1. Monster Lizard

Everything is cancelled, including transit, schools, universities, malls, liquor stores, etc… everything except Province House.

2. Teachers

On Saturday, Premier Stephen McNeil called the legislature into session for 8pm tonight in order to introduce legislation forcing a contract on teachers. His press release:

This week, the third deal recommended by the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union to its membership failed in a ratification vote. This was the third deal — all were reached at the bargaining table and recommended by the union.

The latest deal contained fair wage increases and made investments in classrooms. It showed we wanted to work with teachers to make our classrooms stronger.

After three tentative agreements, it is clear there is an impasse.

The strike action by the union has impacted students and their families for too long. The union’s actions and directives have caused harm to students — to their learning outcomes, university and college ambitions, and athletic aspirations. This is not acceptable and can no longer continue.

I wrote the speaker and requested he call back the legislature on Monday, Feb. 13.

I want to assure Nova Scotians that I have done considerable soul searching. It is clear: we must bring an end to this dispute so the lives of students and parents can return to normal.

On Monday, we will table legislation that will bring an end to this dispute as soon as possible.

The legislation will be introduced (first reading) tonight, and second reading will take place at 12:01am Tuesday. Dates and times haven’t been set for the rest of the process, but Graham Steele says it will take between one and two weeks to pass the legislation. Michael Gorman says the legislation will probably be passed by Friday.

There was a wide-ranging conversation on my Facebook page about what the blizzard means for the operation of Province House. Steele is of the opinion that the blizzard serves McNeil’s purposes, in that it will limit the number of people able or willing to protest outside. Andrew Younger says that McNeil has told all MLAs, including Halifax-area MLAs, that they’ll be able to expense the cost of a downtown hotel room Sunday and Monday nights so they can walk to Province House.

Whatever the reason, it’s astounding that McNeil would risk the safety of Province House support workers — the security guards, staffers, janitors, legislative librarians, etc. required for a session of the House — who now must travel through a blizzard to get to work. (A dozen reporters will also have to make the trek.) A one- or two-day delay would have changed nothing, made no difference in the politics or outcome of the situation, but would have saved these workers immense hardship and risk.

NSTU president Liette Doucette responded to McNeil’s announcement as follows:

This evening through a government press release we found out Premier McNeil intends to impose back-to-work legislation on teachers. This is consistent with the McNeil government’s well documented lack of respect for the collective rights of workers.

Teachers have been taking a stand for better classroom conditions. They are tired of having their concerns ignored. Unfortunately, the government has not been willing to make the needed investments to improve our education system. It’s clear Premier McNeil knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. A legislated contract will do nothing to improve the state of our schools and will only further erode the trust between teachers and this government.

3. Mumford Terminal

Photo: Stephen Archibald

The city this morning issued a Request for Proposal for the replacement of the Mumford Transit Terminal:

The goal is to determine the site requirements to accommodate existing and projected operational demands at the West End Terminal, and identify the site which both meets these demands and provides a high level of customer service. The Guiding Principles of this project are as follows:

• To plan, design, and build to meet current and future operational growth.
• Design to provide universal accessibility.
• To elevate the quality of the public transit experience by providing improved customer environment.
• To make the facility a community asset.
• To ensure facility is located in an optimal location that is practical, efficient, and operationally feasible.

This can’t happen soon enough. The existing Mumford Terminal is dangerous to get to, too small, has an unworkable inside space to escape the elements, is trashed up, and is generally a terrible experience.

The plan for a new terminal must be completed by March 31, 2018. After that, the plan will be need to approved by city council and a new tender issued for actual construction.


1. Teachers say no. So McNeil says…

Sean Casey, 16, rallied with his fellow Citadel students on Friday, December 2, to support their teachers.

“Premier Stephen McNeil had plenty of potential (Hobson’s) choices he could have chosen while he filled his weekend with ‘considerable soul searching,’” writes Stephen Kimber. “He chose the worst…”

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

2. My Bloody Valentine

In his latest Night Time Podcast, Jordan Bonaparte interviewed director George Mihalka and actor Paul Kelman about their involvement in the classic 1981 slasher film, My Bloody Valentine, which was shot in the Sydney Mines area, including in the mine itself.

“While preparing my coverage of the film, I decided to seek out and revisit some of the many great outdoor locations used in this film,” writes Bonaparte:

I did it both to challenge my ability to use google maps, and to see how much has changed since in the 36 years since My Bloody Valentine’s release. 

To locate the sets, I started by taking stills from the blu-ray version of the film of the various locations I hoped to find. I then clicked and dragged my way through the streets of Sydney Mines looking for similar features. For the hard to find spots I couldn’t locate, I shared the stills to the “North side  Caper Memories Facebook Group” where the locals were quick to point me in the right direction.

I present to you now the present day state of the various outdoor sets from My Bloody Valentine. A lot can change in 36 years.

At the time of the filming, Sydney Mines was reeling from the recent closure of the mine, but things don’t appear to have improved. Bonaparte’s description of the above photos explains:

As TJ, Axl and crew make their way to the union hall we get our first glance at beautiful downtown Sydney Mines…err Valentine Bluffs. The scene has changed quite a bit in the last 36 years; mainly the large red building on the far right and in the center have been torn down and replaced with nothing. 


