November Subscription Drive

Alex Boutilier
Alex Boutilier

Alex Boutilier is the Toronto Star’s national political reporter in Ottawa. He writes:

Look, I know, you have a limited amount to spend on news subscriptions. Me too. I’m a journalist.

But if it will make a difference, let me explain to you why I support the Halifax Examiner.

Tim Bousquet’s journalism always starts from the ground up, from the people directly affected to the power structures and institutions that have screwed them over. It’s a theme we journalists often mouth, but rarely live in our work: we’re here to provide some comfort for the afflicted, and boy are we going to afflict some of the comfortable. But Tim lives that, and never loses sight of our profession’s proper purpose, and that’s one of the reasons I admire him most.

He and his team have also made a concerted effort to find new and interesting voices to talk about Halifax politics and media. The pool of people paid to pay attention in Halifax has dropped sharply, and our “paper of record” has kept its workers off the job for almost a year. Other media organizations have done amazing work — Metro Halifax*,, the CBC snapping up talent in the Herald’s twilight — but nobody does what the Examiner does.

You may not always agree with him. Lord knows that I don’t. But I know that Halifax is better with the Examiner, with real shit-kicking, take-no-prisoners journalists who aren’t afraid of being on the wrong side of public opinion if it means getting to the right side of the story.

Did I mention he took down a mayor pretty much single-handedly?

If that doesn’t convince you, subscribe to the Examiner and I’ll personally buy you a pint next time we’re at Charlies’ Good Times Club next time I’m in town.** Just save me a play on the juke box.

In friendship and Nova Scotian solidarity,

Alex Boutilier

PS: I left out all the personal shit about Tim and me, but suffice it to say I consider him a friend and inspiration. If you care: We met back in 2009ish, when I was a cub reporter, and talked over several pints at Chuck’s. The two of us, along with Paul McLeod of BuzzFeed fame, started a weekly “meeting” for journalists at the pub, and I miss Every Wednesday, the people, and a lot else about those days very dearly.

*I’m biased: I used to work for Metro Halifax and still rep the team whenever possible.

**Limit one per subscriber, some proof of purchase required.

Click here to purchase a subscription to the Halifax Examiner.


1. Another gunshot death last night

A police email to reporters this morning:

At 10:47 pm Halifax Regional Police responded to a report of gunshots in the area of Falkland Street and Gottingen Street in Halifax. When members arrived they located a male in a vehicle who had been shot. The victim was transported to the QE2 Health Science Centre with life threatening injuries. The victim a 22 year old male from Halifax later died  from his injuries. Members of the Forensic Identification Section as well as the Integrated Major Crime Unit are continuing the investigation.

This is the same intersection where Naricho Clayton was gunned down and killed on April 19. It is one block from the Halifax Police Station and in a gentrifying section of Gottingen Street.

Ian Fairclough, reporting for Local Xpress, has more details of last night’s shooting:

Police found the victim in the driver’s seat of an SUV that was in a parking lot near the intersection, which is about a block from Halifax police headquarters. 

Three bullet holes were visible in the front windshield, just above the dashboard, while another was in the window of the driver’s side door. The window was rolled down slightly.


Some bystanders were trying to assist the man when the officer arrived, [Staff-Sgt. Bill Morris] said.

“They just happened to be nearby and tried to help him.”

The man was rushed to hospital but later died.

A second person in the vehicle wasn’t hurt, Morris said. He said details on the driver and passenger aren’t being released.

A suspect fled the area on foot after the shooting before getting into a car. A canine unit and the emergency response team looked for the suspect, but the person couldn’t be located. A description of the suspect wasn’t released.

Jacob Boon was also at the scene soon after the shooting:

As was Lewis Rendell:

This is the twelfth homicide in HRM this year.

Last week, 58-year-old Terry Izzard was killed when he answered his door at his Uniacke Square home. Police say Izzard “may not have been the intended target of this shooting.” No one has been charged.

A few days before Izzard’s killing, Shakur Jefferies was shot dead in an apartment on Washmill Lake Drive. Twenty-one-year-old Carvel Clayton has been charged with second degree murder in Jefferies’ death.

2. Carbon tax

“Ottawa and Nova Scotia announced an agreement in principle Monday that would allow the province to use coal-fired electrical plants beyond the new federal deadline to phase them out by 2030,” reports Keith Doucette for the Canadian Press:

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil also announced during a joint news conference with federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Halifax that his province would also adopt a cap and trade system for industry, with the details to be worked out by 2018.

