1. Our disappearing forests

Photo: Linda Pannozzo

“Despite what the Nova Scotia government has said in response to concerns raised over clearcutting, the most recent figures released from the National Forestry Database (NFD) indicate that in 2015, both the overall harvest and the proportion of trees removed by clearcutting continued to increase,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

And ironically, the national body used data supplied by the province for its assessment.

The National Forestry Database shows that out of a total of 34,777 hectares harvested in 2015, an estimated 30,937 hectares of publicly and privately owned woodland, or 88.95 per cent, were clearcut. That’s the highest combined total in five years. The figure is considered an “estimate” because of uncertainty related to cutting on private woodlots.

Henderson goes on to show that the province contests the NFD figures because the two disagree on the definition of a clearcut.

Click here to read “Losing the forests for the trees: New figures show increase in clearcutting.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

Pannozzo, next to boreal felt lichen at Square Lake. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Relatedly, Linda Pannozzo and I recently tramped through the woods in search of the elusive (and endangered) boreal felt lichen. Pannozzo used the trip as a basis for a photo essay that explains how the province’s approach to forestry is all wrong.

Click here to read “Testing the limits, Part 2: The Examiner goes on the road is search of an endangered lichen (a photo essay).”

This article is also behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

How we manage, steward, and profit from our forests is a fundamental political, economic, environmental, and social issue that deserves informed public debate, and so I have committed the Examiner to reporting on resource issues, and I hope to increase that coverage. We’re lucky to have capable and experienced reporters like Henderson and Pannozzo on the beat.

I know the repeated “this article is behind the Examiner’s paywall…” thing is off-putting, but this is how we pay for such work. If you doubt that, consider: is any advertising-based media outlet (not to mention paper-based) providing such depth of coverage? There’s a reason for that: economic self-interest runs deeper than people consciously realize.

So, please subscribe.

2. Blueberries and bees


The CBC has a pair of articles about the blueberry industry.

In the first, David Burke reports that:

The wild blueberry industry in Nova Scotia is proving that you can have too much of a good thing.

Three good growing seasons have flooded the market with product and forced prices down, according to the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia. 

Peter Rideout, the association’s executive director, said in 2013 growers were getting about 60 cents per pound of blueberries. 

As blueberry production rose in 2014, prices started to drop. Last year, grower prices were down to 30 cents per pound. It costs about 20 cents per pound to harvest blueberries.

In the second article, Steve Berry reports that:

An application to ship bees from Ontario — a province known to have a widespread infection of small hive beetles — has been submitted to the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture. 

The Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association says that if the import permit is approved, about 500 rented hives could cross Nova Scotia’s border in May and leave at the end of the summer.

The association says the bees would be headed for wild blueberry fields in Nova Scotia to aid pollination of those crops.

The group is concerned that the shipment could infect Nova Scotian hives with small hive beetles…

“If they were to become established in Nova Scotia there’s a chance we would never be able to get rid of them,” [said association president and beekeeper Lauren Park.]

I suspect that there the monopolization of the blueberry industry by one large player is analogous to the monopolization of the lobster industry by one large player, and that in each case the monopoly has “captured” the regulatory agencies such that government rules and regulations are created and enforced to benefit the monopoly — and not the small growers that are hanging on, not associated industries like the beekeepers, and certainly not the public.

As with forestry and fishing, the blueberry industry mostly takes place in rural areas that urbanites don’t often directly butt up against, and are off the beaten path for most reporters. I’m glad to see the CBC on these stories, and I think there’s still more journalism that can be done around the industry.

3. Pedestrian struck

A police email to reporters last night:

Shortly before 9pm Halifax Regional Police responded to a report of a person struck by a truck with a plow attached, near the intersection of Rufus Avenue at Dutch Village Road. Upon arrival officers learned that a 61-year-old male had been struck by the vehicle while crossing Dutch Village Rd on the crosswalk. The injured male was transported to hospital by EHS with non-life threatening injuries. A 41-year-old male was issued summary offence tickets for two offences; making an improper left turn at an intersection and for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

4. People in Annapolis Royal are riled up

Annapolis Royal mayor Bill MacDonald changed his Facebook profile photo to this Canada Post stamp, which proves that his town was the first in Canada to be blessed with sacred European sperm.

Annapolis Royal mayor Bill MacDonald first took to Facebook earlier this week with his own cranky letter:

I am very troubled that the CBC has misrepresented Canadian history in the first episode of its television mini-series: ‘Canada: The Story of Us’. In the first episode aired last night, the CBC incorrectly asserts that Samuel de Champlain built the first European settlement in 1608 — a fortified habitation that would become Quebec City.

