On campus
In the harbour


1. Another reporter leaves the Chronicle Herald

Remo Zaccagna
Remo Zaccagna

Striking Chronicle Herald reporter Remo Zaccagna announced yesterday on Twitter that he has accepted a job as the communications coordinator at Pier 21.

Zaccagna started as a business reporter at the Chronicle Herald, moved on to sports and then to general assignments. I only met Zaccagna recently, when he started filling in at City Hall for Brett Bundale, who went on parental leave. You never know how a new City Hall reporter will do, but Zaccagna jumped right in, understanding the dynamic and getting the stories right from the start. I was and remain impressed with his professionalism and skills. I was doubly impressed when after the strike started, he still came to City Hall and reported for the union publication Local Xpress, continuing on as if nothing had happened.

Zaccagna’s departure continues the decimation of the Chronicle Herald newsroom. He is the sixth striking newsroom employee to find other employment. He follows:

David Jackson
David Jackson

• Province House reporter turned editor David Jackson, hired as press secretary by the premier’s office;


• crime and police reporter Dan Arsenault, now heading allnovascotia’s Newfoundland operation;

Gordie Sutherland
Gordie Sutherland

• editor Gordie Sutherland, hired by the CBC briefly but has moved on to other pursuits;

Michael Gorman
Michael Gorman

• Province House reporter Michael Gorman, hired by the CBC;

Sherrie Borden Colley
Sherri Borden Colley

• reporter Sherri Borden Colley, also hired by the CBC

These are among the best reporters in Halifax. They simply cannot be replaced at the Chronicle Herald — not by anyone, and least not by a group of talentless hacks and scabs.

It’s clear that management at the Chronicle Herald has no desire to put out a quality newspaper. The idea seems to be that the readers are too dumb to recognize or otherwise don’t care about decent reporting, and the paper can publish any old crap and people will read it.

And let’s not forget the six reporters above were preceded by several other great reporters (like Selena Ross) who saw the handwriting on the wall and found other jobs before the strike began. Not everyone can leave town, and the CBC seems to go after reporters who are not only talented but also have name recognition. But there are still plenty of talented journalists walking the picket line — and evidently the Chronicle Herald is just waiting for them to trickle away as well.

I see no end to the strike. Some of the remaining strikers will eventually find other jobs, some will retire. The rest will walk the line, collecting strike pay, forever, I guess. It’s a tremendous waste of talent.

2. 782

“Nova Scotians and Prince Edward Islanders started ten-digit dialling nearly two years ago to accommodate the 782 area code, but so far only about 80 phone numbers use the new code,” reports Melissa Friedman for the CBC.

I’ve must’ve wasted hundreds of hours editing the contacts on my phone to add in the “902,” or dialling a contact only to get the annoying message telling me to use an area code. Multiply that by the million other people in the province, and we have enough wasted time for a new winter holiday.

And think of all the blistered and stressed fingers, punching 10 digits all day long instead of just seven.

3. Monuments

Photo: HFX Women's History Society
Photo: HFX Women’s History Society

“Sarah Toye feels the monuments in the Halifax area should be more representative of its people,” writes Rebecca Dingwell for Metro:

Toye is the secretary of the Halifax Women’s History Society (HWHS). She recently started a social media series – Halifax Manuments – through the society’s Instagram account.

“We are bothered by the dominance of a single demographic in the public space in Halifax,” Toye said Thursday.

In other words, there’s a lack of monuments for women, Indigenous peoples and other marginalised communities.

On the group’s Instagram page they make clear that:

HWHS is not protesting any of the existing historical monuments in Halifax; we simply wish to highlight the lack of diversity in our city’s public spaces. This photo series is aiming to illustrate just how few of our historical monuments give credit to the many women, people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community, the differently abled and other marginalized groups who have made significant contributions to the history of Nova Scotia. They do exist and one of the reasons their historical importance is unknown is precisely because of this lack of public representation.


1. Statistics

In which John Demont confuses productivity growth and the rate of productivity growth.

Worry not. Productivity is increasing, month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year, decade after decade.

But while workers are becoming increasingly productive, their wages aren’t keeping up with that productivity.

