On campus
In the harbour


1. It never ends

More snow. Schools are closed. Universities are open. Buses are running, sort of. People are driving erratically. Sidewalks suck. You know the drill.

2. Dartmouth’s lakes

The city’s Environment and Sustainability committee yesterday rejected a proposal to use an herbicide to kill weeds in Dartmouth’s lakes, reports Chris Benjamin, but not before:

Jamie MacNeil lobbied a city committee to poison Dartmouth's lakes, then got upset that the public was told about his lobbying.
Jamie MacNeil lobbied a city committee to poison Dartmouth’s lakes, then got upset that the public was told about his lobbying.

Councillor Lorelei Nicoll expressed dismay that the name of Jamie MacNeil — the m5 Public Affairs VP who recommended using herbicides — was made public in the staff briefing. MacNeil lives in Nicoll’s district. “It was very unfortunate to see the individual from District 4 identified in this briefing note,” she said. “When he asked to understand the process I did not say ‘are you OK with having your name made public?’ … I hope that never happens again.”

According to the briefing note, MacNeil had approached the council on behalf of an m5 client, Lake Management Services. Nicoll did not say why the public should not be fully aware of the involvement of either a herbicide company, its PR firm, or the PR firm’s VP. Regardless, the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Labrecque, apologized for telling the public the truth.

The committee’s recommendation to instead use annual mechanical harvesting of the weeds will next go to the full city council.

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3. Andrew Younger

Andrew Younger
Andrew Younger

Andrew Younger, the energy minister now on leave of absence, racked up nearly $35,000 in travel expenses in just eight months last year, reports CTV. Younger’s trips included to Germany to experience first-hand that country’s electricity conservation efforts, to Scotland to look at tidal power, and to Korea to observe “offshore technology.”

“I don’t know what he was doing on those trips at this stage. We’ll certainly be asking the questions,” [Premier Stephen] McNeil said.

“It’s a lot of money. For the people I represent, many of those families live on less than that, quite frankly.”

Opposition politicians said such travel claims are unprecedented.

4. Dawgfather kills bike lane

Tuesday night, after meeting in secret with legal counsel, Halifax council overturned its September approval of a bike lane down University Avenue. “A local food vendor known as the Dawgfather objected, saying the bike lane would put him out of business,” reports CBC.

5. Snow and ice injuries

Three people have been brought to hospital in Halifax suffering from heart attacks related to shovelling snow, reports Global. South end resident Krista Dowell told Global that a neighbour died last year while shovelling snow:

He was only in his 50s. He was helping his neighbour shovel the driveway. He just stopped of a heart attack. That was terrible.

No doubt. A physiotherapist told Global that this year there’s been a 10 to 15 percent increase “in patients with shoulder, back and wrist issues, amongst other things” related to snow-clearing. That ice storm was particularly ugly.

6. Free advertising


Media across Canada have decided to give sex toy retailer Pink Cherry free advertising. The company, which sells dildos, anal plugs, vibrators, and the like, each year publishes a “sexiest cities in Canada” list based entirely on the geography of sales of its own products. Then, media outlets that prefer free “content” over paying real reporters to do honest work publish Pink Cherry’s dubious results, without bothering to question the data behind the list, the methodology of the list-maker, why “buying sex toys” is the sole determinant of “sexy,” or why “buying sex toys from this one particular retailer” is more important than the entire sex toy economy.

Nova Scotian media outlets giving away free advertising include the Yarmouth Vanguard, the King’s County Register (reprinted in Halifax’s Metro), and the CBC (the Nova Scotia division posting a BC-produced “story” on the local site).

7. Wild kingdom

“The man who owned the python that killed two young boys in New Brunswick in August 2013 has been arrested in the case, his lawyer said Thursday,” reports the Canadian Press:

Noah Barthe, 4, and his six-year-old brother Connor were found dead on Aug. 5, 2013, after an African rock python escaped its enclosure inside Savoie’s apartment where they were staying for a sleepover.

The RCMP said at the time that the 45-kilogram snake escaped a glass tank inside the apartment through a vent and slithered through a ventilation pipe, but its weight caused the pipe to collapse and it fell into the living room where the boys were sleeping.

The 4.3-metre long python asphyxiated the boys, autopsies said.


1. Break my heart


Stephen Archibald looks at vintage Valentine’s Day cards he’s collected through the years. Of the one above, he notes: “Let’s just say if the kid next door went missing I might suggest that the bleeding heart bed be dug up. Nice to see a confident young woman who is clear about what she wants.”

2. Education

When he was a cabinet minister, Graham Steele sat in on a presentation to cabinet from Department of Education officials who were outlining upcoming negotiations with the teachers’ union. He writes:

[W]e were informed that the first item on the list — the department’s very highest priority, the number one “ask” — was getting teachers to return to lunch-hour supervision.

That moment encapsulates for me the concrete-like rigidity of Nova Scotia’s education system: small issues are treated like big issues, and big issues aren’t even open for discussion. 