In actual fact, as most of us know, the first European settlement was established here, in Port Royal, by Champlain (and Pierre Dugua) in 1605. Annapolis Royal is the cradle of our nation, and this erroneous representation of history is disrespectful — as it erases (in a national broadcast) the true origins of our country. This misrepresentation of Canadian history warrants a campaign to set the record straight.

And then, Lawrence Powell, editor of the Annapolis County Spectator got all the other locals riled up.

It’s important to document where the very first European sperm landed in what would later become the country of Canada, I guess. It’s not like there was anyone else here before then…

But besides that, why are we discounting the Vikings, eh? Was their sperm not virile enough? And there were Europeans living in St. John’s at least as early as 1583 (and probably much earlier).

5. Matt Whitman does something stupid

A group of geniuses and their friend Matt.
A group of geniuses and their friend Matt.

Twitter has a “collage” feature that lets users post four photos in a grid. It’s been around since 2014, but I’ve noticed lately that many users are starting to use it for their profile photos — they’ll post photos of themselves at four different ages, or whatever.

Matt Whitman has updated his profile photo, too. In his case, though, he has posted a collage that includes celebrated Canadian portraitist Yousuf Karsh’s photos of Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, and Mikhail Gorbachev. The fourth photo (presumably not taken by Karsh, but in the same manner) is of Whitman.


1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Halifax Examiner:

Dear Tim,

Someone recently pointed out that in your October 17, 2016 article on the NS Ombudsman’s title you quoted a “delightful ” email I wrote several years ago on the use of ombudsman vs ombudsperson.

You said I was the Ombudsperson at Concordia University in the US. Wrong! There is a Concordia University (somewhere in the Chicago area, I think) but MY Concordia is in Montreal, only a couple of provinces away from you. You got your info from a paper by Tim Moore, a researcher with the Northern Ireland government. At least he was wrong first! I’ve written to him, too. Given that the topic of ombudsman titles (comes up often enough) we may as well get things right before I get Americanized again!

In any event it was fun to see that email again — thanks for that.

Suzanne Belson

See the original post here.


No public meetings.

On campus



Innovative Solutions (Thursday, 8:30am, Westin Nova Scotia) — senior Engineering students show off their design projects. They get 10 extra points every time they use “innovation.”

Feng Zhang (Thursday, 6:15pm, Scotia Auditorium, McCain Building) — Zhang is the 2016 Recipient of the Canada Gairdner Award; he worked on the CRISPR gene editing tool, which is a very big deal.

Physical Computing (Thursday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Sowmya Somanath, from the University of Calgary, will speak on “Engaging Makers in Physical Computing.”

Juanita Díaz-Cotto

War on Drugs (Thursday, 4pm, Room 212, Henry Hicks Building) — Juanita Díaz-Cotto, from the State University of New York, will speak on “The US War on Drugs and its Impact on Latinas, Chicanas, and Latin American Women.”

Research Presentations (Thursday, 4:30pm, 3H, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Day 1 of this year’s research presentations from the honours students of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Immigration Detention in Canada and the United States (Thursday, 6pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) — Juanita Diaz-Cotto, Morey Williams, Carrie Dawson, and Julie Chamagne will speak.

The Ark (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building) — Steven Mannell will speak about “Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island.” More info here.

In the harbour

2:30am: ZIM New York, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York

Atlantic Cartier. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Atlantic Cartier. Photo: Halifax Examiner

11am: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
Noon: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4pm: ZIM Alabama, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
4:30pm: Zenith Leader, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
8:30pm: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


YouTube video

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. You’re on the ball, Jodi! The last thing our bees need is an imported hive beetle. For crying out loud. All valley bee keepers need to know this plus everyone else????

  2. Thank you, Ken Donnelly. Use the real words. Also, we usually never know how a person hit by a car fares after that event except if they die. Perhaps some people who end up in hospital and then rehabilitation, etc., would be willing to be used for publicity just to show the ongoing repercussions.

    I’ve had two bad falls. One after tripping over the uneven road (since fixed) at the Mumford Road Bus Terminal and one in my own bathtub (entirely my fault). Both times I crashed my head on hard surfaces. I don’t want to even imagine what it must feel like to be hit by a car or truck!

  3. HhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaahhhhaaaahhhhaaaahhhaaaaOMFG.

    The man who helped engineer the end of Communism, someone who defused the worst nuclear crisis the world has ever faced, the physicist who personified the genius/humanist scientist and………Matt Whitman.

