In November, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists began reporting on a trove of leaked documents it called the Paradise Papers:

The Paradise Papers documents include nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from nearly 50 years at Appleby, a leading offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond.

The documents also include files from a smaller, family-owned trust company, Asiaciti, and from company registries in 19 secrecy jurisdictions. The records range from complex, 100-page corporate transaction sheets and dollar-by-dollar payment ledgers to simple corporate registries of countries, such as Antigua & Barbuda, that do not publicly list names of company shareholders or directors.

Those documents became the foundation for a series of articles published by the ICIJ’s 95 media members, including the Toronto Star and the CBC in Canada. So far, that reporting has concentrated mostly on political figures named in the Paradise Papers — notably, Liberal fundraisers and Trudeau confidants Stephen Bronfman and retired senator Leo Kolber, who parked $60 million in a Cayman Islands trust, and former Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Brian Mulroney. The CBC followed with an article showing how large Canadian firms, including Maple Leaf Foods and Loblaw, have been using offshore accounts.

There have been a few articles about Nova Scotian connections to the Paradise Papers. The Star reported on an aborted attempt to turn Halifax into “a little tax haven“:

The idea was simple: the companies would be registered in Bermuda but the people processing the paperwork would be in Halifax.

Appleby, the leading offshore law firm in the Paradise Papers leak, explored this vision for outsourcing its back office administrative functions in 2007.

I explored the background of that attempt here.

Additionally, the NDP sent out a press release saying that PC MLA and leadership candidate Tim Houston was named in the Paradise Papers, and there was a bit of reporting on that. More on that below.

But there’s been no other published report on all the other Nova Scotians named in the Paradise Papers.

Until now.

First, understand that (obviously) the Halifax Examiner is not a media partner in the ICIJ. I have no access to the underlying documents that the consortium members have used in their reporting. The names that follow come from the ICIJ’s published database of names, but that database does not include any further documentation. As the ICIJ explains:

While the database contains otherwise unavailable information on offshore companies and their shareholders and officers, it does not necessarily include details on financial deals or all the significant personalities featured in Paradise Papers reporting. In many cases, the type of detailed information included in ICIJ and its partners stories was found buried in letters, emails, board meetings summaries, company reports, audits, financial statements, internal notes of Appleby employees. This unstructured data cannot easily be extracted in a systematic manner.

Secondly, merely being included in the database does not mean that the named person or company has done anything improper, immoral, or illegal. Again, the ICIJ explains:

ICIJ is publishing the information in the public interest. While many of the activities carried out through offshore entities are perfectly legal, extensive reporting by ICIJ and its media partners for more than five years has shown that the anonymity granted by the offshore economy facilitates money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and other crimes. Even when it’s legal, transparency advocates argue that the use of an alternative, parallel economy undermines democracy because it benefits a few at the expense of the majority.

In order to get a better handle on the issues at play in the Paradise Papers and with offshore tax shelters more generally, I called Geoff Loomer, who teaches tax law at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.

“Just being a Bermuda-registered company doesn’t mean they’re avoiding taxes,” Loomer told me. “Corporate activity is hard to comment on; there are just too many unknowns. But when I see individuals setting up offshore trusts for themselves, I think they’re probably really close to the line of being tax avoidance schemes.”

Loomers said there are many legitimate uses of offshore holding companies and that in some businesses — he specifically mentioned international mining — it may be impossible to not use them. Such holding companies are required for cash transfers between complex divisions of the same company, he said.

But for Loomers, the issue isn’t so much one of legality as it is of “equity.”

“The average person wants to know that we have a fair tax system,” he said. “The CRA is challenging my childcare expenses… but what about the millionaire using an offshore trust?”

For that reason, Loomers is glad the ICIJ has published the database.

“It’s about tax redistribution. Yes, this is accepted — we don’t even think it’s a big deal [that companies are using offshore trusts]. It’s standard corporate practice, but maybe the fact that people are so blasé about it is a problem. It is a big deal.