Demont looks at our increasing work load and our longer hours and decides that makes us stupid. No, it makes us taken advantage of.

The system is rigged for a tiny elite. Let’s not blame working people for that.

2. Cranky letter of the day

Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps

Published in the New Glasgow News:

To Bishop Brian Dunn and Father John Barry, parish priest at St. Peter’s Parish, Tracadie,

I am amazed at what you are doing, just because you have a Roman collar does not make you God. You sold our pews, they went out of our church last Tuesday. A transfer truck from Prince Edward Island was at our church when I was on my way home. I’m sorry I did not call our New Glasgow newspaper.

These seats came from Mount St. Bernard Chapel, which our former pastor, Father Bernie, purchased with our hard-earned money. Plus, did our main altar go with the seats? I am sure the late Ken Cameron is turning over in his grave at St. Ann Cemetery. Also, did you take our holy altar book? If you think you’re Christian you better look again. The altar was donated by the late Lena MacNeil, our former parishioner.

We also have two churches in Pictou County, St. Andrew’s in Egerton and Christ the King in Trenton. St. Andrew’s was a beautiful country church until it was struck by lightning coming in on power lines. I saw a parishioner who must have loosened the pews. I was a janitor from 1971 to 2001 and never took a cent for my work. Thinking back, I should have, but church was important to me.

Father Barry, a parishioner was dying and wasn’t given the last rites because he did not attend church. I knew your family since 1962 when I worked in Antigonish.

Father Isadore plus the Augustinian fathers and brothers would not likely think much of what you are doing. Plus who should say a mass at the monastery for good sisters?

I am still a good friend of Father Eugene Tramble who came from Monastery.

I will close by saying I hope St. Peter meets you some day to straighten out your life as a priest. Our parishioners will never forget what you and Bishop Dunn did to us. I know I will take this to my grave.

Bill Dewtie, Thorburn


Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.03.05 AM

Mother Jones is a progressive magazine that started publishing in San Francisco in the 1970s. It staggered along for a bit, but by early this century it found its footing. I started really paying attention to the magazine when reporter Mac McClelland travelled to New Orleans to cover Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath — her excellent investigations provided a depth of reporting not found elsewhere.

This year, Mother Jones published reporter Shane Bauer’s exhaustive investigation into private prisons in the United States.

Private prisons have long been an issue for prison reform and human rights activists, and of course for prisoners themselves, but despite their hard work, the issue never got much traction.

Bauer brought impeccable credentials to his reporting — he was a reporter held hostage in Iran, and his subsequent reporting on solitary confinement won accolades and awards. To look at the private prison issue he took the extraordinary step of applying for, and getting, a job as a guard at a private prison in Louisiana. The result was:

35,000 words long, or 5 to 10 times the length of a typical feature, plus charts, graphs, and companion pieces, not to mention six videos and a radio documentary.

It was also big in impact. More than a million people read it, defying everything we’re told about the attention span of online audiences; tens of thousands shared it on social media. The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR’s Weekend Edition picked it up. Montel Williams went on a Twitter tear that ended with him nominating Shane for a Pulitzer Prize (though that’s not quite how it works). People got in touch to tell us about their loved ones’ time in prison or their own experience working as guards. Lawmakers and regulators reached out.

Yesterday, the US Justice Department announced that it is discontinuing the use of private prisons.

This is impactful journalism, journalism that makes a difference and improves people’s lives. Everything journalism should be doing.

But, says Mother Jones:

Shane’s prison project took more than 18 months. That included four months in the prison and more than a year of additional reporting, fact-checking, video production, and legal review, including work by more than a dozen other people on the MoJo staff. And that was the only way we could have gotten that story: By definition, incarceration is invisible to most people, and that’s doubly true for private prisons. Recordkeeping is spotty, public disclosure is limited, visits are difficult. The only people who can describe what really goes on inside are prisoners, guards, and officials, all of whom have a strong interest in spinning the story. To get at the truth, we had to take time, and go deep.

And we had to take considerable financial risk. Conservatively, counting just the biggest chunks of staff time that went into it, the prison story cost roughly $350,000. The banner ads that appeared on the article brought in $5,000, give or take. Had we been really in your face with ads, we could have doubled or tripled that figure—but it would have been a pain for you, and still only a drop in the bucket for us.

