On campus
In the harbour


1. Shootings

Yesterday, the Halifax Regional Police Department and the Halifax detachment of the RCMP released the following statement:

With the recent spate of violence in our community, HRP and RCMP want to reach out to citizens to provide as much information as possible. Police are as concerned as our citizens about these senseless acts and our investigators are working around the clock to identify and hold accountable those responsible.

We’ve had six homicides to date in 2016, all of which were not random. Charges have been laid in three of these cases. The three files that remain open – Joseph Cameron, Tyler Richards and the incident from last night – have occurred in the last month and involve victims who had been shot.

We’ve been asked if these three most recent homicides are connected. We’re in the early stages of last night’s incident and are exploring the possibility that it is connected to the Tyler Richards homicide. While we continue to investigate the Joseph Cameron homicide, there is no information at this point to link it to the last two homicides.

Our officers are acting on information coming in and are doing everything they can to prevent more violence in our community. We’re also reaching out to citizens and community groups who may have influence, with the hopes of diffusing recent hostilities.

We’re certain there are people out there who know who is responsible for these incidents and we implore them to come forward to police. We also urge anyone with information on any potential retaliation to come forward. Investigators ask anyone with footage from last night’s incident, or who witnessed the shooting, to contact police or Crime Stoppers. Police are doing everything possible to disrupt additional violence, but we need community support. We all have a role to play to stop the violence in our community.

Word on the street is the Richards’ homicide and the shootings on Gottingen Street are part of a drug dispute between two gangs, and there’s fear the violence hasn’t ended.

There was a large police presence in the north end yesterday evening.

Quentrel D’avion Provo, the creator of the Stop the Violence campaign, has organized a march against violence for Sunday at 4pm, starting at the corner of Novalee and Duffus Streets and heading down Gottingen to Grand Parade.

2. Muskrat Falls

A Nalcor Energy schematic of the Muskrat Falls project.
A Nalcor Energy schematic of the Muskrat Falls project.

“The man in charge of the $9.2 billion Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador is stepping down amid increasingly intense scrutiny of cost and schedule overruns — but says he wasn’t pushed to go,” reports the Canadian Press:

“It’s my decision,” Ed Martin said as he announced his resignation Wednesday as president and CEO of Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, effective immediately.

Fallout was swift as, late Wednesday, a source who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly confirmed that the entire Nalcor board is also resigning as of Friday in apparent solidarity.


The joint venture between Nalcor and Nova Scotia utility company Emera (TSX:EMA) will bring power to the island of Newfoundland and on to Nova Scotia using subsea cables and overland transmission lines.

Nalcor has most recently estimated its costs at just over $7.6 billion while Emera’s are almost $1.6 billion.

A recent interim report by EY — formerly Ernst and Young — found problems with oversight. It also said Nalcor’s cost and timeline forecasts last September were “not reasonable.”

The full report, with new price tags and schedules, is expected in May.

Here in Nova Scotia, “Energy Minister Michel Samson, who spoke to his counterpart from Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday morning, said he was assured that in the wake of Martin’s departure ‘it would be business as usual’ for the project,” reports Michael Gorman for Local Xpress:

Samson said he reminded Newfoundland’s Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady “that our electricity plan that we announced here was dependent on the Muskrat Falls project and that any delays were of concern to us.”

When it is fully operational, Muskrat Falls is expected to contribute anywhere between eight and 20 per cent of Nova Scotia’s energy needs.

The minister said he was assured that revised timelines for the project would be released to the province as soon as they are available. Because Nova Scotia’s investment in the project is related only to the Maritime Link subsea cable that will help bring electricity from Newfoundland to here, any cost overruns related to the construction of Muskrat Falls have no impact on Nova Scotians, said Samson.

“There is no exposure of Nova Scotia taxpayers to this project.”

3. Shannon Park


“The preferred concept plan for the redevelopment of the Shannon Park land in Dartmouth includes 17 acres of green or public space,” reports Pam Berman for the CBC:

The proposed plan was finally unveiled at a public meeting Wednesday night where it received largely positive reviews. 

It includes a new field for passive recreation next to the existing elementary school, a greenway for pedestrians and cyclists that cuts across the 34 hectare site and three spots where the property’s history will be commemorated — one in each of the three coves.


Over 10 to 15 years, up to 3,000 units of housing could be built. There would be a mix of buildings with highrises located closer to the MacKay Bridge, as well as mid-rise buildings and townhouses.

Sounds like Larry Uteck Boulevard meets Dartmouth.

4. Ferries, bankruptcy, and whales

The Photo: Polihale at Wikipedia
The Alakai/USNS Puerto Rico/The Cat. Photo: Polihale at Wikipedia

Not unexpectedly, Nova Star Cruises Limited, the company that used to operate the Yarmouth ferry, has filed for bankruptcy. The company lists $15,128,734.68 in liabilities — you can see the complete list of creditors here. Reporter Jennifer Hoegg compiled a searchable map for Nova Scotian creditors, found here.