“We do have rules that prevent firms from sucking out their income to a subsidiary; that is taxable income in Canada. People need to know these Canadian companies are using offshore trusts — we don’t know for what purpose, but it’s good to know they exist if for no other reason it encourages the CRA to enforce the law.”

What follows are Nova Scotians who either appear in the ICIJ database for the Paradise Papers or are connected to firms that are in the database. It is probably not an exhaustive list of even Nova Scotians connected to the Paradise Papers — some Nova Scotian names, such as Houston’s, appear in the database with non-Nova Scotian addresses; there are likely more. And, as there are many dozens of other law firms besides Appleby facilitating the establishment of offshore trusts, the Paradise Paper database shows only a sliver of the total picture, so there are undoubtedly many more Nova Scotians using offshore trusts.

Nik Rowlston

Nik Rowlston

Rowlston is a director and chief financial officer for both the G X Group AM Ltd. and G X Group Finance Ltd., each of which were registered in 2013 in Bermuda through Appleby.

Rowlston is additionally the Managing Director of Conifer Financial Services. He is also a part-time prof at SMU.

Back in 2012, Rowlston spoke about the “Top Five Finance Tips for Start-Ups” at The Hub, which introduced Rowlston as follows:

Nik has been in the financial industry for over 15 years and has worked for major companies such as Arthur Andersen, Deloitte and Butterfield Bank in Bermuda before moving up to Halifax and starting Intelligii Consulting Ltd.

He is a specialist in risk management, regulatory compliance and training. As well as starting Intelligii, Nik has launched a charitable foundation and has acted as treasurer for a number of community organizations.

The charitable foundation is apparently the Kudos Foundation, whose registered address is Rowlston’s house in Hammonds Plains. According to its website, Kudos merely aggregates donations from other people for tax purposes:

We take all donations made to our charity and aggregate them for the charities in which they are intended. We then make one donation to the charity from Kudos Foundation. We send you one tax receipt for the year that covers all the charities you have donated to. Makes it simple at tax time! It also saves an enormous amount of administration for the recipient charities as we send them one payment from many people. They send us one tax receipt.

While that may serve some useful purpose, according to the CHIMP charity tracker, Kudos has distributed just $697 to charities in 2017, out of $740 received; the $43 reflects a 13 per cent administrative charge.

Rowlston has not responded to an email asking for comment.

Kevin Burgher

Kevin Burgher

Burgher is a shareholder of CL Acquisition Holdings Limited, which was registered in the Cayman Islands in 2012.

Burgher is an engineer who specializes in the cleanup of oil spills. He is a VP at EFI Global Canada.

The SportsDirect orbit: Paul Lavers, Joe MacDonald, and Michele Gordon

Borderline Cool Holding Ltd., which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, has three shareholders: Joseph Sears MacDonald, SportsDirect, and the numbered company 7266782 CANADA INC..

According to the ICIJ database, 7266782 CANADA INC. is registered at Waterside Terrace (misspelled as “Terrence”) in Dartmouth.  That numbered company is listed at the same (correctly spelled) Waterside Terrace address by the federal government.

Debbie Lavers owns the Waterside Terrace house. Paul and Debbie Lavers were both directors of another numbered company — 3245329 Nova Scotia Limited —  that was registered at the same Waterside Terrace address.

Paul Lavers

Paul Lavers and Joe MacDonald started in 1995 “as a online information platform for sports bettors.” In 2004, Lavers went on to start SportsDirect, the Bayers Lake firm that provides sports statistics across various platforms. Both and SportsDirect were acquired in 2015 by the American firm Gracenote. SportsDirect is listed in the ICIJ database through 2014.

One huge revenue stream for SportsDirect and was online American bettors looking for sports statistics.

Lavers readily agreed to speak with me about the Paradise Papers, and about his name showing up in them. He’s a gregarious, upbeat man, and didn’t avoid any of my questions.