We’ll have more on this in coming days.

3. Sobeys boycott ended


The African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia sent out this press release yesterday:

In September 2015, the Human Rights Commission found that Sobeys’ staff acted inappropriately toward an African Nova Scotian (ANS) shopper, who was racially profiled and falsely accused of shoplifting. She was deeply wounded and publicly humiliated.

Sobeys has since apologized and paid restitution to the shopper. Additionally, Sobeys has agreed to train its employees as outlined by the Human Rights Commission. In a meeting with the AUBA Moderator and Vice-Moderator, Sobeys’ management also agreed to go beyond the requirements of the HRC and train all its employees, including those working in subsidiaries such as Lawtons.

To further restore the valued relationship with African Nova Scotians, Sobeys will hold a community appreciation event at the Tantallon Store on Sunday, Dec. 4. This event represents the grocer’s apology to the residents of Upper Hammonds Plains for its employee’s racist characterization of the community.

Considering this agreement with Sobeys and the actions it promises to take, the AUBA is calling for an end to the boycott of Sobeys, effective immediately. We thank our constituents and neighbors who supported our efforts. Let us continue to endeavor to end racial discrimination in all its forms in our society.

4. Restorative justice

The province is expanding the restorative justice process to include adults, replacing the Adult Diversion Program.

I’ve been involved in restorative justice; I’m sworn to secrecy on the case, but it involved an incident that received a lot of attention in the media. The arrested person felt that they had been unfairly characterized in press reports and I guess it was my job to explain how the media operates and to bring some understanding about why it was reported the way it was (correctly, in my view). I think my involvement may have helped somewhat.

But like the diversion program before it, we need to be mindful of who is considered for restorative justice, and who is not. Racism and classism can be built into any system.

5. Pedestrian Struck

A police release from yesterday:

At 5:50 pm [Sunday] Halifax Regional Police responded to 6000 block of Coburg Road for a car pedestrian collision. The pedestrian was running across the street to catch a bus when she ran into a vehicle travelling on Coburg Road. The 22 Year old female taken to the QE2 with non life threatening injuries. The occupants of the vehicle were not injured. The file still under investigation

6. Talking Christmas tree to run for legislature


A talking Christmas tree is seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in the provincial riding of Sackville-Beaver Bank, reports Zane Woodford for Metro.


1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Charlottetown Guardian:

Under no circumstances should Pure Island Water ever be allowed to take our groundwater and bottle it for sale here on P.E.I. or around the world.

The most ridiculous use of our groundwater in my view is for bottled water.

I am also shocked to learn from reading a story in Saturday’s Guardian that there are currently three or four other bottle water companies operating on P.E.I. and none of them require a permit. Has our government lost its way?

I also learned that one of the bottled water companies is in Charlottetown and it uses Charlottetown’s municipal water supply, bottles it, and sells it back to city residents. In the same breath, the city tells us to conserve water as the Winter River is going dry. Now how ridiculous is that?

Many Islanders know our groundwater is in serious trouble. What is going to happen when our wells go dry? Does the government have a plan? In some areas of the province residents are digging deeper wells already.

Minster Robert Mitchell says, “The Province is committed to the protection of our water for future generations.”  If the minster is serious, then he must move immediately and ban all bottled water companies from operating in the province — now and forever. And that means shutting down the three or four companies now operating in the province.

We entrust our money to government in good faith. If Islanders are not vigilant, government will squander our precious groundwater.

Gerard Gallant, Charlottetown


“You often have said that you listen to podcasts,” writes a reader. “I have been wondering which ones. Perhaps a reference to a podcast that you would recommend might be useful in Morning File?”

I’m an avid podcast listener. I listen while at the gym, on the bus, and while walking around town. Some podcasts I listen to religiously, just as soon as I have time after they’re published. For other podcasts, I have to be in a certain mood or mindset, and so they can sometimes pile up.

Here’s what’s on my iPhone right now, with some comments.


Examineradio — The Halifax Examiner’s own podcast. I listen mostly to cringe at my verbal stumbles. This is a co-production with CKDU, which airs a 30-minute radio version of the podcast on Fridays at 4:30pm. The podcast is published about the same time, and can run longer.


