News

1. EverWind Fuels’ green hydrogen project

Premier Tim Houston (right), Trent Vichie (centre), Membertou First Nation Chief Terrance Paul (second from left), and other dignitaries at the signing of the MOU with Uniper and E.On. Photo contributed by EverWind

This morning, we have Joan Baxter’s second article in a two-part series the Examiner is co-publishing with The Energy Mix about the “green hydrogen and ammonia” project EverWind Fuels has proposed for Point Tupper in Nova Scotia. You can read part 1 here.

In part 2, Baxter writes about how “EverWind Fuels’ ‘green hydrogen’ project depends on sketchy carbon calculations and an enormous public subsidy:”

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is a big fan of EverWind’s “green hydrogen and ammonia” project proposed for Point Tupper in Cape Breton.

In late August, a smiling Houston was photographed, together with EverWind Fuels’ CEO Trent Vichie, Membertou First Nation Chief and CEO Terrance Paul, and other dignitaries, at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between EverWind and Uniper, an international energy company with its largest market in Germany.

The memorandum states that EverWind and Uniper intend to negotiate an “offtake” agreement that Uniper will eventually buy 500,000 tonnes of “green ammonia” per year from the Point Tupper plant. EverWind signed a second memorandum of understanding the same day with another European energy giant, E.On, for another 500,000 tonnes.

At the time of the signing, Houston commented: “EverWind’s project supports our provincial goals of decarbonization and green energy leadership.”

Houston continued, “We are excited about the opportunities that green hydrogen and green ammonia projects [sic] provide for the province, including new clean energy jobs, supporting Nova Scotia’s carbon emissions reduction targets, and establishing Nova Scotia as a global leader in the production of green hydrogen for domestic and export markets.”

In fact, as detailed in Part 1 of this series, there is currently only one green hydrogen and ammonia project proposed in Nova Scotia, and it is the one EverWind Fuels proposes for Point Tupper, near Port Hawkesbury on the Canso Strait in Cape Breton.

Click here to read part two. 

And click here to read part one of Baxter’s series.

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2. One Patient, One Record

Dr. Leisha Hawker, president of Doctors Nova Scotia. Photo: Contributed

“Imagine having the results of your bloodwork, X-rays, prescriptions, and medical history available on one computerized health record that travels with you to appointments — whether in person or online — to see a family doctor or a specialist, and which will remain accessible if your doctor retires and you’re lucky enough to find another one. Science fiction?,” reports Jennifer Henderson.

Well, we may not have to imagine anymore! As Henderson writes, the Houston government is getting ready to announce it will award a contract to a company that will set up electronic health records for every Nova Scotian. Henderson writes:

Dubbed “One Patient, One Record” (OPOR) the initiative goes all the way back to December 2014, when the policy was first approved by the NDP Dexter government.

In an email response to a request to interview a senior official accountable for OPOR, Health Department spokesperson Khalehla Perreault said, “We are in the final phases of the procurement and cannot comment at this time.”

Henderson takes a good look at why it’s taken years for the province award a tender, but she also breaks down the patchwork of systems doctors now use for patient records — and the risks that come with using the current systems. Just read the section about how Dr. Leisha Hawker, a physician and president of Doctors Nova Scotia, deals with her patients’ records with clunky and outdated systems.

Click here to read her story (which is behind our paywall; you can subscribe here.)

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3. Writing about living with ALS

Angela Parker-Brown at the book launch of Writing With My Eyes: Staying Alive While Dying. Photo: Matthew Byard

On the weekend Matthew Byard went to the book launch for Writing With My Eyes: Staying Alive While Dying, which was written by Angela Parker-Brown of Truro. Parker-Brown, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), wrote the entire book using eye-gazing technology. Byard writes:

In the book’s intro, Parker-Brown explains how she uses both an eye-gazing program and device to communicate and write with her eyes.

“This celebration is not about me,” Parker-Brown said using the same technology she used to write the book. “It’s about all of us and our shared love of reading books, and about opening our minds to share the experiences of others. I often say that it is your encouragement that started me on the journey to write this book. It is the culmination of that journey that brings us together today.”

