1. Kill the messenger

A headshot of a smiling Black man in a dark pinstripe suit and a blue shirt with a white collar.
Alonzo Wright is the director of the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT). Credit: Nova Scotia Government/Twitter

On Friday, I commented on SIRT director Alfonzo Wright’s unfair criticism of the Halifax Examiner’s reporting on a lawsuit filed against a Halifax cop.

Yesterday, Stephen Kimber built on that, bringing in Jennifer Henderson’s account of the hiring of PC operative Rob Batherson onto the province’s Clean Electricity Task Force (I still have no clear understanding of what it is that Batherson actually does with the task force, but that’s another issue). Asked about the hire, which wasn’t publicized, Premier Tim Houston bristled. Writes Kimber:

Houston, of course, didn’t bother to explain why he didn’t bother to make Batherson’s appointment public at the time, or why he wasn’t transparent about the hiring process, including who was asked to bid and why they declined to do so.

But like Wright, Houston chose to defend his government’s appointment by attacking journalists for finding out what the government doesn’t appear to want us to know:

“I think until the end of time, reporters will sit in this room and look at people who are doing work for the government and ascribe some sinister motive to it,” Houston said. “When the government goes through a competitive process and one person responds, I guess your suggestion would be that we just not do the work because we only had one respondent and some people don’t like the respondent or their past.”

There are far too many similar patterns in Nova Scotia. As John Prine once wrote, “The news just repeats itself/ like some forgotten dream that we’ve both seen.”

Click or tap here to read “The Nova Scotia playbook: when in doubt, blame the reporter…”

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2. Blue green algae

Blue green algae is seen in a lake, a green haze under the surface.
A blue green algae bloom in Lake Banook in 2018. Credit: HRM

“Would you know blue green algae if you saw it at your local lake?” reports Zane Woodford:

The municipality wants to help Haligonians identify the potentially harmful bacteria and learn about the risks for their pets and children.

“Cyanobacteria is another name for blue green algae. It’s not actually algae at all. It’s little bacteria, and there’s some of the oldest organisms on Earth. They’re actually the reason we have an oxygen rich atmosphere,” Montgomery said.

“They have always been here, but we’re starting to see them in higher concentrations in our urban lakes and and we just want to give some information about why that is.”

Click or tap here to read “Here’s what Halifax wants you to know about blue green algae.”

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3. Saint Bernard Church

An aerial shot of a church made from grey granite stones. The church has three red doors and a stone cross on top. In the background is the ocean while a two lane highway runs in front. There is a lineup of cyclists driving on the road. A few pickup trucks are parked in a grassy area across from the church. Houses are located along the road.
Saint Bernard Catholic Church. Credit: Trevor Jones/La Société Héritage Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard Church on the French shore has been purchased.

The Nation Prospère Acadie, a Bouctouche, New Brunswick-based charity devoted to protecting the cultural heritage of Acadie, announced the purchase on its website, and said the sale was finalized by the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth on Friday, the Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval (the date of the expulsion of the Acadians).

A sale price wasn’t listed, but Nation Prospère Acadie says a campaign to raise $2.5 million continues. That money will be used to fix the roof of the church, modernize its heating system, and repair water damage, all in time for the Congrès mondial acadie in August 2024.

This is an ambitious project for a small organization. The Nation Prospère Acadie had just $54,003 in revenue last year, about half of which was raised through donations. The organization has just two very part-time paid employees, who collectively made $5,374 last year.

Suzanne Rent has reported on the plight of the church extensively.

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4. Sipekne’katik sues over DFO seizure of lobster traps

Two men toss lobster traps from the back of a boat.
Sipekne’katik First Nation fishermen drop lobster traps in St. Mary’s Bay near Saulnierville, N.S. in Sept. 2020. Credit: Ku’ku’kwes News / Stephen Brake

“The Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia is suing the federal government over treaty right infringement after officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans seized lobster traps belonging to its band members,” reports Maureen Googoo:

According to the statement of claim, Sipekne’katik’s fishery guardians witnessed DFO officers aboard a Coast Guard vessel haul lobster traps belonging to James MacDonald, a band member, out of the waters in St. Mary’s Bay on July 18.

When they approached the coast guard vessel, one of the guardians informed DFO officers that MacDonald “was fishing under the authorization of Sipekne’katik First Nation” and advised the fishery officers to return the traps to the water or face legal action.

According to the claim, one of the fishery officers replied “that he was confiscating the traps anyway because DFO does not recognize Sipekne’katik’s right to fish because it was not authorized.”