This gives me the excuse to tell the story about the new ferry. Dubbed “The Cat” by Bay Ferries, after the company’s previous ferry of the same name, the boat was acquired from the US Navy, which had named it the USNS Puerto Rico. How’d the US Navy end up with a ferry? That’s an interesting story.

In 2004, a company called Hawaii Superferry contracted with a boatbuilding company named Astral for the construction of two ferry boats, named Alakai and Huakai, that would provide service between O’ahu, Kaua’i, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. The deal was financed with a $139,731,000 loan secured by the US Maritime Administration.

The company started service between Oʻahu and Maui in December 2007, but because the state had exempted the ferry from normal environmental review, environmentalists immediately filed a court challenge.

The anti-ferry movement had several concerns:

The court decision backed the cries of concerned environmental advocates, Kaua‘i state legislators and county council members who have repeatedly called for an environmental impact statement prior to the start of service.

The ruling says the state Department of Transportation wrongfully exempted Hawai‘i Superferry from a study on its potential to cause traffic jams, kill humpback whales, spread invasive species or increase homeless and drug problems on neighbor islands.

In 2009, three environmental groups — the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition — prevailed in their court battle against the state legislation, the ferry was shut down for good, and the company went bankrupt.

The main creditor, the US Maritime Administration, owed $139 million or so, took possession of the boats, but then sold them to the US Navy for a mere $35 million. The navy then spent another $35 million retrofitting the boats.

The larger Huakai was renamed the USNS Guam and put into service between military bases on Okinawa and Guam. The smaller Alakai was renamed the USNS Puerto Rico and was intended to be used in Latin America. It saw service in Haiti after the earthquake, but ended up sitting idle, tied to a dock in Norfolk.

That’s how Bay Ferries was able to lease the Alaki this spring. The company has a two-year lease at $3.4 million per year, with a two-year option.

But what about those whale concerns? I’ve left repeated messages with the environmental groups in Hawaii, but they aren’t responding.

We’ve got whales here, too, I’m told.


I can’t find any good, or even bad, local commentary this morning.

The Government and On Campus sections are compiled by Kathleen Munro.



Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (10am, Council Chamber, City Hall) — The Halifax Economic Growth Plan 2016-21 is on the agenda. 

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (4pm, Halifax Hall, City Hall) — Bike lanes will be the main topic of discussion. The committee will specifically address plans to extend and improve bike lanes on South Park Street.


Legislature sits (1pm-10pm, Province House)

On Campus

Assisted Death in Canada: Where are we? How did we get here? Where are we going? (7:30pm, Room C170, Collaborative Health Education Building) Jocelyn Downie will be presenting the 2016 Olivieri Lectureship on Medical Ethics.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Thursday. Map:

3:30pm: Oceanex Connaigra, ro-ro cargo, moves from Pier 36 to Pier 41
4pm: Tongala, car carrier, sails from Autoport to sea


Spring might come today, they say.

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

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  1. The water around the Hawaiian islands are the winter mating/breeding grounds for the North Pacific population of humpback whales — the ones that migrate north to B.C. and Alaska in the summer.

    I’m making an educated guess, here, but concern over a high-speed ferry between these islands would be primarily because of the danger of ship strikes. It would be especially problematic in this area because the whales are distracted, and females and escorts often swim slowly when there is a calf present.

    We have humbpacks in the Bay of Fundy, too, but they’re here to eat and the little whales have grown up and picked up some speed, but they’re still at risk. At greater risk are the endangered North Atlantic right whales, which are the slowest swimmers among the large whales. Their population has bounced back a bit after commercial shipping traffic started to get re-routed in the Bay of Fundy, but they are still at risk.

    A high-speed ferry going across the Gulf of Maine greatly increases the chance of ship strikes, which are almost always fatal to whales.

  2. Two things. As for ferries, the last cat also ran over a fishing boat, as I recall, and I believe someone from the small boat was killed. Whales and commercial fishing.

    And a note on the Larry Uteck green space. A good bit of it is the wasteland left from construction, with weeds and rock, no effort to restore or create something interesting. That’s the view from my friend’s balcony.

  3. Can we now put to rest the myth that private industry = good, government = bad?

    As the Muskrat Falls dust up shows, the private sector can be just as fucked up as the public sector.

    Good thing NSP is run so well. : – (

  4. How often do we have random murders? Is there really any need for the police to state that a homicide was not random?

  5. Nova Scotia has paid for a subsea cable to Newfoundland to a hydro facility that is at risk of not getting built. But we have no exposure to risk.

    Isn’t that the same Minister who told Nova Scotians that he had not advanced any money to Nova Star when in fact he knew full well that he had?