Click here to read Byard’s story, which is a very good read.

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4. Creating a culture of consent

“We do not live in a culture of consent,” writes Ann de Ste Croix, coordinator of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS), in this guest commentary. de Ste Croix continues:

I was reminded of this fact when scrolling through the comments of a news article criticizing the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that maintains that “stealthing” — the act of pretending to use a condom, or removing one prior to sex without the partner’s consent — is sexual assault. While this ruling provides further legal clarification on the issue of consent and condom use, it will unfortunately not address the lack of understanding regarding what constitutes consent among the population. Those active in the violence against women (VAW) sector witness the various ways that this lack of awareness manifests itself, is perpetuated, and causes harm.

Click here to read the article.

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5. ‘Frank’-ly, my dear, I don’t give a damn

Frank Magazine announcing its own death.

Stephen Kimber writes about Frank Magazine, which announced its own demise last week. But Kimber remembers the original Frank Magazine, and not the publication it became:

When Frank first showed up on local newsstands 35 years ago, it was a publication unlike any seen here before. And not just in Nova Scotia. The closest equivalent was the British political satirical magazine Private Eyeon which it was loosely based.

That probably shouldn’t have been surprising.

David Bentley is the British ex-pat journalist behind the original Frank.

He was also — it’s worth acknowledging — the conceiver-in-chief of today’s allnovascotia.com and its still-growing collection of allsomewhere.com business news websites, the late lamented Halifax Daily News and its prequel Bedford-Sackville Weekly Newsnot to forget some of his more forgettable adventures like Who’s News“a local Toronto People thing” that failed to find traction among Torontonians and Fleura controlled circulation fashion tabloid that lasted just a few issues back in the early 1970s.

Bentley, in short, is that rare thing — a journalist who was also an entrepreneur and committed to being good at both.

Frank, to be frank, was a fortuitous accident.

Click here to read Kimber’s column.

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6. St Barbara and Canadian regulators

Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River, Nova Scotia. Photo: Simon Ryder-Burbidge

We’ve taken Joan Baxter’s article, Canadian regulators giving Australia’s St Barbara what it wants, out from behind the paywall.

St Barbara Ltd, the Australian company that owns Atlantic Gold / Atlantic Mining NS, which operates the Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River and wants to open three more mines on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, seems to be having a run of extraordinarily good fortune when it comes to decisions by government regulators in this part of the world.

Last week St Barbara CEO Craig Jetson informed investors that the Nova Scotia government had approved an increase in the height of its tailings facility at the Touquoy mine.

This decision worried groups concerned about the expansion of gold mining in the province and government support for the industry, following Jetson’s visit to the province in May, when — as Jennifer Henderson reported here — the St Barbara CEO met with both Premier Tim Houston and Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change Minister Tim Halman.

Halman also told Henderson that his department had recently hired two “business relations officers” to provide companies with “one consistent point of contact.”

Now the federal government has also given St Barbara exactly what it has asked for.

Click here to read Baxter’s article.

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Views

A shout-out to the quiet people in a world that won’t shut up

Photo: Unsplash

Several years ago in a newsroom where I was working, the boss called a team meeting. I was relatively new at that job and that boss introduced me as “the quietest person he had ever met.” He liked to point this out often, which was rude and embarrassing. Also, the job didn’t require constant talking, so I’m not sure why he felt the need to constantly say this (I have thoughts on him that I’ll keep to myself).

I’ve heard comments all my life about being quiet. If you’re a quiet, reserved person by nature, you’ve heard it, too. And today I’m writing on behalf of quiet people everywhere to tell you all: please shut up about this.

Quiet people live in a world where loud, talkative people are often considered to be more confident, more secure, more talented, more fun, and more interesting. Meanwhile, quiet people are often thought to be insecure, boring, or incompetent; people who don’t have opinions or anything interesting to say. Quiet people are also often considered to be snobs or bitches (okay, sometimes we can be bitchy, just like everyone else). And for some reason, quiet people make others, like my former boss, uncomfortable.

Think of all the negative connotations that people connect with being quiet. If there’s a news story about a murderer, what do the neighbours often say? They were so quiet.