    Aspirational or delusional? Lord knows the legislature could use someone with the vision of a Gorbachev or Einstein. Something tells me Whitman ain’t him.

  4. Okay, a couple of things to do with the wild blueberry story. Not criticisms, please understand, just observations because this is part of my wheelhouse. The photo shows a wild species of bee, in this case, a bumblebee of some species. The HONEYBEES that are moved from field to field to pollinate wild blueberries (and other crops) are an introduced species, not native here, and don’t look like our fuzzy bumbles.

    People tend to get into a flap over issues with honeybees, (issues which are certainly valid, sometimes very confusing, and some of which tend to be cyclical) while forgetting that wild pollinators do a lot of the heavy lifting of pollinating the many crops that do require pollinating assistance, and that they have many stressors on them like development and destruction of habitat, pesticide use, etc.

    It does bother me rather intensely that an application to bring in bees from ON has been made, because that same ‘monopoly’ referred to has hundreds of its own hives, and infection by this small hive beetle could decimate their own hives, as well as those of others with bees nearby. Time to write a letter to the Minister of Agriculture. Which I will do this morning.

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to drone on and on about this. Pun intentional.

    1. I agree with Ken and Zeedra regarding pedestrians getting run down in crosswalks. The repetitive, predictable, “non life threatening injury” catch phrase employed in the reporting of trucks, cars and buses colliding with people is the norm. People who don’t die in crosswalk crashes may have a broken bone or permanent brain damage. Still alive though….

  5. Hey, give Annapolis Royal a break! It is a charming sweet pretty town that survives on its tourism to survive. And the residents are pretty darn good at promoting the place – I remember, before I had the good fortune to live there many years ago, reading the entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia and being delighted it was longer than the entry for Toronto! It amazed me. Rock on, AR!!
    I think it would have been important to mention Newfoundland or the Maritimes at some point in the program (which is appallingly bad, but no matter) – the lapse is yet another centrist view of the country that annoys. What of the horrible Acadian expulsion, that changed the way the British dealt with the French? What of all the people who landed here and perished?
    And what of all the people who were already here? Apparently none of them existed until you cross to present day Quebec.
    Can’t wait to see how they deal with the Prairies. Bet they skip Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

  6. People should not be charged with “failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.” They should be charged with “running over a pedestrian in a crosswalk.”

  7. Just a comment about the comparison of the monopolization of the Blueberry Industry’s and the Lobster Industry’s – yes, they are similar, but there is also a few elements which differentiate them.

    One of the bigger things is that the blueberry producers are caught up in the fact that their product, once harvested, spoils quite easily in comparison to other agricultural goods – and as such, they need to sell their product quickly to be refrigerated. Once refrigerated though, blueberries retain quality for quite a lengthy period. This means that their is some ability by processors to hold onto stocks and maintain prices at low rates.

    Lobster has a similar concern, but does spoil more quickly in storage, as well as the fact that their is some amount of differentiation in lobster in quality which does not occur with blueberries. This can help to increase prices overall and lead to a greater net value for primary producers.

    There is also the issues associated with the fact that Lobster industry and sustainability of stocks in comparison to a reoccurring crop, but that doesn’t interact as much with the monopolists within processing necessarily.

    (Sorry, just my Ag. Econ studies wanted me to chime in.)

    1. Ah lobster as commodity. So easy to overlook that they are living creatures worthy of respect outside of their marketable value.

      Sorry just the environmentalist in me chiming in.

      1. Great respect to you, gordohfx. We humans have removed worth and respect from much and many. If we cannot or do not attribute our concept of sentient reality to creatures such as lobsters, it makes it very easy to capture, bind, and throw them live into boiling water – all for culinary pleasure. And yes, it’s the livelihood of fishers, but that continues unchallenged, even as we collectively progress, ostensibly in knowledge and compassion. I cringe if I unavoidably pass tanks of live lobsters in which they inescapably crawl, their claws bound together. And I cannot erase from my mind a video image unexpectedly encountered of horses awaiting slaughter and the sudden appearance of a worker who fiercely, sadistically punches a horse’s face as it stood helpless in a very narrow holding stall.

        Thank you, gordohfx, for your humanitarian courage. You are not alone, and there are voices being raised – and yes, fiercely opposed – to bring consideration and mercy to the treatment of what are/have been socially deemed lesser beings. Some efforts are even succeeding, legally.