1. Bill McEwen

Last night, Dartmouth East NDP candidate Bill McEwen abruptly dropped out of the race, issuing this statement:

Effective immediately, I have resigned from my position as the NDP candidate for Dartmouth East.

I apologize for my past actions and believe that I must be accountable to my community and the residents of Dartmouth East for inappropriate statements I made and supported in the past.

Sexism, misogyny, and homophobia are pervasive within our culture.

We must work hard to combat these, and other forms of oppression within our communities, and within ourselves.

I regret my behavior and I want to take full responsibility for my actions.”

McEwen’s resignation came just minutes after CTV reported that “McEwen admits to publishing sexist content to a website he hosted and using rude language to describe people who are gay.”:

McEwen started a website in 2011 called The Bullpen, which states it is an online magazine for men and not women. It goes on to say, “In a world of breast implants, fast food, and cheap beer, what’s not to love about being a man?”


McEwen also acknowledged some Facebook posts from 2012 and 2013, where he uses an offensive slang to describe people who are gay.

“I am very, very sorry about that,” says McEwen. “I know that this is a really terrible thing to have published and I apologize to everyone affected by it. The misogynistic stuff, the stuff about the LGBTQ communities, I am very supportive of equal rights and so that was really poor judgement.”

McEwen says he took down the website because he was uncomfortable with the content. He admits he deleted the Facebook comments.

The “about” page of The Bullpen is archived on the internet, here.

McEwen and I were in the same journalism circles; I’ve probably met him but I honestly can’t remember him. He was a freelancer for the old Open File, where he did good work.

People are telling me that he’s a good person, and note that we’ve all done stupid things in our past. No doubt the same is being said about Matt MacKnight, the Liberal candidate who resigned last week after it was revealed that a few years ago he made an ugly joke on Twitter about Downs Syndrome.

But so it goes. Candidates are scrutinized, their pasts dredged up, regrettable moments revealed.

Sure, there should be room for forgiveness, acceptance of flawed humanity (we’re all flawed), and acknowledgement that people can learn and grow — dog help us if that’s not true.

But no one’s guaranteed a seat in the legislature.

Moreover, I think I’d have more sympathy for the “I’ve matured since then” argument if the candidates addressed that maturation upfront, before their regrettable past moments were revealed. (And how could McEwen think that an entire blog he was responsible for would not eventually be made public?)

Imagine if McEwen had started his campaign by saying “Look, I was not a great person, and I was responsible for this stupid, ugly stuff that was on a website I published. Here’s how I realized I was being a bad person, and then I did X, Y, and Z to address those shortcomings, and now I think that I’ve learned from that process, and that maturation process gives me insight into the human condition and empathy. Maybe you disagree, but I’m putting it out there so we can talk about it.”

Had he done that, McEwen would be a hero. Everybody wants to get on board with a redemption story — we’d all be singing Amazing Grace and welcoming the prodigal son back into the fold. But hidden sins revealed? The crowd is gathering stones.

2. Deficit

Gary Burrill

“Nova Scotia’s NDP announced Monday it would add close to $1 billion in red ink over four years, citing Justin Trudeau’s deficit spending as a model for the East Coast province,” reports Michael Tutton for the Canadian Press:

“We think this is a turn we need to make,” [NDP Leader Gary Burrill] said after releasing the 28-page party platform as the campaign reached its halfway point.

“The answer the federal Liberals gave in their last budget and in their last platform about this was the right one.”

Trudeau’s government is forecasting a $28.5-billion federal deficit in 2017-18.

Burrill’s platform projects this year’s deficit in the province would be $256 million, and by 2021 would total $966 million over their mandate.

Marieke Walsh details the spending plan for Global:

Over four years the NDP’s spending promises include:
• $123 million for primary care
• $60 million for new long-term care beds
• $229.05 million for early childhood education
• $138.48 million for free Nova Scotia Community College Tuition
• $76.22 million to reduce university tuition by 10 per cent over four years
• $164.87 million for income assistance

Burrill has hit upon the fundamental contradiction of the provincial Liberal government, which has embraced an austerity agenda 180 degrees in opposition to the federal Liberal government, which is embracing deficit spending. Both approaches can’t be right, so Liberals should explain themselves.