Clearly, that kind of investigative reporting cannot be sustained through advertising, and so Mother Jones is embarking on a subscription drive, noting that if “we can find just 2,000 readers who value our reporting enough to each pitch in $15 a month, we’ll generate $30,000 in new monthly revenue, or $360,000 over the course of the next 12 months. That’s enough to fund a big project like Shane’s — every single year.”

It’s a gamble on Mother Jones’ part, but as Paul McLeod and I discuss in today’s Examineradio (published here later today), the future of journalism must depend on readers and listeners paying for it. Advertising doesn’t pay the bills any more, so it’s dependent upon you and me. That’s how Mother Jones will continue to exist, and that’s how the Halifax Examiner will continue to exist.

Click here to subscribe to Mother Jones.

Click here to subscribe to the Halifax Examiner.


No public meetings.

On campus


Thesis Defence, Psychology (10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Jeffrey MacLeod will defend his thesis, “Generalization of Learning in Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Thesis Defence, Sociology (2pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Sinziana Chira will defend her thesis, “In a Class of Their Own: International Students, Class Identity and Education Migration in Atlantic Canada.”

Saint Mary’s

Thesis Defence, Applied Science (9:30am, Science 345) — Suchinta Arif will defend her thesis, “Are Genetic Factors Influencing Cancer Susceptibility and Other Mortality Patterns in the St. Lawrence Beluga?”

In the harbour

The approach to Halifax Harbour, 9:05am Frida. Map:
The approach to Halifax Harbour, 9:05am Friday. Map:

9am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
8pm: STI Duchessa, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Paldiski, Estonia
8pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s

0:30am: Equuleus Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Copenhagen, Sweden
6am: Em Kea, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Montreal


Planning a vacation is a lot of work.

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

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  1. The “productivity” article referenced was… unhelpful. Just a bunch of words on a page. Mistaking level for growth is the least of its problems. Not defining productivity well is likely the biggest weakness of the article. It seems like he’s talking about labour productivity, but even that is hard to say.

    Labour productivity measures how much of value we can produce per working person. It changes for the better when we use our capital to employ technology, machinery and ideas.

    Economics is the story we tell ourselves about where our wealth comes from and where it goes. It’s an important story that most people could easily understand more about… but not from articles which seem to serve no other purpose than filling a word count.

    Economists concern themselves deeply with Productivity Growth because getting a better shovel, or boat, or fertilizer, etc means that more output can be made from any given combination of labour and natural resources inputs. Productivity growth is how we got the modern world and everything in it.

    Statscan actually has a great tutorial on their measurement of productivity if you want to dive in deep… the story doesn’t need to be the complicated.

    Here are some things I think are interesting about productivity from a Nova Scotia perspective.

    – Productivity is not about how hard people work – noting low productivity is not an insult to our work ethic. It’s a story about how our wealth is used.
    – NS is 20% less productive than Canada. Canada is 20% less productive than the US.
    – Nova Scotia is a great beneficiary of increases in global labour productivity through lower prices… but we’re not counting the larger costs of those low prices: ecological, independence, knowledge and experience, in the GDP models.
    – Productivity growth in resource extraction economies is NOT a good thing
    – As much as we love our smart phones and the internet, it’s not hard to see why modern technology investments are not returning the kind of productivity gains of past innovations like: the shovel, the fridge, the propeller, the tractor, the net, and so on…
    – Productivity growth lags in NS because Capital is very efficiently drained from our otherwise wealthy economy – mostly leaving the region, aggregated by a few or simply churned in unproductive ways (bureaucratic waste and inefficiency). That’s how we get growth without corresponding increases prosperity.
    – Growth is only interesting if it leads to broadbased household prosperity. Growth that only depletes our resources and aggregates capital outside our region and into the hands of a few is not interesting and helpful at all.

    The reason all this is important is because our future does not get better unless we employ capital better and get broadbased benefits to household prosperity… the things we actually care about.

    1. “Growth is only interesting if it leads to broadbased household prosperity. Growth that only depletes our resources and aggregates capital outside our region and into the hands of a few is not interesting and helpful at all.”

