Posted inMorning File

Banned in Halifax: Morning File, Saturday, October 25, 2014


1. George Armoyan banned from city property

Developer George Armoyan has demonstrated threatening behaviour towards city employees, and so has been banned from city offices for six months. Chronicle Herald reporter Brett Brundale hits all the right notes in her article, dispassionately explaining how and why relationships between developers and staff can become stressed, but her takeaway gets right at Armoyan’s character:

George Armoyan
George Armoyan

In a letter to mayor and council, Armoyan pointed out that he is “one of HRMs largest taxpayers” and as such should have the right to appear before council.

The developer said he “wasn’t looking to bend the rules” or get special treatment. “What I’m looking for is to get council to hold their people accountable.”

Meanwhile, Armoyan has launched four lawsuits against the city and municipal staff.

“I will sue them for every God damned thing because I’m not backing down,” he said. “They’re making our life miserable. I’ll make theirs miserable, too.”

I’ve heard many complaints about Armoyan.

2. Divest Dal

The student group Divest Dal got a receptive hearing this week before the Dalhousie Board of Governors. Divest Dal is pushing the university to disinvest in the companies heavily involved in the fossil fuel industry. This article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall, and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.

3. Let’s give billionaires more tax breaks

Because giving the Irvings $300 million from provincial coffers wasn’t enough, there’s now a proposal to change the city charter to allow the city to single out the Irving Shipyard for a special tax break.

4. Sex change

New legislation will allow people to change the sex designation on government documents, including birth certificates, to reflect how they self-identify. Currently the law allows trans people to change the documents only after they’ve had sex reassignment surgery. The new law will allow them to change the documents whether they’ve had the surgery or not.

5. E-cigarettes

The province is also changing the laws around e-cigarettes, to treat them exactly as regular tobacco: no smoking in indoor public spaces and the usual restrictions that apply to retailers. The law will be the most restrictive in the country. It’s unclear (to me, anyway), if this will affect hookah bars.

6. Wild Kingdom

Two of the pilot whales stranded in shallow water in a PEI cove have died.


1. Marilla Stephenson

Marilla Stephenson has written her last column for the Chronicle Herald, saying good-bye to readers. She doesn’t explain why she’s leaving, whether it’s simply a welcome retirement after a long career, or if she reluctantly accepted a retirement package in anticipation of a rumoured staff-reduction in the works. Often, higher-paid journalists at the end of the career will take buy-out packages in hopes of preserving the jobs of one or two lower-paid junior reporters at the beginning of their careers.

Stephenson and I rarely agreed about anything, but spirited antagonism between commentators is good for readers. The local journalism scene just got a little less interesting.

2. Office space #1

Yesterday, John Wesley Chisholm posted this on his Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 7.03.04 AM

Chisholm’s post links to a Chronicle Herald story, but that story is no longer on the paper’s website, and I can find no cached version of it. Very strange.

I’m not sure why the story would’ve been taken down. Mike Turner has been issuing dire warnings about the glut of office space downtown for many months, going so far as to advise his clients to “cash out” of the downtown real estate market before prices collapse. Surely yet another warning from Turner wouldn’t do any more harm to the Chronicle Herald’s advertisers than they’ve already suffered. Who knows? Maybe the article was taken down so the copyeditors could have another run at it, and it’ll be back up sometime in the future.

Update, 10:17am: The article was made live on the site at 10:12am. Here it is.

3. Office space #2

YouTube video

It’s been, what? three weeks or so without a Roger Taylor–Joe Ramia lovefest? Of course even the most dedicated relationships have their rough spots, a bit of discontent, the roaming eye, maybe a dessert plate or two thrown across the kitchen in anger before storming out to sleep on a buddy’s couch. But fear not! Taylor is back today, giving Ramia sloppy make-up kisses.

“Once complete, the Nova Centre complex is expected to be a catalyst for the transformation of the downtown,” Taylor writes, and on this we agree. Except Taylor thinks the Nova Centre is going to be the catalyst for a downtown filled with millionaire waitresses, gold-plated sidewalks, and puppies everywhere, while I think it’s going to be a catalyst for a recreation of the set for the dystopic Escape From New York.

2. Philly

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald goes to Philadelphia, and of course notices the stuff the rest of us miss.


Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has staked out a strong prochoice position on abortion, going so far as to require all Liberal MPs to vote prochoice on any legislation that may come before them. New Brunswick’s newly elected Liberal Premier, Brian Gallant, however, has been far less forthcoming, and on the campaign trail offered only a “review” of the province’s restrictive abortion laws. Now in office with a majority government, Gallant has taken no action on the issue.

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick is pushing Gallant to do the right thing, so has started the Days of Inaction timer. I think this is one area where Nova Scotia Liberals can do a lot of good: urge your New Brunswick counterparts to rid themselves of the anti-women laws.

In the harbour

Ships heading into Halifax Harbour, 6am Saturday. Map:
Ships heading into Halifax Harbour, 6am Saturday. The Havelstern (red) is passing McNabs Island. The Seoul Express, which left port last night, is exiting the Harbour near Herring Cove. Inward-bound container ships and bulk carriers (green) are the Maersk Palermo, Tasman Strait, and Barkard. They are followed by the cruise ships (blue) Pearl Mist and Maasdam. The light blue ships are a pilot boat and a supply vessel.  Map:

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)


Havelstern, tanker, Saint John to anchor
Barkald, bulker, Gibralter to National Gypsum
Maersk Palermo, container ship, Montreal to Pier 42
Pearl Mist, cruise ship, Charlottetown to Pier 23
Maasdam, cruise ship, Sydney to Pier 22
Atlantic Concert, con-ro, Liverpool, England to Fairview Cove West
Tasman Strait, container, Lisbon to Pier 41


Tasman Strait to Mariel, Cuba
Atlantic Concert to New York
Maasdam to Bar Harbor
Maersk Palermo to Rotterdam
Capri to sea
Atlantic Erie to sea


Morning File takes Sunday off to honour his noodlage, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. See you Monday.

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

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  1. Philadelphia looks to have some well developed architectural examples of how to build something that has a visual presence that demands one stop to appreciate it. Stone masons were in high demand at one time; that much is very apparent.

  2. I wrote this on the C-H site; but I think it fits well to copy it here as well.

    Developers just want to develop; because if they are not building things, they are not in the development business. The office space glut downtown is just the tip of the iceberg. Residential developers are doing the same thing; building more houses, apartments and condos than there are people to fill them. At a certain point the over abundance of unoccupied residences will cause a significant market value correction and a lot of people will be stuck paying mortgages that cost way more than their new properties are worth. And people who have spent good money doing upgrades to their older properties will see that they will receive little return on their investment, if any.

    But hey, all development is good right… sustainability issues are just a pure myth right? Builders got to build, just like drillers got to drill… no problem here.