Deficit spending isn’t by definition a bad thing. We borrow and spend like crazy in times of war, because (theoretically) the enemy is an existential threat to our society. One could argue that the vast poverty we’re experiencing in Nova Scotia is also an existential threat to our society, and so we should go into debt to address it.

Even traditional Keynesian economics supports deficit spending if that spending stimulates future economic growth. I’ll leave it to people smarter than me to decide if Burrill’s proposals meet that criteria, but I’m glad he’s opened up the conversation. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s staked out a political position that differentiates the NDP from the other parties.

3. Occupational health

Joseph Isnor, the owner of United Roofing, was sentenced to four months in jail yesterday, reports Steve Bruce for Local Xpress:

Isnor, 47, pleaded guilty in November in Halifax provincial court to a charge of failing to ensure fall-protection equipment was used while working at a height above three metres.

The court was told the workers were wearing harnesses that weren’t attached to lifelines.


Isnor has come to the attention of the Labour Department more than 60 times over the years. He now has 11 convictions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including 10 for fall-protection violations.

4. Stunting

The Google Maps satellite view shows that the 104 is a wide open twinned highway near Pine Tree, wide enough for a 74-year-old man to drive like a maniac.

There were two RCMP releases yesterday involving stunting. The first:

At 10 a.m. today, RCMP Eastern Traffic Services observed a car travelling at a very high rate of speed west bound on Highway 104 in James River. The vehicle was clocked at a speed of 178km/h in a 100km/h zone, 78km/h over the posted speed limit.

The 19-year-old male from Newfoundland was charged for Stunting under the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act. The fine for stunting in Nova Scotia is $2,422.50.

And the second:

At 5 p.m. on May 14, RCMP Eastern Traffic Services observed a car travelling at a very high rate of speed while catching up to an unmarked police vehicle on Highway 104 in Pine Tree, Pictou County. The vehicle was clocked at 165 km/h in a 110 km/hr zone, 55 km/hr over the posted speed limit.

The 74-year-old male driver, who had three children with him in the vehicle, was charged for Stunting under the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act. In addition, his license was suspended for 7 days and his vehicle was seized. The fine for stunting in Nova Scotia is $2,422.50.

This is the flip side of twinning: give people a wide open stretch of highway like that part of the 104, and they’ll drive like maniacs.


1. Death in custody

“[Today], May 16, the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) and the Halifax Police Service will reach the 11-month mark in their suppression of the name of a 41-year-old man who died in a Halifax police cell,” notes Bill Turpin. “That means it will have been 11 months since SiRT supposedly began investigating the death of CR, as I call him.”

Turpin goes on to say he will begin investigating the death himself, and he asks the public for help.




Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (Tuesday, 4:30pm, Office and Maintenance Building, Point Pleasant Park) — nothing to write home about.

Halifax Green Network | Final Phase Development (Tuesday, 6pm, Atlantica Hotel Halifax) — info here.


Audit & Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall) — the new auditor general, Evangeline Colman-Sadd, will present her first work plan.

A possible visitor to the Halifax Explosion memorial.

Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space) — the committee is going to place a time capsule, I think at Needham Park, but I guess they were spending too much time with logos and such, and so kind of screwed up the time capsule thing:

Digital content was discussed and HRM advised that a USB Drive or portable hard drive would be a preferred method of storing this material and could be accommodated in the new Time Capsule.

The Virtual or “live” digital content was discussed, with the idea presented that the public could provide their own Halifax Explosion content/experiences. The stories, images, etc would be captured in electronic format and be hosted on a website. Due to the considerable resources curating and managing this project would require, it is not feasible at this time.

