In the harbour


1. Examineradio, episode #22

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This week we speak with author Philip Slayton, whose new book Mayors Gone Bad, is in bookstores now. Slayton, a former Bay Street lawyer, examines the bad behaviour  — and in some cases outright criminality —€• so rampant in mayoral offices across the country (including Halifax).

We also speak with Emma Van Rooyen, a Kings County councillor who resigned abruptly earlier this month citing what she termed an old-boys’ network and personal vendettas.

Plus, the report on last year’s snow and ice removal debacle left Halifax City Council cold, though the frustration councillors feel toward CAO Richard Butts is heating up.

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(direct download link)

2. Lover for life


Yesterday would’ve been Whitney Houston’s 52nd birthday. Reflecting on Houston’s life, writer Evelyn C. White explores how issues around sexual identity play out in the black community, including here in Halifax.

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

3. Steeple

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“A demolition project at a Nova Scotia church went terribly wrong on Friday afternoon,” reports TC Media:

A crowd of people watched in horror as a crane that was lifting the steeple buckled, sending the spire of the 150-year-old Milton Christian Church in Liverpool crashing to the street.


No one was hurt, but the boom landed on top of power lines and electricity was knocked for thousands in the wake of the scary incident. Traffic in the area was affected for hours as crews cleaned up the mess.


The church is being demolished to make way for the construction of a new worship space at the site.

The church was built in 1864.

4. Man dead in stolen van crash

From Halifax police sergeant Paul Robertson’s end-of-shift email to reporters this morning:

At 1120 pm, Halifax Regional Police responded to the 500 block of Windmill Rd. Dartmouth in relation to a two vehicle motor vehicle accident with injuries. Upon arrival it was learned that the driver of one of the vehicles which was later determined to be stolen, had fled the area on foot. An adult male, who was the sole occupant of the other vehicle, sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident and was transported to the QE2 hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. The suspect driver was located and arrested nearby with the assistance of K-9.

The suspect, 33 year old male, is currently in police custody and the matter is still under investigation by the major crime unit and accident investigation unit at this time.

5. Bullshitters of the day

I don’t run this feature often enough…

Today’s BSOTD award is shared by Chris Bryant, who is the Senior Advisor to the Government Relations and External Affairs department at City Hall, and his boss, Maggie MacDonald, the director of the department. Bryant and MacDonald win for writing and approving, respectively, a report submitted for today’s meeting of the Executive Standing Committee at City Hall.

The report outlines how the committee should begin the recruitment process for appointing members of the soon-to-be created board of the Halifax Convention Centre. Board members are to have the following qualifications:

All Board members are expected to have:
Strategic Thinking:
Visionary and capable of addressing alternative futures [my would-be career as a science fiction writer may finally pay off!]
Ability to grasp the big picture and go beyond single-event decisions
Ability to consider the interests of Halifax and the Nova Scotia economy
Ability to think independently [truly independent thinkers not eligible]


Personal Attributes:
Demonstrated high ethical standards and integrity [you haven’t been caught yet]
High level of commitment and interest in the organization and its success
No conflicts of interest
Capable of impacting and influencing [Impacting! Influencing!]
Respectful of multi-stakeholder environment [but ridicule everyone not holding a stake]
Desire to contribute to the success of the Halifax Convention Centre and leverage opportunities for the whole of Nova Scotia [that’s gonna require a really big pole]
Ability to work as part of a group — persuasive, assertive and flexible [assertive and flexible!]
Ability to assess and challenge management recommendations
Strong interpersonal skills / relationship building [but stay away from the interns]
Strong oral communication and listening skills [don’t put anything in writing!]
Commitment to attend meetings (estimated to be monthly board meetings plus phone or other meetings as required)

[emphasis added because it’s so damned funny]

What’s particularly sad is that the people who will ultimately be appointed to the board will read these qualifications, think the words have actual meaning and that they don’t contradict each other, and then think the words apply to themselves.


1. Yarmouth ferry


“I’m committed to that link to the New England states,” said Premier Stephen McNeil last week. “No decision has been made if it’ll be the current (operator) or a future one, but let me be certain we are committed to a ferry service from Yarmouth.”

