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In the harbour


1. Daewoo to close Trenton plant

Peter MacKay and Darrell Dexter applaud while their governments' deals with Daewoo is signed in 2010. Photo:
Peter MacKay and Darrell Dexter applaud while their governments’ deals with Daewoo is signed in 2010. Photo:
Peter MacKay and Darrell Dexter applaud while their governments’ deals with Daewoo is signed in 2010. Photo:

“Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Ltd. is looking to pull out of Nova Scotia, a government source tells The Chronicle Herald,” reports Michael Gorman, who goes on to quote workers at the former Trenton rail car plant who say the company is selling off equipment and closing down operations.

When the rail plant closed in 2007, the former Dexter government went hunting for a buyer and in 2010 enticed Daewoo to reopen the plant to build towers for wind turbines. Explains Gorman:

When the deal between DSME and the former NDP government was announced, it was major news for Trenton and Pictou County, coming three years after 300 people lost their jobs when the railcar plant at TrentonWorks was shuttered.

Attracting Daewoo to Pictou County did not come cheap. For the promise of 500 jobs, a figure DSME Trenton has never come close to reaching, the provincial government offered up $19.6 million in cash, a $30-million loan for new equipment, a $6-million loan for working capital and a $4-million forgivable loan for land and buildings. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency kicked in an additional $10 million.

The imminent closure of the plant had been announced in May in Korea Times:

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) will dispose of non-core, loss-making affiliates to focus on shipbuilding and offshore plant construction businesses, company officials said Friday.


According to industry sources, DSME will first dispose of three affiliates: DSME Construction, DeWind and Future Leadership Center (FLC). DeWind is a U.S.-based wind-power company and FLC operates Sunning Point Country Club in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, and DSME’s training center nearby.

The company is also reportedly considering DSME Trenton, a wind-power generation joint venture in Canada; Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries, DSME’s subsidiary in Romania; and DSME Shandong, a shipyard in Shandong, China.

These foreign subsidiaries have been losing money over the past few years, hit by a sluggish global market.

2. Grandeur Estates

FIrefighters battled a blaze at the Résidence du Havre nursing home in L’Isle-Verte, Quebec, where 32 elderly people died. But that could never happen in Hammond Plains, because, well, because. Photo:
Firefighters battled a blaze at the Résidence du Havre nursing home in L’Isle-Verte, Quebec, where 32 elderly people died. But that could never happen in Hammond Plains, because, well, because. Photo:

City building inspectors, doing their jobs, found an unlicensed, unregistered, uninspected “assistant living” facility in Hammonds Plains, and did exactly what they were supposed to do: order it brought up to code. When that wasn’t done, they ordered the facility closed. For this, they have been dumped upon, first by families of residents in the home, and then by media outlets calling it a “forced eviction.”

Oh, won’t somebody think of the old people?

Why would city inspectors get worked up about a building that “lacks a host of safety features, including a sprinkler system, exit signs and emergency lighting”? I dunno, maybe they’re uncaring assholes who like to kick old people. Or, maybe because they, you know, remember that just last year 32 old people died in a horrible fire at a nursing home that wasn’t properly fitted with sprinklers.

Easier to go with “building inspectors are assholes” than to suggest that a business owner should abide by the law, I guess.

3. Annie Leibovitz collection

Annie Leibovitz’s Blues Brothers photo will supposedly one day be displayed at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Annie Leibovitz’s Blues Brothers photo will supposedly one day be displayed at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

In 2013, it was announced that the Annie Leibovitz collection would be donated to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, but the photographs still haven’t been put on display, and there’s no hope that the collection will be displayed before 2017, reports the CBC’s Jennifer Henderson.

I’ve been chasing this story for a while, and no one will go on the record about it. But here’s my suspicion: The Mintz family, who are making the donation, want a tax write-off for it, but can’t secure one.

In July, acting on a tip, I sent this request for information to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, which rules on tax write-offs for artistic donations:

My questions are in regard to the Secretariat to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. It is my understanding that the Review Board reports to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and in that respect makes recommendations for certifications for tax exemptions and value of art.

In particular, I’m interested in the Annie Leibovitz collection of photography, which is intended as a gift from Al and Faye Mintz of Toronto to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. It is my understanding that the Cultural Property Export Review Board has made (possibly repeated) rulings on the tax exemption status of the collection.