This reminds me of a science fiction story I read some years ago. The plot involves a lost time traveller, stuck in his past and our present-day. The time traveller recalls that the people of today are making a time capsule that won’t be opened until his own time in the far future, and so he goes to the site of the building of the time capsule and convinces the guy in charge of the construction project to include a message to those people of the future, so they can come back in time and save him. I don’t recall the name of this story, or its author, but it has stayed with me all these years. I’m certain one of our well-read readers will know.

But since we’re building this thing in Needham Park, let’s put a message in from a made-up lost time traveller, so if somehow the future actually does invent time travel, and they think one of their own is stuck back here in the moments before World War III, and they attempt to save him by sending another time traveller back, we can nab that real time traveller from the future and, I don’t know, find out what stocks to buy or who’s going to win the World Series or whatever. Or maybe we can convince the time traveller to go back and tell the committee to stop wasting so much time on logos and get on the digital content for the time capsule already.

Halifax Green Network | Final Phase Development (Wednesday, 6pm, School Secondary Du Sommet, Halifax) — info here.

Public Information Meeting – Case 20662 (Wednesday, 7pm, Sackville Public Library) — Linda Williams wants to build some houses on 10 acres of land on First Lake Drive.


The legislature and its committees won’t meet until after the election.

On campus



Supporting Career Success in Nova Scotia for New Immigrants (Tuesday, 8:30am, the auditorium named for a fucking bank, McCain Building) —  a panel discussion on immigrants’ career experiences.

Registration is limited to 100 participants. Free child care will be available.  Register here.

Raises are Also Nice (Tuesday, 9am, Room 302, Student Union Building) — Floria Aghdamimehr, a Productivity Wellness Consultant, will present, “Gratitude at Work: A Practice for Getting Results.” Register here.

CRC Candidate Interview Seminar in Industrial Engineering (Tuesday, 10:45, MA310) — Prem Thodi of Memorial University will speak on “Risk Based Decision Making for Marine Systems.”

Digital Forensics (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) —Creighton Barrett will speak on “Digital Forensics Tools and Methodologies in Archival Repositories.”


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Donika Shala will speak on “Assessing the Effects of Lighting Regimes on the Productivity of a Microalgae Reactor,” and Logan Slade will speak on “TFEB Helps Breast Cancer Cells Overcome Doxorubicin Chemotherapy.”

YouTube video

Submarine (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Richard Ayoade’s 2010 film

In the harbour

2am: Vega Omega, cargo ship, sails from Pier 41 for Palm Beach, Florida
10am: Nica, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from sea
11am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
1pm: Vera D, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Mariel, Cuba


Rain, they say.

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. With $124 million earmarked by the PC Party for the film industry I can see why John Wesley is donning the PC hat.

    Stand up for our aquifers, say no to the PC

  2. Goldilocks and the Three Political Parties

    For the next two weeks I’m a PC candidate in Halifax Chebucto. But for the last 20 years I’ve been a citizen concerned with the economic development of Nova Scotia. In that capacity I couldn’t help but write to share my thoughts on this Deficit discussion.

    An important change required in provincial economics and accounting is taking a more broad view of the impact of policies and decisions on all people and all the province over time rather than just one group or another. Rather than cutting the pie into ever smaller slices, good public policy should be designed to expand the pie and (now I’m getting hungry) view the pie as a whole.

    Debt to GDP ratio

    The PC plan connects and defines acceptable levels of debt to the size of our economy. It speaks to the notion of actively growing our economy and actively managing our debt using a new accountable and understandable decision-making tool. And it’s a clear, distinctive difference between the parties at the moment.

    Our experience has been that the Liberal plan is to reduce the deficit/debt as a very high priority because they believe it is costing Nova Scotia more than we can afford. This has reinforced the position among many Nova Scotians that all government debt is bad.

    In fact though, as Nova Scotia’s total economy has grown the existing debt has become a steadily smaller portion of our total wealth. The same experience national lead to the federal Liberal position that is exactly the opposite of the current NS provincial Liberals.