Last night, while all of Halifax was rightly focused on the impending blizzard, I was fixated on Oroville Dam in northern California, the tallest dam in the United States. I lived in Chico, 30 miles north of the dam, for 16 years, and often travelled on and around Lake Oroville, swimming in the lake, hiking in the adjacent foothills.

A few days ago, the concrete spillway to the dam started breaking apart, and so officials slowed water releases while they assessed the situation.

The long California drought is over, and a series of big, warm storms has been dumping rain and melting the Sierra snowpack, quickly filling the reservoir. Yesterday, for the first time in the reservoir’s 49-year history, water topped the level of the second, emergency spillway, which is not a concrete structure but just a ravine built for that purpose. A few hours later, dam workers noticed that the emergency spillway was eroding quickly, and officials feared that it would breach, sending a 30-foot wall of water down the Feather River.

Nearly 200,000 people living in low-lying areas downstream were evacuated last night, and the broken, concrete spillway was reopened, sending 100,000 cubic feet of water per second down the river — an enormous amount of water, but not enough to top the levees lining the river. The hope was to lower the lake level to below the emergency spillway.

This morning, it appears that the situation has stabilized — water is no longer topping the emergency spillway, and hopefully the structure will hold. There is, however, a series of storms bringing yet more rain to the area in coming days.

A 30-foot wall of water would be devastating, flooding entire communities. Thankfully, the dam itself is sound; a collapse of the dam would be biblically catastrophic, killing many thousands of people and destroying much of Sacramento.




Everything is cancelled.


Halifax & West Community Council (6pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.



Law Amendments (POSTPONED, Province House) — the public hearing on Bill No. 59, the Accessibility Act, has been postponed to an as-yet-unscheduled date.

Legislature sits (8pm, Province House)


Law Amendments (POSTPONED, Province House) — the public hearing on Bill No. 59, the Accessibility Act, has been postponed to an as-yet-unscheduled date.

Standing Committee on Economic Development (1pm, Province House) — it seems odd, but just as they are forcing a contract on teachers, legislators will pause long enough to hold a hearing on “The Role of Early Learning and Child Care in Economic Development.” Sandra McKenzie, deputy minister of the Education Department; J.L. Huntington, who has the title of Acting Executive Director, Early Years; Shelley Thompson, the director of Early Childhood Development Services; and Tammy Findlay, who is an Associate professor of Political and Canadian Studies at the Mount, will be questioned.

On campus


The university is closed today; all events are cancelled.


Blind Date with a Book (11am, Killam and MacRae Libraries) — Apparently they’ve got some “discreetly wrapped books” sure to “quicken your pulse”.

If you’re looking for mystery, fantasy, poetry, romance, or… science fiction, the Killam and MacRae libraries are where you’ll want to be. Blind Date with a Book wants to set you up with the book of your dreams, featuring sharp and witty profiles better than anything you’ll find on Tinder. Just come to the lobby of the Killam Library (Studley Campus) or the MacRae Library (Agricultural Campus) on Valentine’s Day. Check out the display of discreetly wrapped books and peruse the descriptive tags. You’re sure to find one that quickens your pulse.

Health Inequalities (12pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Mohammad Hajizadeh speaks on “Income-related Inequalities in Health Among Canadian Indigenous Populations: 2001-2012.”

Inclusion and Diversity (2:35pm, Theatre D, Clinical Research Centre) — Barb Hamilton-Hinch will speak on the topic of inclusion and diversity in recreation and leisure. The class explores racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, and the impact on the lives of people.

Board of Governors Meeting (3pm, University Hall, MacDonald Building) — here’s the agenda.

Fireside Chat (3:45pm, The Collider, Room 2600, Killam Library) — Stefanie MacDonald, founder of Paper Hearts, will speak.

YouTube video

Bessie (5pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Dee Rees’ 2015 film.

In the harbour

8am: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
5:30pm: Metis Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Zeebrugge, Belgium
7pm: AHS Hamburg, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from San Juan, Puerto Rico


I tried to sneak down to the States for a quick weekend trip without telling anyone. (It was my mom’s birthday.) But now it looks like I’ll be stranded today. Maybe even tomorrow if this weather is as bad as forecast.

The last time I was stranded at a New York airport, it was at JFK. My rescheduled flight left at 6am so I had to try to sleep in the airport… it was the night the plane with the overworked barista as copilot crashed in Buffalo, and the damn TVs were blaring about it all night long. I was not happy.

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

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  1. The last time I took a bus was at the Women’s March in D.C., and your bus terminal looks a lot better than the ones there, no shelter for the weary in D.C.

  2. Solid NS planning on that transit terminal (Sigh, *station*, nothing *terminates* there). Via is pushing Halifax hard to go light rail, and ISTM that Mumford would get a station. If that is the hope, dream, nightmare, then the thing to do would be to expropriate the Marks and Tim’s buildings, and build something there, with a view to expanding over, straddling the main rail line.

  3. A ship called “Metis Leader”.
    I know it’s dumb to wonder, while we get buried by snow and teachers are out, but anyone else curious if this Metis is *our* Metis?