Can you confirm the above? Also, may I please have a copy of the ruling(s)? And for context, can you direct me to a link or otherwise provide background information about the role of the Cultural Property Export Review Board in regard to assessing cultural benefit of art, in particular regard to how art should have a Canadian cultural element?

I received the following response:

The content of Board meetings and decisions that relate to taxpayer information cannot be made public. It is protected under the Income Tax Act, the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. As a result, the Review Board cannot discuss specific cases. 

Well, OK. So I can’t know exactly what’s going on here, but as I see it, there are three conflicting interests at stake: the Mintz family’s understandable desire for a tax break, the money-troubled Leibovitz looking for some form of recompense, and the AGNS, which seems to have overreached to promote an American artist’s work donated by Toronto gazillionaires instead of focusing on the more mundane but more appropriate mission of building a interesting collection to a scale that is affordable and attainable in a Nova Scotian context.

4. Liberals like Mother Canada™

Mother Canada™
Mother Canada™

The Nova Scotia Liberal caucus is enthusiastically supportive of the proposed Mother Canada™ monolith. At least, that’s what Retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, a primary backer of the statue, told the CBC’s Jean Laroche after his group met with the Liberals. Said MacKenzie:

[We’re] asking for no financial support or anything like that. We were looking for moral support and absolutely delighted with the reaction of the caucus — applause, support from individual members in the double digits and no criticism.

Laroche reports that Premier Stephen McNeil has also invited opponents of the eight-storey celebration of crass nationalism to speak to his caucus as well, “but MacKenzie called opposition to the project ‘really irritating.’”

Meanwhile, the Canadian Press’s Alison Auld has a he-said, she-said review of area residents’ opinion on the proposed Stalinist-inspired propaganda piece, weighing heavily on the idea that locals support it because it’s going to bring jobs and prosperity forever, amen, while those who oppose the thing are pointy-headed academics and elites.

One of those pointy-headed academics is Dalhousie anthropologist Martha Radice, who visited Cape Breton over the weekend and noted the existing, “perfectly adequate, subtle war memorial” that’s already there:

Photo: Martha Radice
Photo: Martha Radice
Photo: Martha Radice
Photo: Martha Radice

Yea, sure, Martha, but where’s the profit in that, eh? No gift shop, no corporate branding, no billboards… Why do you hate veterans?


1. Findlay Centre

Findlay Centre
Findlay Centre

Last year, city staff recommended closing the Findlay Centre in downtown Dartmouth and moving all its programming over to the Sportsplex. Council rejected that recommendation, but Sam Austin fears the idea will resurface, and is against it.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Hants Journal:

As a visitor to your little town in the Valley, I must say your main street both in and out of town (Gerrish Street) is a disgrace. The pavement is in need of immediate repair.

It’s not what I call a friendly invite for tourists to come to your town to have their vehicles subjected to potholes and broken pavement.

Other towns in the region are showing signs of repair. What is up with Windsor? No taxpayer money or poor management of money?

Chris Corkum, Bridgewater



Environment & Sustainability Standing Committee (1pm, City Hall) — the committee is trying to make sure that whatever replaces the Cogswell Interchange will use district heating. Also, the latest bullshit buzzword, “resiliency,” has infected disaster planning.

Harbour East–Marine Drive Community Council (6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Main Floor, Alderney Gate) — nothing much on the agenda.

Public information meeting (6:30pm, Halifax Central Library) — somehow, “public information meeting” has morphed into “public open house” in planning circles. Whatever you call it, this one is about a proposed nine-storey mixed-use building at 1447 Dresden Row.

Fort Needham Memorial Park Master Plan (7pm, United Memorial Church, 5350 Young Street) — more info here.


No public meetings.

On campus


Egg donation (1:30pm, Weldon Law Building, room 304) — Vanessa Gruben, from the University of Ottawa, will talk about “Egg donation in Canada: Promoting high quality health care for women who provide their eggs.”

Grandma is a YouTuber! (6:30pm, Goldberg CS Building Auditorium) — Kori Inkpen Quinn, from Microsoft Research, will speak on “Grandma is a YouTuber! How Video is Changing the Way we Engage, Experience, and Communicate with Others.”

