The Vive La Vie at Funchal-Madeira Credit: LinkedIn / Paulo Farinha

June fundraising drive

Yesterday, The Athletic made deep cuts and laid off 20 reporters. The Athletic is a subscription-based sports website owned by The New York Times. It’s a sort of The New Yorker for sports — focusing on deep-dive long-form journalism and investigations. I subscribe to The New York Times but not the all-access subscription that would allow me access to The Athletic because I’m not much of a sports fan, but the reporting I’ve seen has been very good.

The Athletic’s cuts come soon after the collapse of BuzzFeed News, and, of course, the decimation of the entire news industry over the past few years.

Which is to say, these are difficult times in the news biz.

I worry a lot about keeping this operation going. Halifax Examiner employees have rent to pay, babies to feed, car payments. They’re my very first concern. It’s never easy, and I’ll be honest: sometimes the money gets super tight. Sometimes fretting over finances keeps me up at night. But so far, thankfully, the Examiner soldiers on.

That’s because readers value the Halifax Examiner’s reporting, and they value it with their money, by buying a subscription. It’s readers who keep this operation going, who make the reporting possible, and who keep those babies fed and rents and car payments going.

If you haven’t already, please join those who support us. We need your subscription — you can subscribe here. Thank you.


1. Digital literacy

Two smiling women
Susan Doucette (left) and Veronica McNeil, the executive director of the Dartmouth Learning Network. Credit: Jennifer Henderson

Reports Jennifer Henderson:

Need a blood test?  An appointment at a mobile clinic because you don’t have a doctor? How about trying to book an online visit with a nurse practitioner through VirtualCare NS?  

Going online to access to these medical services can be an efficient way to take care of your health needs. But it can also test the patience of people who have never used computers at work or at home. 

Two weeks ago, it nearly brought Susan Doucette to tears.  

“I could have cried when I started to read the information about how to register for a virtual appointment with a doctor,” Doucette said. “I was tempted to go to Dr. Google first! But I know actual doctors don’t like that.”

Fortunately, Doucette walked through the online registration process with the help of an instructor at the Dartmouth Learning Network, where she’s currently in a class working on their digital literacy skills. The instructor guided her through the prompts and instructions to register with VirtualCare NS. 

The Dartmouth Learning Network is a non-profit agency that helps about 120 adults a year upgrade math, reading, and computer skills. It also helps adults who work full-time but need to upgrade their computer knowledge in order to be considered for a promotion. 

Doucette gave examples of the digital roadblocks she had faced. “The computer said, ‘upload your MSI card.’ I said, ‘What’s an upload?’ How do I take a photo with the computer? It seems there are always gaps in the step-by-step instructions. And I feel this reliance on the internet is developing a hierarchy of who can access medical care. That disturbs me a great deal.” 

Click here to read “Health care services are increasingly online, but not everyone knows how to use a computer.”

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2. Little Crescent Beach

construction equipment on a beach
Construction at Little Crescent Beach. Credit: Peter Barss, via Rick Conrad / Twitter

“New Cumberland, N.S., resident Karen Reinhardt has been busy trying to get as much information as she can about the private development at Little Crescent Beach,” reports Heidi Petracek for CTV:

She and other residents have banded together to oppose the construction of several cottages here – along with the imposing rock wall that comes with it. 

The province’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables confirms six metres of the wall was recently removed by developer Hussein Mousavi, after a land survey determined it encroached on the adjacent Crown land.

But Reinhardt says the damage to the sand dune was already done.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Climate Change has also confirmed Mousavi was directed to fix infilling of the saltwater marsh that occurring in the spring.

Petracek gets into a lot of detail about the development and the problems neighbours have with it, but on first read, this seems like yet another instance of a development moving forward that would not be allowed under the Coastal Protection Act. The act was passed by the legislature in 2019, but the Houston government has yet to create the regulations that would require new construction to be set farther back from the coast. Over the intervening years, dozens, perhaps hundreds, of shoreline developments have moved forward.

two pickup trucks and an excavator at a construction site
Construction has begun on a small parcel of land at Eagle Head Beach owned by former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet / Halifax Examiner

Another example of the failures resulting from delay in implementing the Coastal Protection Act is Peter Kelly’s house at Eagle Head Beach, which I wrote about here.

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3. Icarus meets bald eagle

A bald eagle
Credit: Andy Morffew, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On May 25, reports Transport Canada, “At Halifax/Stanfield, NS (CYHZ), the departure of a WestJet Boeing 737 MAX 8 (WJA391) from Halifax/Stanfield, NS (CYHZ) to Edmonton, AB (CYEG) was delayed approximately 3 minutes due to a bald eagle on Runway 05.”

I’ve seen reports of all sorts of critters delaying operations at the airport — coyotes, mostly, but also deer, skunks, and dogs. This is the first bald eagle, though. Pretty cool.

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4. A crime against humanity is visiting Halifax

The Vive La Vie at Funchal-Madeira Credit: LinkedIn / Paulo Farinha

The superyacht Vive La Vie, owned by Swiss billionaire Willy Michel, docked at the Foundation Wharf this morning.

The boat can carry 12 guests and a crew of 18, according to Superyacht Fan, and has “a crocodile leather dining table can be raised into the ceiling to allow the room to be used as a disco.”

Michel is the founder of Ypsomed Selfcare Solutions, a pharmaceutical company that develops self-injection and diagnostic systems. He lives in a castle. I don’t know if he’s on the boat today, but if you see some dude being limoed around downtown with a some bodyguards, that’s probably him.

