chapter 1
Committee page here.

Legislature sits (Wednesday, 1pm, Province House)

On campus



Human Rights and Reconciliation: Indigenous Child Welfare (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) — panel discussion featuring Angelina Amaral, Cindy Blackstock, and Naiomi Metallic. From the listing:

Events in the last four years have brought significant attention to the issue of Indigenous child welfare. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) stated that “Canada’s child-welfare system has simply continued the assimilation that the residential school system started,” and its Calls to Action aimed to fix this broken system. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) found that the federal government has been knowingly discriminating against First Nations children by underfunding the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program. Since that time, Canada has been the subject of seven non-compliance orders, including failing to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.

In 2018, the Liberals committed to addressing the CHRT’s orders. Finally, in June 2019, Parliament gave royal assent to Bill C-92, to recognize Indigenous People’s jurisdiction over child and family services, as part of an inherent and Aboriginal right to self-governance; to establish national standards in this area, and to contribute to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The bill has received mixed reactions from Indigenous communities. In this panel discussion, three experts in child welfare legislation will discuss these events and what can still be done.

Free; seating is first come, first served. More info here. Live streamed here.

The Spectre of Populism in Europe: a Threat to Liberal Democracy? (Tuesday, 1pm, Room 1014, Rowe management Building) — Oliver Schmidtke from the University of Victoria will talk.

TeachIn on Islam & Islamophobia (Tuesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — with Afua Cooper, Rodica Firanescu, Syed Adnan Hussain, Colin Mitchell, and Howard Ramos.


Role of Transcription Factor EB in the Pathobiology of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Logan Slade will talk.

Adelle Blackett. Photo: twitter

On the Presence of the Past in the Future of International Labour Law (Wednesday, 4:30pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Adelle Blackett from McGill University will speak.

Love & Information (Wednesday, 7:30pm, David Mack. Murray Studio, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — a theatrical experience for the age of Google and Twitter, by Caryl Churchill, directed by Laura Vingoe-Cram. Performances 7:30pm until Saturday, matinee Saturday 2pm. $15/10.

Saint Mary’s


No public events.


Lou Andreas-Salomé (Wednesday, 6pm, Burke, Theatre B) — screening in German with English subtitles.

Kent Monkman, Making Miss Chief (Wednesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — the artist discusses how the creation of his shape-shifting, time-travelling, gender-fluid alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle has enabled him to challenge the authority of the settler version of North American art history upheld in museums across the continent. Reserve your free ticket here.

In the harbour

06:15: AIDAdiva, cruise ship with up to 2,050 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Quebec City, on a 10-day cruise from Montreal to New York
07:30: Carnival Sunrise, cruise ship with up to 3,730 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from New York, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
13:30: Asterix, replenishment vessel, sails from Dockyard for sea
15:00: AIDAdiva sails for Bar Harbor
17:00: Carnival Sunrise sails for Saint John


I’m off to Cape Breton today, but I hope Halifax Twitter is nicer than it was yesterday.

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent and on Mastodon

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  1. “[Many] of the stones are unstable and it’s not safe to walk among them.”

    Good grief! It’s not enough that we wrap children in cotton batten, now we have wrap grownups in it too.

  2. They were charged. They were charged under a relatively minor provincial offence that involved getting a ticket. The police can’t fine anyone. The folks who were issued a trespassing ticket can go to court and fight it if they wish. There is no fine until the time for disputing the ticket has expired, or, if you dispute it, a judge has found you guilty.

    1. I’m actually not sure how that ticket works in NS – with some provincial offences where you get a ticket, there is actually a court date set, and if you don’t show up, you can be found guilty in absentia. But you do have the right to dispute the ticket, as it is an actual charge against you, just not a criminal one.

  3. Unfortunately people cannot look past their own navels when it comes to the impacts and causes of climate change. Hard to imagine a scenario where we can save ourselves.

    Here’s hoping the kids find a way.

  4. “Gilbert tells Cosgrove we have lost our sense of what creativity is and we’re focused too much on making money off that creativity.” Oh the irony!

  5. Every time I see one of these “be your own windkeeper” events targeted at my demographic, I get irrationally angry I didn’t think of it first.

  6. Sam Fisher is the father of Willa Fisher, who is one of the leaders of the local climate school strike movement. Also, great point by the activist in the video who compares the behaviour of the police here to the RCMP at Elsipogtog when they were much more violently rounding up anti-fracking protesters.