    The new NS NDP are deeply empathetic to the most pressing problems of the day and have made it clear in their platform and narrative accompanying it that solving those problems right now justifies large expenditure irrespective our economy’s current capacity to pay. A dramatic increase in debt is required in their view and, as I read it, they are open to more debt if they believe it will solve current social and economic problems.

    For a while now economists have recognized that GDP, however measured, was a better mark to measure debt capacity against than simply a straight number.

    For regular people this should make sense. You go to the car dealer. You want to buy an expensive new pickup truck. What does the sales team ask? They ask how much you make? Your ability to take on payments on the truck depends on how much you make.

    It’s the same with the province. Our ability to carry debt depends on the size of our economy… how much we make. So, you’ll see in the costing that the Progressive Conservative plan is to use BOTH the increase in income created by economic programs AND debt (which is available at historically low rates) all accounted for and kept carefully in check to balance the books and set the limits for what we can afford. In the platform cost summary this is all expressed as “holding the debt to GDP ratio at the current level”.

    The idea is that as the economy grows our ability to responsibly handle debt also increases.

    It’s my understanding that the Liberals don’t support this view.

    It’s my understanding that the NDP do support this view but look at it in reverse – that is to say, spend the money and increase the debt in hopes the economy will grow. And in fact their recent platform plan would require that the economy grow by at least 2% per year in all of the next four years to support the new debt and keep the Debt/GDP ratio in check. (Economists are actually expecting about half that.)

    My understanding of the PC position is that we should actively manage the debt by holding the Debt/GDP ratio the same over the next four years thereby defining the amount of additional debt we can take on.

    That means if modest spending policies do increase economic growth we can afford to take on more debt. If not, we can’t. Again, this should be understandable to any householders and this plan puts the PC party squarely in the middle between the two other party’s plans.

    Yes, this idea is new. Yes, it’s complicated. Yes, this is accounting and it involves ‘percents’. But it flows from established economic theory and it is supported by historic experience in the post WWII era. This is the best current thinking on managing how to balance current needs with our responsibilities to the rising generations who will pay these bills.

    In my view the PC plan is the most responsible, accountable and verifiable.

    Yes, all this is boring… that’s the whole idea! Low risk. Low drama. High accountability.

    Take a look at the platform document. It’s actually well designed and easy to read. It’s not boring. It’s a real plan that lays out clearly where we are and where we could go from here.

    I’m DEEP into all this and happy to talk about it any time.

    John Wesley

    1. Debt: yet another symptom of a bigger root issue & question: why does debt exist except to keep debt-slavery alive?
      We let money decide how we as a society evolve and advance and yet money is a made-up concept that we all think needs to exist. What we need is to separate the traded commodity called ‘currency’ from the ‘unit of exchange’ that allows us to acquire goods & services. Right now there’s a huge (gargantuan) conflict of interest if one of the only legal options we have to buy anything is also controlled and unfathomably restricted by private banks who want to trade that one option as a commodity. If your gut reaction is to shout out “because: inflation!” then you need to start tracking when money went digital because nobody is including that in conversations about inflation – it defies logic (over 90% of Canadian ‘money’ is now digital). Sucks for us! Since everything is already digital and not tied to any precious metal like it used to be, let’s continue that way; why restrict the units of exchange that governments / people have access to? It makes no sense.
      Dear political parties; when the light bulb turns on for you, let us know and then we can move into the next dimension together….

    2. With all due respect Mr. Chisholm, you should go explain sock puppet austerity measures to the people who are waiting 12 hours+ at the Cape Breton Regional ER, some of who are literally falling out of their chairs. Or to any of the minimum wage workers who barely or do not make ends meet. Or anyone who has zero financial flexibility from being crushed underneath the weight of student debt.

      People are starting to wake up and realize that there is no point to an economy that exploits and leaves so many behind in the name of budget balancing.