3. Reporting on sexual aasault

Lezlie Lowe speaks with Helen Lanthier, of the Second Story Women’s Centre, about the language used in media accounts of sexual assault.

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Since the URB used the interrupter clause so promptly after the price of a barrel of oil jumped $3.50 on Feb. 3, hiking pump prices by seven cents, why didn’t it invoke it again to lower the price of gas the following day, when the same barrel of oil was worth almost $5 less?

Strange how the URB acts so quickly in increasing the price of gas, yet so slowly in reducing it. I just wonder who pays the salary of these people on the URB — might it be the government that stands to profit most from these insane increases? Give the consumer a break for a change.

Gérald C. Boudreau, Île-Morris


No public meetings.

On campus

King’s College

The student-organized third annual Conference of the Early Modern is today and tomorrow. Events include:


Keynote address (Friday, 7:30pm, KTS Lecture Hall, Academic Building)—Bruce Gordon will talk about “The Execution of a Heretic, the Bible, and the Fragmenting Reformation.”


Love, Womanhood and Female Historical Figures (Saturday, 10am, KTS Lecture Hall, Academic Building)—with the following speakers and their subjects:

  • Bethany Hindmarsh – On the Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth of Bohemia
  • Kate Frank – Person, Crown, and Realm: The Political and National Importance of Elizabeth I’s Health
  • Sarah Toye – The Different Depictions of the Fallen Feminine Nature in ‘Eovaai’ and ‘Paradise Lost’
  • Meg Shields – The Dominion and Subjucation of Hobbes’ Female Sin in ‘Paradise Lost’
  • Scott Cooper – On Depiction and Laughing
  • Megan Norland – Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Transformative Power of Love
  • Kayleigh Shield – Giulio Romano

The New World, the Body and Conceptions of Space (Saturday, 1pm, Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Academic Building)—with the following speakers and their subjects:

  • Jake Clancey – Polygenesism, El Dorado, and Some Acres of Snow: Voltaire’s Depiction of the New World
  • Emma Skagen – Modern City, Modern Flesh the Bodily Experience in Eighteenth-Century England
  • Colleen Earle – A Survey of Beer and Sailing Misconceptions of the Use and Abuse of Alcohol on the High Seas in the 18th and 19th Century
  • Maggie O’Riordan – The Hungary Wars: 1663-1699
  • Claire Ahern – What is the attitude of Bartolomé de Las Casas to Antiquity and Ancient Sources?
  • Rach Klein – Representations of Pain: Examining the Relationship Between Anatomy and Art in Renaissance Pictorials
  • Bryn Shaffer – Shakespeare and the Astronomy of the American Revolution
  • Kate Jordan – Necromancy and Faustus

Seeking God and the Self (Saturday, 1pm, Frazee Room, 2nd Floor, King’s Academic Building)—with the following speakers and their subjects:

  • Erin Beaubien – Martin Luther’s Theology and his Revision of Musical Liturgy
  • Adrian Pecotic – Modal Logic in Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Jake Norris – Torn and Mended: Ontological ‘Splitting’ in Montaigne’s Essays
  • Ariel Wiener – El Greco’s Renderings of the Gospel of John in Light of Pseudo-Dionysius
  • Kate Weatherly – How does The Gates of Paradise make use of Scriptur ?
  • Frances Law – How does Kant’s Philosophy Form a Background to Novalis’ Hymns to the Night?
  • Sam Gleave – Words and the Self in Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus

Alumna Lecture (Saturday, 3:30pm, KTS Lecture Hall, Academic Building)—Georgia Carley will talk about “Sealing the Deal: Signs of Authority in British-Native American Treaty Making.”


While researching something else yesterday, I came upon this November 4, 1996 Chronicle Herald story by reporter Randy Jones:

Halloween hoax

It reads:

A Westphal boy who lied about finding a razor blade in a tiny chocolate bar was forced by his parents to go on television Sunday to apologize.

Wayne Cross, 12, claimed he found a razor inside a tiny Crunchie bar while rooting through his Halloween treats Friday morning, sparking a wave of news stories.

But over the weekend, his story unravelled when he refused a polygraph test after police became suspicious he put the razor blade inside the bar.

On Sunday, Wayne’s father said he found out when he returned from a hunting trip Saturday that his son’s story was a hoax. 

“I’m still upset. That’s why he’s at his aunt’s,” he said.

He said Wayne, who appeared on television last week explaining how he found the razor, didn’t really give him a clear explanation about why he pulled the hoax before he left for his aunt’s with his mother, Debbie.

“When I came back it was all out in the open with the RCMP officer. There was something about his story that just didn’t jibe,” said the father, adding that Wayne will be punished for his lie. 

Although his father provided a phone number where his son could be reached, Wayne’s aunt refused to let him come to the phone.

“Right now he’s a little confused about things,” she said. “I’ve got him up here with me to try to get him away from all of this.”

Wayne’s mother and father told him to go back on a TV news broadcast Sunday to apologize.