The Night Time Podcast — Jordan Bonaparte’s podcast about “true crime, mysteries, the paranormal, and sometimes the just weird.” Bonaparte can sometimes be overly credulous with the paranormal stuff, but to his credit he brought on Brian Dunning to debunk all that Oak Island nonsense. That willingness to hear all sides of an argument is serving him well. Also, Bonaparte is a very good interviewer, and is getting better with each episode. I support this podcast with a small monthly financial contribution.



Canadaland — Jesse Brown’s media criticism ‘cast. I’ve actually gotten a lot of my Canadian news filtered through Canadaland. (I am a subscriber to Canadaland and have been interviewed twice by Brown for the show, and Brown is a subscriber to the Halifax Examiner.)

Canadaland Commons — a political show; it’s a bit in upheaval at the moment as new hosts are coming on board, but the previous iteration was sometimes quite smart, and always fun.

(CBC) The Current — the podcast version of Anna Maria Tremonti’s radio show.

(CBC) This is That — since the US election, I’ve found it necessary to put more humour in my media consumption. The satirical This is That “current affairs show” can be a real hoot.

(CBC) Quirks and Quarks — I wish host Bob McDonald were more skeptical and that scientists wouldn’t start every answer with the verbal tic “So,…” And McDonald is the CBC’s top-performing “find the Canadian angle” host — he’ll be sure to note if an interviewee working in Argentina has a brother who once had a Canadian girlfriend. Still, the podcast provides a good and interesting overview of science news.

(CBC) Spark — tech news from the very smart and engaging Nora Young. It was before I moved to Canada, but Young was the creator of Definitely Not the Opera, which went on to be destroyed by the ridiculously vapid Sook-Yin Lee.



99% Invisible — Roman Mars explores the architecture of life, where “architecture” is interpreted in the broadest way possible. An excellent introduction to 99% Invisible is the episode titled “Structural Integrity,” about the little-known story of a design flaw that was discovered in the 59-storey Citicorp Center in New York by an undergraduate architecture student, whose insight may have very well saved the lives of tens of thousands of people from a catastrophic collapse of the building. And that’s just the beginning of the story. Mars, incidentally, started the Radiotopia podcast collective, which I support with a small monthly contribution.

Snap Judgement — Glynn Washington brings together a collection of storytellers each week, and there’s usually a surprise twist that keeps me thinking for days on end.


The Memory Palace — another Radiotopia podcast, and hands-down my very favourite podcast. This is the golden age of story telling, and The Memory Palace’s Nate DiMeo is the best of the best. Each episode is a historical vignette, but never intended as a history lesson or to be exhaustively complete; rather, it’s about one angle on the story. Start with “Dreamland,” about the Coney Island amusement park that burned down in 1911.

Theory of Everything — also a Radiotopia podcast. Every episode is different. Benjamin Walker can be weird, surreal, and goofy, but is always captivating.


On the Media — I get my media bearings through On the Media. It’s essential.

Reveal — produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting, this podcast concentrates on, well, investigative reporting. I’ve gotten more than a few story ideas from listening.

This American Life — TAL was among the first very popular podcasts and has set the tone for much of the genre. Host Ira Glass can sometimes be insufferable, and increasingly I find myself avoiding the podcast, but I always come back.

Serial — a TAL spinoff, host Sarah Koenig spends each season exhaustively exploring just one story. The first season, about convicted murderer Adnan Syed, was (I believe) the most popular podcast ever. It started off very strongly, with Koenig breaking the fourth wall to engage listeners, but it kind of petered out into confusion. The second season, about American soldier Bowe Bergdahl’s capture in Afghanistan, tackled some big political issues but didn’t get the attention it deserved. I await season three.

Soundings from The New York Review — honestly, I don’t know why I listen to this.

The New Yorker: Politics and More — like reading the magazine, the podcast can be hit-and-miss, but it’s part of being a politically literate citizen of North America.

The New Yorker: Out Loud — see above, but with a somewhat broader focus, bringing in cultural productions covered by the magazine.


Reply All — for some reason, I want to dislike hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman but they keep bringing me in, and I hate to admit it, but I actually like them. I think they won me over when they dropped acid and made a podcast about it.

Hardcore History — the title is an understatement; Dan Carlin can talk for 10 hours on World War 1, or nine hours on the Persian Empire.

Here’s The Thing — Alec Baldwin interrupts and talks over guests, loses the track of the conversation, and makes it all about him, but hey, he’s Alec Baldwin.