“I have no money offshore,” he told me over the phone. “I paid all my taxes, all in Canada.”

Lavers said he and Joe MacDonald split the companies in 2009, with going to MacDonald and SportsDirect going to Lavers.

MacDonald up and moved himself, his family, and his business to Barbados — his holding company is called Better Weather Holdings Ltd. “He hated the weather here,” Lavers told me.

Lavers stayed in Nova Scotia with SportsDirect.

Joe MacDonald

MacDonald set up in Barbados through Borderline, and his name is additionally connected with three other companies listed in the ICIJ database. He is the CEO and shareholder of FlaMac01 Holdings Ltd; a director and shareholder of Mango Media Holdings Ltd; and the CEO and shareholder of DesertMountain877 Holdings Ltd.

Lavers says Borderline was established to facilitate MacDonald’s move, and his connection to it is incidental. Lavers reiterated that he has no money offshore, and doesn’t use offshore accounts for tax avoidance purposes.

In fact, he’s critical of those who do. “There are legitimate reasons to set up offshore companies, and if you’re doing business internationally you almost have to,” he says. “Even just for cash transfers.”

But, he continues, “if you’re using offshore accounts to avoid taxes, that’s plain wrong.”

Lavers goes so far as to criticize the tax bill just passed by the U.S. Senate. “There should be a strong tax base,” he said. “What they’re doing in the States is criminal.” He tweeted his philosophy:

“I never mind paying taxes,” said Lavers. He believes inequality is the defining economic issue of our day, and describes himself as broadly liberal.

As for the tax changes proposed by the Trudeau government, Lavers said he was mostly supportive, although he fears the changes will be implemented too quickly and he disagrees with changing the estate tax.

Both, SportsDirect, and a third unrelated company with different ownership were acquired in 2015 by the American firm Gracenote, for a  combined total of $54 million. Lavers didn’t disagree when I said he likely made tens of millions of dollars in cash profit from the sale.

That sale, however, came with considerable controversy in the sports betting world.

Joe MacDonald and Paul Lavers.

“[P]erhaps now is a good time to remind everyone of’s role in the collapse of online sportsbook betED,” reported Peter Amsel:

betED was one of a number of online sports betting firms indicted on May 23, 2011, a date that became known as Blue Monday (following the Black Friday action against the three major US-facing online poker companies). Unlike the other indicted sites, most of which were back up and running on alternate domains within days or even hours of the Department of Justice’s action, betED was never heard from again and its customers lost their entire account balances.

Prior to Blue Monday, betED was the top-rated online sportsbook at, which reportedly provided 95% of betED’s business. Following the indictments, Covers claimed to be in regular communication with betED’s ownership and further claimed to be attempting to negotiate a transfer of betED’s player database to another online sportsbook, although nothing ever came of these alleged negotiations.

There were plenty of rumblings at the time that questioned betED’s stated excuse for closing — the DOJ had seized its bank accounts — arguing that the actual amount of funds seized was insignificant and that betED’s owners were simply looking for an excuse to shut down and keep the player balances as a consolation prize.

As for the identify of betED’s owners, sources told that Covers/SportsDirect founders Paul Lavers and Joe MacDonald (pictured) were the company’s beneficial owners via a lucrative revenue-sharing deal (estimated at 70%). Macdonald gave an interview to, calling the ownership allegations “total bullshit” [see that interview here] but betED’s Costa Rica-based employees — who were stiffed out of severance by the site’s closure — claimed Lavers had been calling the shots at betEd.

Lavers told me there is no truth to the allegations, and that Calvin Ayre had a problem with SportsDirect competing with his businesses, and tried to impugn Lavers’ and MacDonald’s reputations. Lavers denied ever having an ownership or controlling stake in betED.