And then there’s the line I’ve heard many times: “It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for!” Again, the implication is quiet people are weird and up to no good.

I won’t do a psychological analysis of why people are loud and feel the need to talk all the time, but we certainly live in a world that encourages — and even seems to prefer — people who are always talking. I wouldn’t want to talk all the time! That just sounds exhausting.

It’s not even that I dislike everything that’s loud. I love loud music at concerts, in my car, and in my house while I’m doing housework. I love a good thunderstorm; the louder the better.

In my job being quiet is a positive. I’m a good listener and observer. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people over the years, and I’m interested in what they have to say. I am also never short on story ideas and I think it’s because not only am I innately curious about everything, I also know when to be quiet, observing and listening to what’s happening around me. I think many quiet people are the same; we appreciate tuning out the chatter, and can listen for what’s most important and interesting.

Of course, there are times when we all need to speak up. Like many people, for years I dreaded public speaking, but in my 20s I learned this was actually a skill you can learn, and now I enjoy public speaking — if I know what I’m talking about. I have given presentations, emceed events, and co-hosted a live radio show where we (mostly) told bad jokes (that was the best part). And yet, people will still say to me how surprised they are I could do such things (some people even get angry that quiet people are good at things!) Again, too many people equate quiet with incompetent.

A reader suggested I check out the work of Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introverts, like quiet people, get a lot of flak, too. Introverts are always told to “join the party.” Yet, why don’t we tell extroverts to stop dominating the party?

Cain has on her website a quiz to find out if you’re an extrovert or introvert. I was checking out the questions for the quiz to learn where I might fit, and while I am quiet, I wouldn’t say I’m a total introvert. While I do dislike small talk, and especially gossip, I like both one-on-one conversations and group activities, I don’t have anxiety around using the phone, and when I’m not working at home, which I love, I prefer not being at home. I like getting out, going places, and trying new things, even if I’m terrible at them.

As Cain writes in this article, many people’s introversion/extroversion falls on a scale, so there are calm introverts, anxious introverts, anxious (or impulsive) extroverts, and calm extroverts. Still, society equates introversion (and shyness) with negative qualities. And introversion and shyness aren’t necessarily the same. Cain writes:

But if shyness and introversion are so different, why do we often link them, especially in the popular media?

The most important answer is that there’s a shared bias in our society against both traits. The mental state of a shy extrovert sitting quietly in a business meeting may be very different from that of a calm introvert—the shy person is afraid to speak up, while the introvert is simply overstimulated—but to the outside world, the two appear to be the same, and neither type is welcome. Studies show that we rank fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likeable, and even smarter than slow ones.

And there are environments in which being quiet is preferred. Australian musician Demi Louise shared a tweet in which she scolded English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock for losing his temper on a loud, talkative audience member, and “severely abusing her in an intimidating manor (sic).” Hitchcock responded with this tweet, saying he has “zero tolerance” for anyone who talks at his show. “If you want to listen to them rather than me then by all means have your money back. I hate losing my temper in public, but if I’m provoked …” he wrote.

Fortunately, many commenters responded in support of Hitchcock. Ron Sexsmith wrote, “Good on you Robyn. It’s the worst feeling when you’re trying to do your job and oblivious people who’ve paid but act like you’re not even there yammer away. I usually say stuff like “Can I have less of that table in my monitor.” How I wish more settings were like acoustic shows and the expectations were that people would just listen and enjoy!

And I have to say, being a quiet kid can be rough. I think parents who talk all the time and who enjoy being the centre of attention must have a tough time understanding their quiet kid who’s their complete opposite. I can attest that even some teachers don’t “get” the quiet kids, even though they write on our reports cards we’re a “pleasure to have in class.” I asked my quiet kid about this on the weekend and she agreed some of her teachers over the years favoured the louder, talkative students.

When a kid who is quiet constantly hears from parents and teachers that they’re too quiet and have to “come out of their shell,” what they’re really hearing is that they aren’t good enough. This is not only unhelpful, but it can be incredibly damaging. I think we’re now better at understanding that kids have different ways of learning. Those quiet kids are engaged and paying attention. They likely do have questions about the work, but have their own ways of finding out the answers. And they’re equally as competent as the kids who dominate the class with their input. It’s good to encourage quiet kids to participate in class, but I’m not sure many teachers know how to do this properly.