All Songs Considered — A while back I asked my friend Aaron Hartling how I could best stay on top of new music, and he told me to listen to the All Songs Considered and Sound Opinions podcasts. All Songs Considered is NPR’s music podcast.


Sound Opinions — Chicago-based podcast Sound Opinions is better than All Songs Considered because hosts Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis have strong opinions, both positive and negative, and aren’t hesitant to express them.


London School of Economics — I can’t possibly listen to all the dozens of LSE podcasts that are published each month, but I hear the world’s top economists, geographers, political scientists and other intellectuals speak, and I like to think I’m a bit more informed because of it.


History Extra — about history, obviously, usually, but not always, with a British focus. The latest episode, about Soviet science, was fascinating.

I might make this list a separate post and ask readers for their own podcast suggestions.



City Council (10am, City Hall) — I’m convinced they start the meetings at 10am just to annoy me. I’ll probably be late, but once I get there I’ll live-blog the meeting via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer. Here’s the agenda.


No public meetings.

On campus


Thesis Defence, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Tommy Harding will defend his thesis, “Molecular Adaptations in Obligate Halophilic Protists.”

Computer Vision (11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Chahna Dixit will speak about “Discriminative Shape Feature Pooling in Deep Convolutional Networks for Visual Classification.”

Gabriela Ilie
Gabriela Ilie

Prostate Cancer (12:30pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Gabriela Ilie will present “Improving the Quality of Life of Patients with Prostate Cancer Through Outcomes-Influences Care.”

Wild and Undecidable Theories (2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) Michael Lambert will speak on “A Categorical Approach to Wild and Undecidable Theories of Modules.”

Board of Governors  (3pm, University Hall, MacDonald Building) — prez Richard Florizone will report back from the elites-only trip to Boston.

Eukaryotes (4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) —  Purificación López-García, from the Université Paris-Sud, will speak on “New Constraints and Old Questions on the Origin of Eukaryotes.”

Electrons (7:30pm, Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building) — Axel D. Becke will speak on “Quantum Theory of Electrons in Matter: Notes, Chords, and Symphonies.”

Saint Mary’s

No events listed.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:40am Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:40am Tuesday. Map:

5:30am: Titania, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southhampton, England
11am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11am: Yantian Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Cagliari, Italy
4:30pm: Titania, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
5pm: Maria Desgagnes, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Sept-Iles, Quebec

6am: ZIM Ontario, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from New York
5pm: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York

5pm: HMCS Iroquois, sailing (towed?) from Dockyard to Liverpool, Nova Scotia for scrap, I believe


We’ll be publishing a few things later today, including Erica Butler’s transportation column this afternoon and a couple of other articles later this evening. Check back on the homepage.

YouTube video

Thing is, next year is going to be even worse.

Tim Bousquet

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. Just to add to the list…

    Someone Knows Something is a true crime CBC podcast out of Ontario

    so is CBC’s Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? podcast.

    Lore podcast for great storytelling.

    And HistoryPod for quick 5 min daily history updates.

  2. Sonic Ruth mentions cops on Gottigen with “huge guns.” Sad but true life for Halifax Police faced with GUN murders

  3. Seconding above recommendations of On the Media, and The Weeds.

    Would also recommend:

    Slate’s Amicus podcast which focuses on the US Supreme Court.

    The Ezra Klein Show which is sort of an ideas/thinkers podcast. I especially enjoyed the recent episodes with Joseph Stiglitz, and another with Deborah Tannen.

    NPR’s Code Switch features journalists of colour talking about things to do with race and identity.

    You Must Remember This is an incredibly podcast about Hollywood and it’s history.

    For lighter nonsense podcasts, I love Jordan Jesse Go, and Stop Podcasting Yourself.

    If you’re interested at all in our current golden age of television, I would recommend the Vulture TV Podcast, and Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan.

  4. An NS podcast to consider: Off-script, a series of “exit interviews” with former NS MLAs who are mostly out of the political scene and thus (hopefully) can be more frank about what happens behind-the-scenes.

  5. Carbon tax – not on electricity, but it will be on your propane and heating oil and rural people will have even higher heating costs that people in HRM.
    The wood stove industry will be happy.

    1. What’s the difference between rural and urban when it comes to heating costs? You can get a heat pump in a rural area, and lots of homes in the urban areas still have oil or propane furnaces. As you note, rural residents have better access to wood as a heating source.