Indeed, David Parchomchuk of betED was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice and in 2012 pleaded guilty, at which time he issued a statement:

I would like to thank all those who provided support during this extremely difficult process. And for the thousands of customers and other employees affected by the closure of the site, I hope that restitution will be made for the balances that remain unpaid. I’ve provided any and all information I have in regards to the location of missing funds to the DOJ and hope that information is used for the benefit of those affected.

There is no evidence that SportsDirect was responsible for the missing funds, and SportsDirect was not investigated, said Lavers.

Michele Gordon

Michele Gordon is listed as a director with the numbered company. She is also a director and the Vice President of Finance at SportsDirect.

Just as SportsDirect and its directors were using a Bermuda firm, they were also making use of Canadian and Nova Scotian government funds, through the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the provincial Nova Scotia Business, Inc.

In 2005, SportsDirect received a $60,000 grant — a “Non-Repayable Contribution” from ACOA — for employee training. And in 2013, SportsDirect obtained a no-interest ACOA loan of $150,000 for “Infrastructure platform improvement.”

In April 2006, SportsDirect became eligible for $1.59 million in payroll rebates through NSBI in order to expand its workforce by 165 positions, to a total of 300. However, according to NSBI spokesperson Marly Somers, SportsDirect made no claims towards the rebate, and it has since expired. But SportsDirect was awarded $4,700 in 2015 through a separate NSBI program called the Export Growth Program.

Additionally, from 2012 through 2017, SportsDirect was paid about $121,000 through the Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI) program at the Department of Labour and Advanced Education for “workplace education” and “hiring recent graduates and co-op students through our youth programs,” according to department spokesperson Lisa Jarrett.

Gregory Powell Isenor

Gregory Powell Isenor. Photo: YouTube

Isenor is a director of Crystal River Resources Limited, which has been registered since 2006 on the Isle of Man.

According to, Isenor is a “Geologist & Owner at G. P. Isenor Co. Ltd., a Member at Association of Professional Geologists and Vice President at Prince Edward Gas, Inc.”

He is on the Board of Directors at Roscan Minerals Corp., Atlantic Industrial Minerals, Inc., Frontline Gold Corp. and Glencoe Resources Ltd. Mr. Isenor was previously employed as an Independent Director by Elcora Advanced Materials Corp., an Independent Director by Riverstone Resources, Inc., President, CEO, Director & Head-Investor Relations by Merrex Gold, Inc., President, Chief Executive Officer & Director by Jilbey Gold Exploration Ltd., and President & Chief Executive Officer by Chrysos Capital Corp.

He also served on the board at Chamber of Mineral Resources of Nova Scotia and Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.

He received his undergraduate degree from Acadia University.

Isenor is also listed as the VP, Exploration and a director at Frontline Gold.

Angus Gordon MacIsaac & Gerald James McConnell

Angus Gordon MacIsaac, who uses a Halifax address, is a director of three Bermuda-registered companies in the ICIJ database: NovaGold Resources (Bermuda) Limited, NovaGold (Bermuda) Alaska Limited, and Basilica International Marketing Ltd. He is also Vice-President of Bermuda-registered BF Resources Limited.

I have no further information on MacIsaac. Note: Angus Gordon MacIsaac is not Angus “Tando” MacIsaac, the former PC MLA and cabinet minister.

Gerald McConnell. Photo: YouTube

Gerald James McConnell, of Wolfville, is connected to several of the same corporations Angus Gordon MacIsaac is connected to. McConnell is the president and a director of BF Resources Limited, a director of NovaGold (Bermuda) Alaska Limited, and a director of NovaGold Resources (Bermuda) Limited. McConnell is additionally the president and a director of both Chapel International Marketing Limited and African GeoMin Mining Development Corporation, each of which is registered in the Cayman Islands.

Earlier this year, McConnell acquired a 44.6 per cent ownership stake in Namibia Rare Earths, a “Junior Mining Company” with offices in the Sun Tower on the Bedford Highway. According to its website, Namibia Rare Earths owns rights to the Lofdal Rare Earth Project in Namibia.