The very existence of billionaires is a crime against humanity, as they personify an economic system based on extreme inequality — the Vive La Vie was built at a cost of $80 million, enough to house all of Halifax’s homeless for a decade.

But I’m happy that Willy Michel is in town because while googling around about him, I stumbled upon the aggregator website Idol Networth, which confuses Willy Michel with Willy Mitchell, whom I had never heard of before. Willy Mitchell can serve as a sort of cleanser in this story. As the Guardian writes:

One snowy night in January 1969, the singer Willy Mitchell was shot in the head in Maniwaki, Quebec, because of Christmas decorations. Mitchell was a 15-year-old Canadian schoolboy of Algonquin and Mohawk heritage, living on the Kitigan Zibi reserve, who had recently formed a rock band called Northern Lights. “We were loud,” he says, laughing. “If we’d stuck together we’d have been the next Nirvana!” That night, he was flyposting to promote their first gig when he bumped into some friends who had stolen some Christmas lights from a neighbour’s tree. They handed him the lights just as a police car pulled up and an armed officer stepped out. Mitchell was running for cover when the bullet struck him. “It was kids stealing lightbulbs, not a bank job,” he says, the old anger bubbling up. “I was running away and he shot me in the back.”

While recovering in hospital, Mitchell wrote a song about his experience, Big Police Man. He later won a feeble settlement of $3,000 – just $500 after legal fees and travel costs. He spent it on a white Fender Telecaster Thinline, just like the one Johnny Cash’s guitarist played, which he still uses today.

Here’s Willy Mitchell playing Big Police Man:

YouTube video

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What do you do if you’re in a wildfire

A collage of scenes from the Spryfield fire.

Yesterday, in the comment section, David Patriquin wrote:

As well as precautions to take to avoid setting fires, Nova Scotians who enjoy our wild areas should have some idea of what to do if a fire starts in the vicinity. The fires can can move very quickly.. what’s the best strategy not to get caught up in a forest fire? Or to survive if you are. I was concerned enough about the very dry state of the now well traversed Halifax (Purcell;s Cove) Backlands to make a post about it on April 21.

Here’s the post to which he refers.

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Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, online) — agenda


Board of Police Commissioners (Wednesday, 4:30pm, HEMDCC Meeting space, Alderney Gate, and online) — agenda



No meetings


Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, One Government Place and online) — 2023 Report of the Auditor General – Follow-up of 2018, 2019 and 2020 Performance Audit Recommendations RE: Chapter 2, May 2019 Report of the Auditor General – Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal: Selection and Quality Management of Bridge Projects in Central and Western Districts and July 28, 2020 Report of the Auditor General – Government-wide: Contaminated Sites; with representatives from the Department of Public Works, and Build Nova Scotia

On campus



Chemistry of tricyclic 1,4-diphosphinines and bis(N-heterocyclic carbenes) (Wednesday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Rainer Streubel from the University of Bonn will talk

Facing uncomfortable truths in academic scientific research in Canada (Wednesday, 5pm, Potter Auditorium, Rowe Building) —Imogen Coe from Toronto Metropolitan University will give the plenary address for the 2023 Canadian Biomaterials Society Meeting, and chair a panel discussion on EDIA in research, particularly in science and medicine. She will speak about structural inequities and steps that can be taken towards sustainable and inclusive excellence in research. Panellists: Emilio Alarcon, University of Ottawa, Marya Ahmed, University of Prince Edward Island, and Kevin Hewitt, Dalhousie University. More info here.

Mount Saint Vincent

Exhibitions (Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm, MSVU Art Gallery) — from the listings:

Portals: until September 1

This exhibition of new work by Kayza DeGraff-Ford showcases their recent digital experimentation in virtual reality programming. Part of an ongoing story within DeGraff-Ford’s practice, this immersive installation features a cosmic aqua-portal via the humble entry point of bathroom plumbing. Channelling the literary genre of Magical Realism and exploring African diasporic and trans experiences, Portals takes the viewer through a healing wormhole in time.

Everything We Have Done Is Weather Now: until August 19

Lisa Hirmer’s gorgeous photographs of weather data bridge the divide between everyday conversations about weather and the enormity of the climate crisis, thereby helping to open up possibilities for imagining different futures for our planet. The exhibition is organized and circulated by the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery and is part of The Weather Collection, a network of digital and in-person exhibitions, hands-on art making, research, and artist projects that use visual art to encourage creative perspectives on the environment and build new relationships with the future of the planet.

In the harbour

06:00: CSL Kajika, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for Portsmouth, New Hampshire
06:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, moves from anchorage to Gold Bond
07:00: Lagrafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
08:30: Vive la Vie, superyacht, arrives at Foundation Wharf from Gibraltar
11:30: Lagrafoss sails for Portland
16:30: Taipan, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea

Cape Breton
06:00: Baie St.Paul, bulker, arrives at Coal Pier (Sydney) from Summerside
08:30: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Halifax, on a seven-day cruise from Boston to Montreal
15:00: Bahama Spirit, bulker, sails from Aulds Cove quarry for sea
15:00: Algoma Value, bulker, moves from Pirate Harbour anchorage to Aulds Cove quarry
15:00: AlgoBerta, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Sept-Iles, Quebec
17:30: Zaandam sails for Charlottetown


Slow news day for a change, which is welcomed, at least by me.

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

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  1. With regard to the contents of the Little Crescent Beach article- how does one “fix” the in-fill of a marsh?