      1. Heating oil and gasoline are more expensive outside central HRM.
        And my heating oil is as much as 6 cents cheaper than the posted price – a recent fill came in at 3.1 cents under posted price. A certain website put the deal together about 4 years ago but is NLA.

  6. I suppose as the producer of Examineradio, I should weigh in on the podcast suggestions as well.

    I can wholeheartedly recommend Tim’s suggestions of CANADALAND (disclosure, I handle national syndication for the show), On The Media and Reveal. If you have an interest in journalism, they’re essential.

    Also on the journalism tip, I regularly listen to the IRE Radio podcast, produced by the Investigative Reporters & Editors not-for-profit organization. The podcast put out by the Columbia Journalism Review is also worth a listen.

    This past weekend I was in Toronto for the Hot Docs Podcast fest and met the creators of the Globe & Mail’s Colour Code. It’s a thoughtful examination of race in Canada and frankly, is much more than I expected from a generally staid publication. It’s a little Toronto-centric at times, and I’m a little disappointed that they only opted to produce 11 episodes, but I’m hoping they’re work to produce a second season.

    Embedded: Another great deep journalism podcast. This one comes from NPR. Each week, veteran broadcast journalist Kelly McEvers goes deep into a story in which most media have only scratched the surface.

    Cited: “Cited is a radio program and podcast about research and higher education from the academy itself–the first of it’s kind. Our work has played nationally on CBC and NPR, as well as over 100 campus and community radio stations in North America. We have also won national radio awards in Canada for three consecutive years.”

    Might sound a little dull and academic, but hosts Sam Fenn and Gordon Katic are consistently engaging and get the most from their interview subjects.

    Conversations: An Australian radio show/podcast that’s all about dialogue. One host, one guest.

    Scene on Radio: Produced by John Biewen and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where I studied audio storytelling. A great example of a storytelling podcast. Frequently American stories, but not exclusively.

  7. YES! Someone else picked up on the Canadian scientist’s ‘so’ tic. Drives me insane, but no podcast puts me to sleep better than Q&Q (yes, that’s a compliment, Bob).

    1. I sent a note on Twitter to Bob MacDonald about all his guests starting their answers with “So…” and he responded, with tongue in cheek I believe, that it is difficult to find ones that don’t.

      1. While on the subject of interview “tics” what’s with the habit call in types have of asking the poor host, “How are you?” even though they might have answered it fourteen times already? And the rudeness of hosts, like Tremonte, who cut off interviewees with “We have to leave it there”, and don’t say thank you?

        1. I’ve had this idea that several hosts over the years, especially women, are still imitating Barbara Frum, hence the cool cut-offs.

  8. NEW YORKER COMMENT – So many podcasts are too long. It’s nice to have a few short ones. This one brings a brief editorial comment from the top of The New Yorker’s Talk of the Town section.

    VOX’S THE WEEDS – Policy wonks Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, and Canadian Sarah Kliff go deep on current issues. Sometimes too deeply USian to be of interest here, but always thoughtful and well informed. (See also: THE EZRA KLEIN SHOW.)

    CRIMINAL – Riveting stories from the US justice system, illuminating issues of abuse, malfeasance, class, and race. (See also: LIFE OF THE LAW and SLATE’S AMICUS podcast about SCOTUS.)

    EFFECTIVELY WILD – Well informed but extremely quirky banter and analysis from Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh, two baseball experts of the stathead school. Miller talks far too much, but their views often serve as an insightful adjunct to the more romantic school of fandom. (See also: THE RINGER MLB SHOW with Lindbergh and Michael Baumann.)

    GRAMMAR GIRL – Slightly stagey but often interesting ruminations on the uses and abuses of the Queen’s tongue, with one foot each in the descriptivist and prescriptivist camps. (See also: SLATE’S LEXICON VALLEY.)

    Regrettably, someone will no doubt recommend the much praised RADIOLAB, but don’t be fooled. It’s a cancer on audio journalism that takes cutesy-pie college radio tricks to a level that does violence to journalistic standards by manipulating absurdly short clips into montages whose authenticity can only be guessed at. Apparently smart people doing horrific journalism, devoid of standards.

  9. Tim, you might try three fine BBC podcasts that I particularly like – In Our Time, with Melyvn Bragg, Thinking Allowed with socioogist Laurie Taylor, and Arts and Ideas.