Janice Stairs, the general counsel for Namibia Rare Earths, is the chair of the board of directors for Nova Scotia Business, Inc.

McConnell, a lawyer, is a former director of the Halifax Port Authority.

McConnell was also the founder of the Benjamin Bridge Winery, which provides a short biography of McConnell on its website:

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Gerry was called to the Bar of Nova Scotia in 1971. He was an associate and partner with the law firm Patterson Palmer from 1971 to 1987, and received his Queen’s Counsel designation in 1986.

In the 1980s, Gerry’s career evolved into mining. In the 1990s his firm’s interests took him to Africa. During his time there, Gerry was so struck by the beauty of the land and the spirit of the people that he (along with Dr. John Savage, the former premier of Nova Scotia) invested in social programs to improve schools, infrastructure, and medical programs in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa.

In 2003, Gerry received the Paul Harris Award from Rotary International in recognition of his company’s humanitarian contributions to health and education initiatives in Africa.

Gerry is director and CEO of Namibia Rare Earths Inc., a public Canadian company focused on development of rare earth opportunities in Namibia.

Lynn Gordon Mason

Vice-Admiral Lynn Gordon Mason

Retired Vice-Admiral Lynn Gordon Mason is a director of CBS Insurance Company Limited, which was incorporated in Bermuda in 1998.

Vice-Admiral Mason is Halifax councillor Waye Mason’s father. The Vice-Admiral’s mailing address for his directorship in CBS Insurance is the south end Halifax house that the father and son own with their spouses.

CBS Insurance is a wing of the Canadian Blood Service, for self-insurance purposes.

Other directors of CBS Insurance included Nelson Bascome, the former Minister of Health in Bermuda who was forced to resign the ministry after he was  charged with theft and corruption; and Lynda Cranston, the CEO of British Columbia’s Provincial Health Services Authority, who was forced to resign after she approved 118 wage increases for managers and executives of the authority that contravened government policy.

But there’s no indication that any of the directors of CBS Insurance shielded their own taxes or profited personally via the Bermuda arrangement; no doubt, the directorships of Vice-Admiral Mason and the others were simply public service.

Yet, according to its website, “the provincial and territorial ministers of health provide the majority of the funding for Canadian Blood Services’ operations and act as the organization’s corporate members. The ministers appoint the organization’s board of directors, approve Canadian Blood Services’ annual budget and receive its three-year corporate plan.”

Is it odd that a non-profit agency that is in essence the creation of provincial governments works to avoid making tax payments to those same provincial governments?

Probably not, says Loomers, the tax law prof. “The entire global reinsurance industry is based in Bermuda; I doubt they could operate anywhere else.”

I asked the Canadian Blood Services for comment, and received this statement:

Canadian Blood Services has been completely transparent about the creation, governance structure and domicile of its insurance subsidiary, CBSI. The existing insurance subsidiary structure was established based on the advice of experts, and in response to the type of business we operate, which is perceived by many as “high risk.” The insurance products needed by Canadian Blood Services were not available domestically, and most insurers weren’t prepared to provide coverage to a “high risk” operation such as a blood operator.

Bermuda is a legitimate offshore financial centre operating under stringent regulatory guidelines that conform with international transparency and tax cooperation guidelines. While the naming of CBSI through the Paradise Papers is unfortunate, there is no wrongdoing on the part of Canadian Blood Services or CBSI. It should be noted that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ database states that “there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts” and as such, inclusion in the database cannot be equated to unethical activity.

It should also be noted that CBSI operates within a highly regulated, high-integrity environment. It was set up and operates with the full agreement, accountability and reporting to the Canadian Blood Services corporate members (who are the provincial and territorial ministers of health). While CBSI is governed by a separate board of directors, the Canadian Blood Services board of directors is responsible for the overall oversight of CBSI operations. The associated financials are fully disclosed in the Canadian Blood Services annual report.