  3. When they proposed to allow electric motor assisted bicycles to be operated on Ontario public streets, they limited the e-bike’s top speed to 32kph…. of course people can hack the governor if they wish, but then the e-bike is no longer street legal. Segways are much harder to hack, the only go about 12,5mph or a little over 20kph; but someone will probably hack them in the future. The reason for the speed limitations is partly for safety because it takes a higher level of operator skill to drive these vehicles safely at greater speeds. For the manufacturer, it enables them to get greater distance per battery charge. So when operated within the the legal and manufacturer’s guidelines these e-vehicle are considered relatively safe to operate by the general public.

    Why do we have cars being built that can travel at speeds significantly higher than say 125kph? The highest legal speed limits on Canadian highways are 120kph in BC, 110 in AB, MB, SK, NB, NS, the remainder are 100kph, except for Nunavut and PEI which are both 90kph. For the United States: The highest speed limits are generally 70 mph (113 km/h) on the West Coast and the inland eastern states, 75–80 mph (121–129 km/h) in inland western states… with one small stretch of freeway in Texas where 85mph (137kph).

    So what is my point in all this you might wonder? Why not put speed limiters on all Canadian highway rated vehicles to limit the maximum capable speed to be 125kph? They legislated bike helmets for bicycles, headlights on in daylight, seat belts on at all time (expect for certain operators)… just to name a few of the more common legislated-for-safety type regulations. If stopping stunt driving on highways is safer for the public, just legislate it, eh? Sure some people will defeat the speed limiters through hacks; but that is human nature, right?

    Do I really think legislating the maximum speed through the incorporation of speed limiting governors is the way to go… no not really; but it is done to/for the public in many other instances, why not highway rated vehicles?

  4. Ian Fairclough has submitted a fine article on the Highway 104, Stellarton/New Glasgow to Antigonish stretch, in today’s Local Xpress. The RCMP officer who is cited in that article identified that this highway has been made a priority for their surveillance and enforcement. This is one part of what is needed to make this roadway much safer in the immediate term.

    In the OPUS Report, two other recommendations made would be most beneficial but they require the provincial government to do it. These would be- improving the signage and broadening the shoulder area of the roadway to allow for vehicles to completely pull off the highway should problems develop.(No mention of any of this since the Liberal government announced that it would twin this stretch-something that is years away!))

    Fairclough’s attention to this stretch is not the same old media interest because there is carnage or interest because there are incidents of stunting. Stunting occurs daily on this stretch of highway , as it likely does between Pictou County and Halifax. The increased police presence will do a lot to reduce the speeding, and Ian Fairclough’s efforts as a journalist will reap dividends for all who travel this stretch of highway and want to avoid dishing out a few hundred bucks for speeding or a couple of thousand for, as the Examiner puts it- driving like a maniac.
    Publishing the number of tickets issued, as is done in the Fairclough piece, is helpful- informative too.

    This is the sort of attention that this stretch of highway has not been receiving. Hopefully the enforcement will continue and the media will “show up” other than to take a photo of carnage.

  5. The link to registration for “Supporting Career Success in Nova Scotia for New Immigrants” doesn’t work. However, I was able to work out the link by viewing the source, and confirm that the thing was in fact this morning, so registration would have been somewhat moot anyway.

  6. The 19 year old from Newfoundland was caught speeding on an untwinned portion of the 104. He was travelling at nearly twice the speed limit in what is already one of the deadliest stretches of highway in the province.

  7. Very clever Black man saves world from hackers………….
    Ilfracombe is a nice place on the Bristol channel, spent 2 weeks there a long time ago.
    In other news yesterday, Carlos Beals was sworn in as a member of the HRM Board of Police Commissioners. The lady sworn in last month didn’t show up, nor did Sylvia Pariss show up but Stephen Graham, former senior Mountie, attended after missing the 9 previous meetings in 2017.
    In Amherst the bylaw states :
    ‘ An absence from two consecutive meetings without just cause as determined by the chair and Board members shall be cause for the replacement of a member appointed by Council. ‘
    Mr Graham is a provincial appointee but the minister couldn’t care less about his poor attendance record – missed over 40% of meetings since he was sworn in.