Googoo details the back and forth between DFO and Sipekne’katik regarding the lobster catch.

Click or tap here to read “Sipekne’katik First Nation sues federal government for seizing lobster traps.”

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5. The shipping news

A burning ship.
The Fremantle Highway is on fire off the coast of Netherlands. Credit: Netherlands Coast Guard / Twitter

“A massive cargo ship burning off the coast of the Netherlands is igniting concerns over fire risks from electric vehicles,” reports Huileng Tan for Business Insider:

The Fremantle Highway, a 656-foot Panama-flagged ship built in December 2013 was transporting 3,000 vehicles from Germany to Singapore when a fire broke out on Tuesday night just off the Dutch coast, according to Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the ship’s Japanese owner.

The Dutch Coast Guard said on its blog that 23 crew members were evacuated, but one person died. The cause of the fire is still unknown. It was still burning as of 10.21 p.m. local time on Thursday. 

“The cargo aboard the vessel includes electric vehicles and the ship’s owners told Dutch media it was the suspected cause of the deadly fire, which will now be investigated,” reports Ameland (Netherlands) (AFP):

The company told the NOS public broadcaster “there is a good chance that the fire started with electric cars,” of which some 25 were on board.

In preparation of salvage operations, the ship is now being towed away from shipping routes, reports Reuters.

Such giant car carriers regularly call in Halifax Harbour, both at the Autoport in Dartmouth and at Pier 9 on the peninsula near the MacKay Bridge. The Sunshine Ace is in port today.

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6. The business news

Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator has a piece headlined The Business Section that gets into three issues that compete for my attention — a Sydney landlord who told his tenants he will “no longer be supplying oil” to the units, thereby imposing an effective rent increase of 20%; the ongoing (mis)fortunes of Meta Material; and a takedown of ESG investing.

You should read the entire post, but I’ll quickly mention the second issue. Writes Campbell:

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a Wells Notice to Meta Materials CEO George Palikaras and former CEO John Brda in relation to a previously disclosed investigation into (among other things) Meta’s merger with Torchilight Energy Resources—the merger that allowed it to go public with a valuation north of $1 billion and earned Nova Scotia’s now-defunct Innovacorp a whopping $100 million payday. (The merger I’ve discussed at length, starting here and here.)

A Wells Notice, according to Investopedia, is:

…a notification issued by regulators to inform individuals or companies of completed investigations where infractions have been discovered. It usually takes the form of a letter, which notifies recipients both of the broad nature of the violations uncovered as well as the nature of the enforcement proceedings to be initiated against the recipient.

The reason I continue to follow the Meta Materials saga, other than morbid fascination, is because a lot of public money has been invested in Meta (and also, if the SEC finds that Palikaras and Brda broke securities laws in merging their two companies, then Innovacorp profited from their lawbreaking).

Click or tap here to read “The Business Section.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator.

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No meetings



No meetings


Human Resources (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — appointments to agencies, boards and commissions

On campus



Emancipation Day at Dalhousie Art Gallery (Tuesday, 1pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — drop-in events, including a curatorial talk by David Woods: “A Journey through African Nova Scotian Quilts”, and an exhibition tour with Heather Cromwell of the Vale Quilters Association of New Glasgow

In the harbour

05:00: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
05:30: Sunshine Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
07:30: Bakkafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
07:45: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship with up to 3,756 passengers, arrives at Pier 42 from Saint John, on a 13-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Quebec City
10:30: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Philipsburg, St. Croix
11:45: Bakkafoss sails for Portland
12:00: Silver Shalis, yacht owned by billionaire Larry Silverstein, the developer of the World Trade Center in New York, arrives at Foundation Wharf from Sydney
12:00: MSC Melissa, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Baltimore, Maryland
15:30: Sunshine Ace sails for sea
16:30: Caribbean Princess sails for Sydney
16:30: Atlantic Sail sails for New York
21:30: MSC Melissa sails for sea

Cape Breton
10:30: Thunder Bay, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Summerside
15:00: Phoenix Admiral, oil tanker, sails from EverWind for sea
16:00: Rhythmic, oil tanker, moves from anchorage to EverWind


I could spend another hour and half dredging up material of middling interest, or I could get back into my main project. I’ll do the latter.

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

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  1. Probably good to note that not only is a withdrawal of services (providing oil) an “effective” rent increase to the tenants, it’s legally considered the same as a rent increase by the Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies Act.