Cliff Dahms, Eugene Mio, and Renato Corra

Cliff Dahms

Dahms is a shareholder of and signatory for MC2 Holdings, which is registered in Bermuda but has a business address in Cliff Dahms’ Stillwater Lake home.

Additionally, Dahms is the president of a numbered company — 3085010 Nova Scotia Limited — that likewise uses Dahms’ house for its address. The numbered company is a shareholder of MC2; besides Dahms, two other people on this list — Eugene Mio and Renato Corra — are directors of the numbered company.

Dahms describes himself as an “Experienced Entrepreneur looking to help and advise others.” Formerly a board member of the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association and the management cochair of the Nova Scotia Labour Force Development Board, he is now the President and Director of CCD Holdings Limited.

Eugene Mio is apparently a photographer who lives on Wellington Street in Halifax; he’s co-owner of a 50-acre parcel in Smith Brook and was the president of Dartmouth-based Maritime Form Work Limited until that company closed in 2007. Renato Corra lives in French Glen. I know nothing else about either.

Cerro Grande Mining Corporation

The Cerro Grande Mining Corporation conducts business in Chile but is registered through the Stewart McKelvey law firm in Halifax. I don’t know why the company appears in the ICIJ database.

Janet Calder & Mount Allison University

Janet Calder was living in a nursing home in Windsor that no longer exists. If she’s still alive, I can find no record of her. She was a beneficiary of something called the Alice I. Campbell Settlement, which according to the database was established on January 28, 1969 by Alice Isobel Campbell, who resided in London, England.

I suspect “Isobel” is a mispelling of Isabel. Alice Isabel Campbell was a nurse with the Red Cross during World War 2, who was awarded the 1946 New Year Honours (a British Empire medal) for her service. I have no idea why the Settlement trust was created, who Janet Calder is or was, or what the relationship between the two is.

There are also several Americans named as beneficiaries of the trust, and they all appear to be dead as well.

Another interesting Maritime connection to the trust is Mount Allison University. As explained by Mirelle Naud, reporting for the student newspaper, The Argosy:

Mt. A is listed as a beneficiary of two entities in the Cayman Islands, the Alice I. Campbell Settlement and the James G. Campbell Trust. Both entities appear to be trusts and were settled by individuals of the same names almost 50 years ago in 1969.


Robert Inglis, Mt. A’s vice-president of finance and administration, reported that the University has no record of having received money from either of the trusts.

“This is the first that we have ever heard of these two entities,” Inglis said. “In addition, the University, as far as I know, has never had any dealing with the firm Appleby, which is the firm from which all the records came.”

Trustees are obligated to notify beneficiaries if they will be receiving income from a trust. Since Mt. A has not heard from Appleby, it is possible that no assets have been placed in the trusts or that the terms of the trust have not yet begun. Why the trust was registered in the Cayman Islands is unclear.

Tim Houston

Tim Houston

PC Leadership candidate Tim Houston shows up in the ICIJ database as a signatory for and director of various divisions of the Inter-Ocean reinsurance company.

According to the database, Houston’s connections with the companies all lasted for a few months in 2007, and not since. Andea Gunn, reporting for the Chronicle Herald, wrote:

In an emailed statement, Houston said his listing among the Paradise Papers files has nothing to do with Canadian taxes or personal taxes but is related to his time living and working in Bermuda, which he said was a great opportunity for him to work in international business.

“One of the non-Canadian reinsurance companies I worked for at the time owned several other companies. These are companies that operated in the international reinsurance market. Given my time in Bermuda, working in this market at a time in my career when I was taking on increasing responsibility, I was listed as having held senior positions in certain companies. These responsibilities have been identified in one of the 13.4 million records pulled,” Houston said.

Houston said taxes are a fundamental part of how our society functions, and he believes companies and business owners need to play by the rules and pay their taxes like everyone else.