But, “given our litany of losses, even before Nova Star, how much is a Yarmouth-Portland ferry service worth to the Nova Scotia economy?” asks Stephen Kimber. “How much should we subsidize the service before we say enough is too much?”

2. Cranky letter of the day

Photo: Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006
Photo: Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006

To the Amherst News:

I’m writing to express my sadness upon hearing of the town’s decision to demolish the historic Bank of Montreal building.

Is there really nothing that can be done? Were all the submitted proposals for reusing the building so far off the mark that demolition is the only answer? This building is so much a part of our downtown landscape that losing it would be like losing a limb.

There might be some historic buildings that sadly can be let go, but this is not one of them. Amherst needs this building. Amherst needs it for its own identity.

This building is even on our welcome sign! The sign says: “Faith in our people, pride in our products.” Well, this building is a product of Amherst! Why would we as a community want to mutilate ourselves and debase our downtown core by tearing it down?

Tourism is one of the few things we have left and people come from all over to see historic Amherst. You might be surprised by how many people from Moncton come to Amherst to shop just because of how our downtown looks.

There must be other local contractors who are willing to tackle the roof since the previous one refused to do so. There are also some local traditional stonemasons who could handle this project if given the chance.

I know the town’s decision has already been made on this subject, but I just had to express how much it bothered me to hear it. I can’t imagine Amherst without this building. Our ancestors built this building at great expense and pride. It is incomprehensible that my newborn daughter, Viktoria, might grow up without this building. She will not have the chance to enjoy this beautiful structure as we all have and those who came before us have. These historic buildings link us with our past and make us the community that we are today.

Demolishing the Bank of Montreal building is a crime against posterity. We can’t allow our heritage to be squandered on our watch. It took too much time and effort to build it up.

Justin Helm, Amherst



Executive standing committee (10am, City Hall)—besides the above-mentioned convention centre board recruitment, the committee will discuss possible changes to campaign finance rules. I support the proposals, but I avoid the word “reform” because it’s one of those bullshit words often employed to stop questioning before it begins — how can anyone be opposed to reform?


No public meetings.

Angus L. Macdonald.
Angus L. Macdonald.

Angus L. Macdonald was born at Dunvegan, Cape Breton, on this date in 1890. He was premier from 1933 to 1940, when he started the glorious Nova Scotia tradition of paving roads in the ridings that elected the governing party. In celebration, we’re going to tear down the bridge named after him.

In the harbour

Halifax Harbour is relatively quiet this morning. The red square in Bedford Basin is the barge Asphalt Spring, which will sail tomorrow. The Green box off downton is Kom, while the green box at Autoport is Tosca. The ferries are in blue. Map:
Halifax Harbour is relatively quiet this morning. The red square in Bedford Basin is the barge Asphalt Spring, which will sail tomorrow. The Green box off downtown is Kom, while the green box at Autoport is Tosca. The ferries are in blue. Map:

Kom, a bulk carrier, arrived at the anchorage right dab in the middle of the harbour early this morning from Agia Marina, Greece, and will sail to parts unknown this afternoon
Tosca, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning, sails to sea later this morning
Atlantic Concert, ro-ro container, Liverpool, England to Fairview Cove


Where’d the weekend go?

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

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  1. I’d think all the emphasized words applied to me if I knew the right people and the price was right. Imagine the applications being tuned up right now, and the lunch dates being booked with the right people.

  2. To be fair to Angus L, as premier he fought hard for provincial rights within Confederation. He helped pave the way for the equalization program and transfers that are now under attack. I wrote about 99 per cent of the Wikipedia article on him including these words:

    “He articulated a philosophy of provincial autonomy, arguing that poorer provinces needed a greater share of national tax revenues to pay for health, education and welfare. He contended that Nova Scotians were victims of a national policy that protected the industries of Ontario and Quebec with steep tariffs forcing people to pay higher prices for manufactured goods. It was no accident, Macdonald said, that Nova Scotia had gone from the richest province per capita before Canadian Confederation in 1867 to poorest by the 1930s.”

  3. Thinking independently is often thinking differently, and I’m pretty sure that thinking differently is not what those choosing the convention centre board members actually want. I guess it’s another round of business muckety mucks then. How about appointing someone with some grass roots community ties, you know the people that actually think about the interests of the people of Halifax?