Years before I had that boss who pointed out I was the quietest person he knew, a mentor of mine said I had “quiet determination.” I liked that much better. It’s far more fitting.

So, to my fellow quiet people: there’s nothing wrong with you, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Now that I’ve said my piece, you can talk amongst yourselves. I’ll just zip it and get back to work.

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Noticed

In August, I wrote about Colin J. Muise, a local photographer and digital designer, who’s been creating costumes of famous Nova Scotia landmarks and sharing photos of him in those costumes. Muise has created costumes of the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, the Town Clock, and The Wave sculpture on the Halifax waterfront.

During our interview, Muise told me he was working on two new costumes, including one of the smokestacks of Tuft’s Cove. But he decided to keep the other one a secret, adding he thought it would be a landmark no one would expect.

Well, on the weekend Muise finally shared his latest creation: one of the Purdy’s Wharf towers. The photos were shared on Halifax Noise.

Photos: Colin J. Muise

I’m looking forward to Muise’s other landmark costumes.

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Government

City

Tuesday

No meetings

Wednesday

Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall) — agenda

District Boundary Resident Review Panel (Wednesday, 3:30pm, City Hall) — agenda

Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, online) — agenda

Public Information Meeting – Case 23617 (Wednesday, 6:30pm, 711 Pockwock Rd, Upper Hammonds Plains) — Upper Hammonds Plains Land Use Designation Review; more info at this email address

Province

Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, Province House) — Mental health support for veterans and families, with representatives from the Office of Addictions and Mental Health, OSI Clinic, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, CLANNAD, and Veterans Affairs Canada


On campus

Dalhousie

European Union: A Transformative Experience (Tuesday, 10:05am, Room 217, Henry Hicks A&A Building) — Declan J. Walsh from University College Cork, Ireland will speak

All for One, or One for all (Tuesday, 7pm, Tupper Medical Building) — a panel discussion which will discuss “Can universal health care meet the needs of a diverse population?”


In the harbour

Halifax
06:30: Siem Cicero, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
06:30: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida
08:45: Carnival Magic, cruise ship with up to 4,428 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
16:30: Siem Cicero sails for sea
18:00: Carnival Magic sails for Sydney
19:30: Endeavour II, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
23:00: Ipanema Street, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea

Cape Breton
08:30: Radcliffe R. Latimer, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Sydney
09:00: Nieuw Statendam, cruise ship with up to 3,214 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Halifax, on a seven-day cruise from Boston to Quebec City
17:30: Nieuw Statendam sails for Charlottetown


Footnotes

I thought I’d make a pitch to subscribe to the Examiner. Every week, I think how lucky I am to get to write Morning File. I started following Tim Bousquet’s Morning File when he started the Examiner more than seven years ago. I remember thinking that no one in the city was writing what he was writing about. And I (quietly) said to myself that I’d one day I’d write for the Examiner.

There’s a lot of work that goes on here each day. I get to see the team’s work start from an idea and evolve into a story. I’ve learned a lot from all of them. Besides Morning File, I also get the chance to write other stories I hear about. Behind the scenes, Iris keeps it all running tickety-boo. She’s now working hard on the new website, which will be easier to navigate and share with others. I know you’ll appreciate it.

Of course, none of this happens without the support of you, our readers. So again, if you can support our work, we can continue to tell the stories of the city and province. Sign up here. Thank you!


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Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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  1. The hyperbole and misrepresentation in the green hydrogen project reminds me of how we were all going to get rich by building a new convention centre.

  2. There was a prophecy made made by one of Tim’s favourite bête noires – a famous buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa – he said in the future- Nova Scotia would be a banana republic.

    I think the future is now. The definition of a ‘banana republic’ is a place where foreign entities rape and pillage the natural resources, and the population eventually exists at a serf level of employment to outsiders. We are there. Uniper… Santa Barbara Limited..Northern Pulp/Domtar …. and our forests, our water, our fish, our seas…. the list goes on and on and on.