John Kearns

John Kearns

Cape Bretoner John Kearns is listed in the ICIJ database as a shareholder, a director, and the chairman of Tephrosan Limited, which was registered in Bermuda for two months in 2006. The company was struck off Bermuda’s registry of companies the same year.

In 2015, Kearns pitched a garbage disposal system he invented to the Six Nations community in Ontario, reported Alan Jones for Vice:

Wearing a paddy cap and speaking with a charming Scottish brogue, John Kearns, 77, promised the southern Ontario First Nations community “a new and very unique technology,” a waste disposal unit with zero (zero!) emissions. Kearns told them that his machine, which he called “The Disintegrator,” would be easier to maintain and more cost efficient than a run-of-the-mill incinerator. Though he doesn’t exactly cut the figure of an slick, Silicon Valley-type innovator, Kearns is no stranger to a powerful sales pitch. His “Disintegrator,” having never been sold or tested in a practical environment, was a risk for Six Nations, but according to Kearns they were on the frontier of environmentally friendly waste-disposal technology, “[t]he world is full of people prepared to be second. It has taken us quite a bit to find someone to be first.”

But a few weeks after firing up the device for the first time, community members noticed black smoke and the smell of burning plastic coming from the site. After they protested, the machine was shut down until an independent environmental assessment could be completed. When independent consultants looked at The Disintegrator, they discovered it was emitting 200 times the Ontario provincial limits of some toxins. Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) held a meeting to consult with community about their options last week, but Kearns was nowhere to be found and unavailable to answer questions, nor has he responded to VICE’s multiple interview requests by phone or by email. Six Nations put $805,000 into the project, but the inventor is nowhere in sight.

Kearns showed up a month later, in April, to tell the CBC that the environmental monitoring of his invention “wasn’t a real test,” and that he didn’t show for a Six Nations meeting because he feared for his safety:

Kearns says he was told not to attend by the band as they could not assure his safety after he was confronted last June at Six Nations.

“We had been threatened with rifles on our chest,” he says. “One has to be careful, you know.”

The next day Kearns additionally told the Chronicle Herald that he intended to soldier on:

Last year, the company had 28 employees working on the machine at its plant in North Sydney, said Kearns.

The plant is idle now, but with four clients signed up, manufacturing will begin shortly and by the end of summer, three shifts of 117 workers will be assembling disintegrators, he said, with parts subcontracted to a manufacturer in SydPort Industrial Park.

“We have a client and they will require dozens, literally dozens” of the machines, said the 77-year-old resident of Boularderie, Cape Breton County.

“We have one client who will give us enough work to keep us going for several years.”

Alas, just six months later, in October, Kearns International was stuck off Nova Scotia’s Registry of Joint Stock Companies for failure to pay, never to be resurrected.

(Someone, ahem, should track of the failure rate of companies plugged by the Chronicle Herald.)


There isn’t enough information available through the ICIJ database to say if anyone on the above list has acted improperly or is avoiding taxes that should have been paid in Canada, and there’s no evidence that they are.

I put a lot of time into researching these names, and the results feel a bit underwhelming.

My instincts tell me, however, that the story isn’t so much one of criminal wrongdoing but rather a simple look at how the world of international commerce and the wealthy works.

There should be much more research done into how capital and profits flow in and out of Nova Scotia, and how that affects our provincial wealth and the taxes paid.

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

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. Attaboy Tim! This is the kind of thing investigative journalism should do.

    Following from all these probably legal activities that the CRA has now been forced to consider is the obvious question: why do countries like Canada allow people to offshore large sums of money like this? It seems an option only for the rich and influential, and while our laws may include loopholes that allow it, it sure has the appearance of corruption.

    Is this the kind of return one gets for attending big bucks Cash-for-access events?

  2. “Isobel” is a variant spelling that used to be much more common, especially in the UK, I believe. Probably not a misspelling in the document.

  3. After the tainted blood scandal, it’s probably true that CBSI is classed as high risk and unable to find appropriate coverage from a domestic company.