      I normally wouldn’t give a shit about comments like this, but if you are going to run for public office in my riding under the veil of bringing new and fresh ideas, this can’t stand unchallenged:

      Your political party under Baillie (and through extension Hamm) and others have done nothing for, or actively worked against the people in possibly the worst health crime in the province’s history involving the air pollution at Northern Pulp. All to the benefit of foreign operators. I’m sorry, but if you wanted to be taken seriously, you should never have aligned yourself with the Orange/Red/Blue machine. It all comes out brown in the end.

  2. Michael Gorman is not anywhere near being a best reporter – he’ll fit in well at the CBC. Which brings up another issue. People no longer need to pay for things they don’t want, value, or respect, outside of our taxes paying for CBC news. Like bundled cable, there is public contempt of an outdated model, and there are options.

    Blendle is the way of the future for print. You pay for what you want to read, and support the people you respect. AllNovaScotia works because it is business reporting, and not agenda driven for the most part. But they’ve filled that vacuum, it won’t work for anyone else. People who think these old time subscription based models will work in the face of crushing and repeated evidence to the contrary are wasting time, and in most cases, wasting their lives. And it is very detrimental to quality journalism. This is like WW1 battle mentality. Keep lining men up in rows and march them forward to their death, unwilling to adapt.

    1. ” AllNovaScotia works because it is business reporting, and not agenda driven for the most part.”

      Seriously? I subscribe to AllNS and think they do solid reporting, but by their very nature (ie a publication that reports on and whose target audience is businesses and their owners) they have a very clear and very obvious agenda.

      1. ALLNS appeal is far beyond business and business owners. In fact, there’s little there that would be of benefit to a business owner. It’s more fact based reporting on business, with little agenda driven babble, other than the occasional opinion piece which represents a very small section of their total output. Can you summarize their very clear and very obvious agenda, other than reporting facts? Is that an ‘agenda’ these days?

        1. Their reporting is overwhelmingly and unquestioningly in favour of private profit. Which is fine. Virtually every newspaper shares that position, but to claim that that’s not an agenda is pretty questionable.

          I think you’re confusing “not having regular columnists or editorials” with “not having an agenda.”

          1. But where is actual examples of this overwhelming agenda? All you have given is your opinion, but little else. And your analysis of my position is as confusing as your definition of an imagined bias. As far as I can tell, any media outlet that isn’t throwing molotov cocktails at every business in sight has an overwhelming agenda by your definition. By the way, they do have regular columnists and editorials. Do you actually read ALLNS, it seems there’s a disconnect here. Look at the last two days for example, where there has been opinion – the story on the biomass boiler – it is far from favorable to business. Show us some examples that stray from fact based reporting on business into agenda driven. If it’s as systematic and overwhelming as you say, you should be able to do a C&P of their daily email update with multiple offending stories. That shouldn’t take long if it’s true. Is it the Seymour Schulith story? Mink farms? You realize that their business model is to report on business events, and court cases in the same vein. This would require reporting on business that makes profit. I think you have confused the term purpose with agenda. An agenda would be irrational and biased reporting that private business is superior. Well they certainty didn’t go out of their way to paint a pretty picture of Huckster and Grisley today. Your argument has gotten lost in semantics to my main point. Agenda driven news turns people off that don’t subscribe to that agenda. Turned off people won’t throw down the money. And in this day and age, you can’t run a blog on a segment of the people out there. You need all the money. That doesn’t mean you stop reporting fact. It means you drop polarized opinion of the facts that can’t be backed up with irrefutable evidence.

  3. I guess if it ever became clear that there was no option for settlement, and laws in the Maritimes certainly don’t facilitate that, then those who remain could monetize Express as a commercial enterprise. Maybe even do a paper edition It wouldn’t pay as much as what they got at the Herald, at least not at first, but it could possibly take off. I don’t know though. I’d rather they were at the Herald, with its long history, to make it a good newspaper again. I’m sure they would too.

    1. Hilariously, Peter Moreira wrote an article in the CH a day ago regarding Innovacorp. In the title line, it was misspelled Innovacrop. It was left like that for most of the day lolol.