1. Biomass, Freedom of Information and the Silence of the DNR Company Men

Yesterday, we published Part 4 of reporter Linda Pannozzo’s “Biomass, Freedom of Information and the Silence of the DNR Company Men” series.

Click here to read “The Case of the Disappearing Forest Age Class Data.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series are no longer behind the paywall.

Also, yesterday we took another one of Pannozzo’s articles — “Muzzling the Forest Keepers: A Field Guide to Boreal Felt Lichen and DNR Message Control” — out from behind the paywall.

2. Housing prices

It’s interesting how people in the real estate industry comment on the Royal LePage house price survey that was released yesterday. Reports Zane Woodford for Metro:

[The] aggregate price of a home in Halifax Regional Municipality overall is up 4.3 per cent year-over-year to $320,656, and the price of a condominium jumped 11 per cent to $350,701.

“It’s not gonna get any worse. It’s only gonna get better,” said Sandra Pike with Royal LePage in Halifax.

“We’re all so looking forward to 2017.”

A news release from Royal LePage gave some of the credit for rising prices to Halifax regional council, and Pike said that’s “absolutely” a factor. [emphases added]

A house sale, obviously, is a transaction between a seller and a buyer. So a good deal for a seller is a bad deal for a buyer, and vice-versa.

This is particularly an issue for young people wanting to buy their first home — everything’s too damn expensive, so they either take on incredible debt or they keep living in rented apartments, never able to build equity or have the other joys of home ownership, like forever fixing shit.

But for people in the real estate industry, increasing prices are only a good thing, and if prices are going to go up again next year, that’s even “better,” and we must “credit” the politicians for such good work. (But as Dartmouth councillor Sam Austin points out in the article, councillors have very little, if anything, to do with house prices.)

3. Ghosts, Sara Corning, and Biafran refugees

We’ve published the latest company and society registrations. This week there are 13 noted, including this one:

Sara Corning

Sara Corning Society
Co-chairs: Isabel Hatfield and Jennifer Chown
Sara Corning, explains the Society in a press release, was born in Chegoggin in Yarmouth County in 1872:

Corning trained as a nurse in the United States and joined the American Red Cross during World War 1. In December 1917, she was amongst the first to volunteer to tend the sick and suffering after the Halifax Explosion. In 1921, working for a relief agency, she arrived in a small village at the foot of Mount Ararat in what is now Turkey to take charge of an orphanage. In 1922, as fighting and lawlessness escalated, Corning became a central figure in the evacuation of the port city of Smyrna. After the rescue, she helped established an orphanage in Greece for the stateless orphans.

She was summoned to Athens in June 1923, where King George II of Greece awarded her, and others involved in the rescue mission, the Silver Cross Medal of the Order of the Saviour, an honour comparable to the Order of Canada. Sara worked at the orphanage until 1924, when she returned to Turkey to work in a residential training school until 1930 when the Near East relief effort was disbanded.

Upon retirement, she returned to Chegoggin, where she lived until her death in 1969 at age 97.

The Society wants to build a peace park near her grave.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

4. Gloria McCluskey

Gloria McCluskey. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Gloria McCluskey isn’t letting retirement slow her down,” reports Jacob Boon for The Coast:

The former Dartmouth Centre councillor is now association chair for the newly created Destination Dartmouth association, which a press release says was formed “to promote Dartmouth’s identity, preserve its heritage and encourage the development of a healthy and inclusive community.”

I’ve long thought there’s probably a way to make some money on Dartmouth nationalism, and now I see that someone is actually buying Facebook ads for a group called “Deamalgamate Dartmouth.” My first thought when I saw the ads was, What would de-amalgamating Dartmouth look like? Would Burnside become a separate city? Westphal an independent suburb? Once I realized that what the group owner probably means is they want to de-amalgamate the HRM, I wondered what the profit angle is. Was the group sponsored by a sign maker looking for work? Or maybe it’s that “Dartmyth” T-shirt guy I wrote about in the company registries a couple of weeks ago. Hmmm.

5. Pharmacy errors

“A pair of Nova Scotia pharmacy managers have been suspended after making prescription drug dispensing mistakes in unrelated cases that ultimately led to the deaths of two patients,” reports Paul Palmeter for the CBC:

The Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists also says one of the pharmacists, Alexandra Willson, misled authorities following the mistake and falsely declared she had implemented a quality assurance program.

The professional misconduct suspensions against Willson and another pharmacist, Leanne Forbes, came following settlements with the college’s investigation committee. The locations of their pharmacies were blacked out in the written decisions released by the college.

Willson’s suspension is for two months after she acknowledged a prescription mistake on May 3, 2016, that led to a patient being admitted to hospital three weeks later with severe infections. The patient died on June 16.

Where’s George Bailey when you need him?

YouTube video

6. Armageddon

“Natural Resources Canada confirms at 5:10 pm Thursday, a 2.6 magnitude earthquake was recorded 18 kilometres east of Halifax,” reports CTV.

Also, says this California boy, a truck drove down Hollis Street, creating more of a shake.

7. And yet, life goes on

“Baby Madelyn Jane Ellsworth made quite an entrance into the world when she was born on New Year’s Day — taking her first breaths over the Halifax harbour, part-way across the MacKay Bridge,” report Heide Pearson and Alexa MacLean for Global News:

Surprising her mom, Ashley Ellsworth, and two paramedics, Madelyn came earlier than her parents were expecting, and well before making it across from Dartmouth to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Ellsworth and her husband were eating at Boston Pizza when she went into labour. They called for an ambulance, which met them in the parking lot.