What animals think and feel (7pm, Potter Auditorium, Rowe Management Building) — Carl Safina, who is an author, a prof at Stony Brook University, and the founder of the Safina Centre, will speak on “Beyond words: What animals think and feel.” More info here.

Planetarium show (7:15pm, Room. 120, Dunn Building) — Chris Young will present on the fall constellations. Five bucks at the door. No kids under eight years old, and really, think twice about the ones older than eight if they’re restless, loud, disruptive, and forever getting underfoot.

Genetically modified crops (7:30pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building) — explains the listing:

This public debate features two of the world’s most influential voices in the debate over whether GMOs can help the poor. Dr. Jennifer Thomson (University of Cape Town) is a South African molecular biologist who has written extensively on the potential for GM crops to alleviate poverty and hunger. Dr. Raj Patel (Univeristy of Texas, Austin) is a scholar and activist whose research and advocacy work underlines the inequities built into today’s global food systems and explores alternatives. This dynamic conversation will showcase current debates about using genome-enhancing technologies to improve agricultural production for the world’s poor.

In the harbour

Halifax Harbour at 8:25am Thursday. The blue icons are cruise ships; from top to bottom: Veendam, Queen Mary 2, Crystal Symphony, Silver Whisper, and Carnival Spledor. Map:
Halifax Harbour at 8:25am Thursday. The blue icons are cruise ships; from top to bottom: Veendam, Queen Mary 2, Crystal Symphony, Silver Whisper, and Carnival Spledor. Map:

ZIM Shanghai, container ship, New York to Pier 42, then sails to sea
Dinkeldiep, general cargo, Saint-Pierre to anchorage
Lion, oil tanker, Las Palmes, Spain to anchorage for fresh water and provisions

Perhaps as many as 8,298 cruise ship passengers are in port today, enjoying Halifax’s lovely fall weather. The ships are: Veendam (up to 1,350 passengers), Queen Mary 2 (up to 2,620 passengers), Crystal Symphony (up to 940 passengers), Silver Whisper (up to 382 passengers), and Carnival Splendor (up to 3,006 passengers).


Rain, they say.

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

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  1. Holy corporate giveaways. Does anyone know a running list of corporate giveaways by NS over the last decade or more? The $ figure must be at least two or three VGs.

  2. Re: Findlay Centre, I recommend that anyone interested in the future of downtown Dartmouth (or the workings of HRM Council for that matter) follow the link to Sam Austin’s excellent articles on While Findlay Centre may be safe for now, the contempt shown by Gloria McCluskey towards neighbourhood residents concerned about its possible closure is typical of her imperious attitude. But perhaps it’s no wonder Gloria thinks she’s the queen of Dartmouth since Frances Fares commissioned that bust of her for the King’s Wharf head office. (Examiner May 26, 2015.)

    -Berta Gaulke (formerly of Dartmouth)

  3. RE the «non-compliant» AssistED Living Home, I have to respectfully differ with Tim’s scurrilous attack. What is of absolutely PRIME importance in the short term is the comfort of the affected residents.

    Bureaucratic nit-picking only makes the problem worse. Comparing a large two-storey modern house with a gigantic «grew-like-topsy» three-storey firetrap is, to say the least, unfair and over-reacting. YES, the owner must provide a «safe» environment for the residents but there can be a HUGE GULF between reasonable and rational safety provision and ««THE CODE»» which can be totally irrational and demand extreme overkill.

    Some provisions of the «National Fire Code» are contradictory and inappropriate but are applied as a one-size-fits-all derriére-covering by lazy bureaucratic functionaries to the detriment of ALL those affected by their irrational dictums. Been there! Suffered that… and left wondering where Common Sense and compassion disappeared to.

    1. I definitely don’t see sprinklers in a building for folks who can’t necessarily get themselves out quickly as being overkill.

  4. “This area was one of the last sightings of Canada as hundreds of thousands of troops left Sydney and Halifax,” he said in an interview. “So there’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in that particular part of Canada.” – Leis MacKenzie in the CP article
    BS. If a troop ship left Sydney the last sight of Canada would be somewhere near Glace Bay. Someone give him a chart/map/atlas.

  5. Generally speaking a “Public Information Meeting” is a presentation followed by a Q&A, and an “Open House” lacks a presentation, having various displays available for the public to peruse at their leisure and pose questions to the proponents one-on-one.