“Sorry… to everyone that helped me,” Wayne told ATV.

A Cole Harbour RCMP officer suggested the boy put the razor in the bar to remind parents that all Halloween candy should be checked.

RCMP said over the weekend no charges will be laid.

Some points:

1. “Randy Jones” is the best reporter name ever.

2. Kids lie. They’re basically little lie factories, and their throats are the assembly lines for producing lies. They especially lie about tampered Halloween candy. We shouldn’t take them seriously.

3. Twelve is too old to be trick-or-treating. Get a paper route already and buy your own damn candy.

4. “The boy put the razor in the bar to remind parents that all Halloween candy should be checked” is one hell of a pant load of cop crap. I see the Fear Everything culture was alive and well in 1996.

5. As I’ve pointed out before (see “It’s unlikely that Nova Scotian kids were given tampered Halloween candy,” behind the pay wall), reports of Halloween candy tampering almost exclusively come from small towns and suburbs like Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage, while the big evil cities seem immune to them. That fact alone ought to arouse our skepticism.

6. The cops said they’d issue a report about their investigation into last Halloween’s multiple reports of candy tampering in Nova Scotia, which remarkably coincided geographically with the area served by CTV and CBC NS TV, but they haven’t. I’ll give them a call today.

7. Did I mention that kids lie?

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8am Friday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8am Friday. Map:

I haven’t yet received information on ships today. I’ll update when I do.


Beside my little foray into 1990s nostalgia yesterday, I mostly worked on a story about the Washmill underpass. It’s coming, I promise.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. If you are covering the day-lighting project recommended by some – the Sawmill River – please talk to one of the people at the Fairbanks Centre who have some interesting information about the consequences of some of the proposals. There are some canal restoration projects that they have been working on for many years that may be impacted by aspects of the day-lighting proposals.
    Steve Hart

  2. Lezlie Lowe makes some good points about not perpetuating stereotypes and myths when discussing sexual assault, but in the process perpetuates the myth that that sexual assault is only a problem for women. With one exception, all the examples and language refer to male rapists and female survivors. For example, “It makes survivors reluctant to speak out. That’s a problem when there are already barriers to women reporting these crimes.” Why not “people reporting these crimes?” There are barriers for men reporting as well (and even higher barriers when the person reporting is genderqueer). Lowe also relies on groups exclusively dedicated to women’s issues to provide authority and statistics. If you are going to strive for objectivity, you need to check your sources as well as your language.

  3. Really disappointed in Younger. We have the finance minister touring the province trying to figure out how to get more tax money out of us without having voters lose their nut at the same time we have Younger touring the world for no good reason. Disgusting.

  4. “The boy put the razor in the bar to remind parents that all Halloween candy should be checked” perhaps it was more of a tongue in cheek suggestion … I especially love the parents having the boy be accountable for his actions. That probably served as a powerful life lesson for the young fellow. Thank you Tim for helping to keep the “police” accountable for their actions by following up on their “promises”. I wonder if we all, as a community, held ourselves more accountable for our actions if we wouldn’t see less violence against each other.

  5. Mark this day on your calendar: for once I side with Younger. He says the Premier’s office not only approved of these trips but in some cases asked him to go on them. I trust Younger will provide us with the evidence to exonerate himself; give him a call Tim, he might provide it to you since every other media outlet in the city is busy losing its mind over the snow we got last night.

    McNeil’s Colonel Klink routine just makes one ask more questions. Assuming he’s being honest when he says he had no idea, who in the Premier’s office approved these expenses and didn’t tell the Premier, and why? Are there other things has the Premier been kept in the dark about?

  6. How come the Yonger story isn’t more of a story – especially given the MLA expenses scandal and that fact that the provincial media was whipped into a near panic over how many paper clips MLAs spent money on in their constituency offices.

    As someone who lived through the ridiculous circus of Winter 2010 from the inside I can honestly say I don’t get why all of a sudden answer such as “I didn’t know he was travelling so much and I’m going to look into it” from the Premier of all people is a bloody legitimate answer.

    Is it because he’s a Liberal? Is it because they think he’s actually completely clueless and are giving the poor man the benefit of the doubt? I firmly believe if this was Darrell Dexter the CBC would be running 24/7 scrolls on Newsworld about it… and the The Chronicle Herald would be issuing bonuses to all its employees in pure joy!

    How comes there is such an obvious bias here? Or am I just crazy? (which I am completely willing to accept).

    1. I tuned in to 95.7 this morning to hear how they’d cover it. They didn’t. They began their newscasts with their breaking news “panic sounder” sound effect before going into that it snowed, how much snow fell, where the snow fell, that other people experienced snow, people’s opinions on the snow, then broke in with some late breaking news that yes it did indeed snow.

  7. Last year I complained (on Twitter) to Ottawa Citizen editor Andrew Potter about their Pink Cherry piece, and his reply was, “Do you really want to be that guy?”

    Yeah, I guess I do.