Paramedic David Giles and his partner quickly put mom into the back of the ambulance and they began their journey across the harbour — but they didn’t get far.

The rest of baby Madelyn quickly followed.

“I got my partner to pull over, we snapped the lights on, she jumped in back, by the time she got in back the baby was delivered,” Giles said.


Believe it or not, Madelyn isn’t the first baby Giles has delivered while spanned over water — he delivered another baby on a Halifax bridge 17 years ago.

Madelyn’s comments about the incident were not comprehensible. Pictures of the creature are at the link.


1. Budget

“By the time a government gets to its fourth year, the ‘fiscal plan’ is locked in. There isn’t any wiggle room on the big-picture stuff,” writes Graham Steele:

But in a $10-billion budget, there is lots of room for small tweaks and changes that don’t mean much to the government, but may mean a great deal to an organization, a community or citizens with a common interest.

Steele goes on to give suggestions on how to influence the budget-marking process.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Charlottetown Guardian:

I sent this question to Minister Robert Mitchell. Please explain if the Buddhists or associates have reached the limit of the land they may [buy].

This appears to be happening quietly and without islanders being made aware? We are not being informed by government as to the purpose of these large land grabs. How much are they paying for the land, are there any restrictions in place, and do they pay property tax? It has been suggested they own properties in the following areas.

Little Sands and High Bank…60 per cent of the community of Heatherdale.

Estimates, they own 30-40 per cent of Brudenell….they own property in Cardigan, Dundas, Valleyfield, Murray River, Cornwall, Blooming Point, Wood Islands, Hopefield, Seven Mile Road, Montague, Uigg, Strathcona, Primrose, Bridgetown, Albion Cross, Forest Hill, Mount Vernon, Souris Line Rd., Union Road, Farmington, Bellevue, Fortune, Stratford and Charlottetown. 

I find this very concerning.

Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village


No public meetings.

A couple of readers have suggested that the super-secret “Human Source Management Solution” tender that was issued yesterday is probably related to the police department’s use of informants. I have no idea why they couldn’t just say that.

On campus


Landon MacKenzie’s 2007 work, Neurocity. Photo: Scott Massey

Landon MacKenzie (12pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — the artist will give a guided tour of her exhibition, Parallel Journey: Works on Paper 1975-2015. The exhibition runs through April 23.

Aging and HIV (12pm, Room C264, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Giovanni Guaraldi, an expert on HIV and aging, speaks on “A Smart Age With HIV: Challenges for Clinical Care of an Aging Population.” Register here.

Judicial Appointments (12:30pm, Room 2021, Marion McCain building) — Erin Crandall, from Acadia University, will speak on “The Politics of Judicial Appointment and Gender Diversity on Nova Scotia’s Courts.”

“What’s Your Poison?” (1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Michael A Quilliam will speak on “Thirty Years of Biotoxin Research at the NRC.”

Senator Kim Pate. Photo: University of Ottawa

“No Justice for Women in Canadian Prisons” (1:30pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — Senator Kim Pate, the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society who was appointed to the Senate last year, will speak. El Jones told me to be there, so I will.

Thesis Defence, Interdisciplinary (1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate S. Meaghan Sim will defend her thesis, “Choice or Circumstance? An Exploration of Breastfeeding Practice Among Nova Scotian Mothers Classified as Overweight or Obese and Income-related Food Insecure.”

Psychology of Music (3:40pm, Room 5260, Life Sciences Centre) — Jonathan Wilbiks will speak.

In the harbour

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

6:15am: ZIM Texas, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
2pm: Mitiq, cargo ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Matane, Quebec
4pm: ZIM New York, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
4:30pm: ZIM Texas, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
6pm: Dorado Leader, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
6pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s

3:30am: ZIM New York, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Kingston, Jamaica
4am: Tokyo Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
4am: NYK Remus, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
10am: OOCL Antwerp, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York


We interviewed El Jones and Ardath Whynacht for this week’s Examineradio, which will be published this afternoon.

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

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  1. I met the kid who was born on the bridge 17 years ago. He was a student in an elementary class near Truro where I was doing a writer visit. The kids got into, “You’re from Montreal? I was born in Montreal!” followed by lots of interjections from other kids saying where they were born — until this guy finally ended it with, “I was born on the MacKay Bridge!” (I think it was the MacKay.) His teacher nodded and said, “Yep, and he has the newspaper clippings to prove it.”

  2. 1. Views – Graham Steele Opinion re Budget

    Words matter. Words have impact, often unintended. These are from a piece intending to be publicly helpful. Consider their source and wider meaning, their reflection of our provincial governing system from one who was inside it and played a vital role. And consider the ever-widening gulf between government and citizens it purports to serve.

    “Cornering me”
    “knows how to work the system”
    “Make them earn”
    “The government may be”

  3. I don’t see apartment living as a reason why people can’t build equity.

    For a flat rate, I don’t have to worry about things like snow removal, repairs, heat, parking, etc, and can take the money that would be the extra needed to be put into a house, and invest it, save it, etc.

    Home ownership in many parts of the world is a non-starter. and people are quite happy renting. With the housing prices the way they’re going, there’s no point in home ownership, as it’s completely out of reach for anyone living alone, and very difficult for many young couples, leaving them exceedingly house poor.

    1. Houses are only investments in a bubble economy anyway, they only require repair, maintenance, and energy and in exchange they provide housing.

  4. Does Madelyn have dual citizenship? Or will she be disparaged by both Dartmouthians and Haligonians?

    1. Unfortunately, neither. It may seem cruel and arbitrary, but tradition dictates that she become a bridge troll and live in the girders of the McKay bridge until she dies, when she can then choose to haunt the convention centre or the airport.