On campus
In the harbour


1. Guaranteed income

“Dalhousie Legal Aid lawyer Fiona Traynor says the current welfare system on which 44,000 Nova Scotians depend isn’t working and  should be replaced by a proposed Basic Income Guarantee,” writes Jennifer Henderson.

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I think everyone in the country — poor people, middle class people, billionaires, kids, working people, old people, everyone — ought to get a cheque for $25,000 (or whatever) every year, or broken down in monthly payments. And the money ought to come through a resource tax. We all, each of us, collectively own the trees and minerals and oil and coal and such that is mined and sold off, and we should each get a cheque representing our share of the wealth.

Once we establish that, it’d be easy to make it a carbon tax, with all proceeds going to a guaranteed income cheque. That way, we’d get political buy-in for increasing the carbon tax every year until it’s high enough to actually discourage the use of fossil fuels. Politicians would campaign on increasing the guaranteed income cheque, and therefore the carbon tax, and people would vote for them because of it.

And no, a guaranteed income should not be means-tested and only given to the poor. The problem with means-testing a guaranteed income is that it becomes “poor support” or “welfare” — assistance given by middle class and wealthy people to poor people that can be used by politicians appealing to class interests and demonizing the poor.

The guaranteed income shouldn’t be poor relief. It should be a basic human right, for everyone. Just as with other government services like a college education or access to the neighbourhood rec centre, we should make it available to all, including the rich, so that we have political buy-in. You receive the service because you are a citizen, or even just a human, not because you are some subset of deserving poor.

Means-testing is part of the neoliberal agenda to pit us all against each other.

2. Megan Leslie

Megan Leslie
Megan Leslie

The federal NDP nearly pulled itself apart at its convention last weekend, as party members split over their response to the Leap Manifesto. Explains John Geddes in Maclean’s:

Argument was raging over whether to adopt the manifesto, which calls for a sharp leftward shift — including a ban on new pipelines — as the basis for two years of policy discussion. The previous day, Notley had powerfully presented the case against it, with plenty of backing from union leaders defending energy-sector jobs. But Lewis, whose son, Toronto activist Avi Lewis, is Leap’s leading proponent, countered in his speech that the prospect of “apocalyptic” climate change demands a radical response.

With the delegates deeply divided, Leslie presented herself as a bridge-builder. Her intervention was a calibrated blend of rallying cry and reassurance. She stressed that the party wasn’t being asked to embrace the manifesto uncritically, just to study it for two years. “Let’s think about how we can take [Canada’s] resource-based economy and use it to transition to a green-energy economy,” she said, mentioning, for instance, that oil sands electricians might be repurposed to build solar panels.

She went on, painting a vision of the coming NDP discussion of the manifesto as somehow a chance to foster harmony between roughnecks and climate change activists. “I want to hear from those oil sands workers, I want to hear from those pipeline builders, I want to hear from energy-efficiency retrofitters.” She declared that “a social democratic response to climate change” must protect jobs. The crowd cheered. The future beckoned.

The headline on Geddes’ article: “The NDP has a dream leader. One problem: She’s not running.”

3. Pedestrian struck, driver flees

A police report from yesterday:

Halifax Regional Police is requesting the public’s assistance to identify the driver involved in a vehicle/pedestrian hit and run that occurred on April 11. 

At approximately 3:37 p.m., a vehicle travelling westbound on the connector road between Mumford Road and Bayers Road, struck a 14-year-old female pedestrian who was crossing the connector road which runs adjacent to the Halifax Shopping Centre. The vehicle didn’t stop at the scene and the girl suffered non-life threatening injuries. The girl was treated and released at the scene by EHS, however, was later taken to hospital by a family member. The vehicle is described as white/beige sedan, possibly a silver Dodge Caliber. The driver is described as an older white man, with shoulder length white /grey hair and wearing glass. (sic)

4. Pedestrian strikes van

Another police report:

Halifax Regional Police responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision that occurred this morning in Halifax.

At 9:05 a.m., police responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision that occurred in the 2800 block of Gottingen St.  A cube truck was legally in the crosswalk, waiting to make a right hand turn, when a man in an electric wheelchair entered the crosswalk and struck the back of the truck. The man suffered non-life threatening injuries and EHS transported him to the QEII Health Sciences Center where he was treated and released. 

The 50-year-old male pedestrian was issued a summary offence ticket under Section 125(3) of the Motor Vehicle Act for moving into the path of a vehicle when impractical for the vehicle to stop.   

 5. Chronicle Herald

Is someone archiving editing mistakes at the Chronicle Herald? If so, add this to the file:

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 6.39.51 AM

The quote:

Yes, the stalwart 18-year MLA for Needham, who set a standard of representation in that North End Halifax community that will be hard to match, has served as interim leader since the party’s crushing election loss in 2009.

Writes a reader:

The editor at the Chronicle Herald seems a little confused. I could have sworn the NDP suffered a “crushing defeat” in 2013, not in 2009. In fact I recall seeing them sworn in at the Cunard Centre in 2009.

I guess there is no cash in the kitty for proof-reading at the CH.


1. Maureen MacDonald

Maureen MacDonald
Maureen MacDonald

“Maureen MacDonald was simply the best MLA I ever worked with,” writes Graham Steele. “The best.”

And that’s how you write a political tribute.

The Government and On Campus sections are compiled by Kathleen Munro.



Appeals Standing Committee (10am, Council Chamber, City Hall) — your neighbour and their peeling paint!

Design Review Committee (4pm, Halifax Hall, City Hall) — We just can’t get enough of the Nova Centre. This meeting will include the preliminary presentation for the amendments made to the Nova Centre Substantial Site Plan Approval.

There are 14 proposed modifications outlined in the plan:

1. Addition of brick surrounds at the north and west elevations of the hotel tower. The intention here is twofold. To distinguish the hotel tower from the office towers and to recall the heritage of Halifax through the use of ‘punched’ windows and masonry.

2. The corner detail at the southwest and northeast corners of the hotel tower has been modified. Achieves a better integration of the tower’s square and curved geometry.

3. The arrangement of glazing and spandrel panels at the hotel elevations has been modified

4. Addition of two overhead doors at Market Street. This modification is in response to a security concern. The addition of these doors provides both the hotel and the convention centre the ability to operate their shipping and receiving functions independently.

5. Change in overhead door material. The overhead doors were intended to be provided with translucent panels. Due to the large size of the doors, translucent panels were not available. Additionally, the convention centre did not support the use of translucent panels for security reasons.

6. Modifications to canopies on Market Street elevations. The Market Street canopies were modified in response to modifications made to overhead doors.

7. Delete decorative ‘punched’ windows from north and west elevations. This modification was made at the request of the hotel operator who intends to use the north elevation area for signage, The west elevation was modified for consistency.

8. Increase height of mechanical equipment and louvers at the south end of Market Street. This modification responds to a change in the convention centre program which increased the anticipated air handling demand. Satisfying this demand required an increase in the size of air handling equipment.

9. Addition of louver at corner of Sackville and Market. Louver is required to service increase in the size of air handling equipment.

10. Atrium entry on Grafton Plaza has been enlarged to accommodate a revised vestibule.

11. Building directory with granite plinth has been added to Grafton Plaza.

12. The soffit on Grafton Plaza has been modified to accommodate recessed lighting.

13. The curtain wall at Grafton Plaza, north elevation, has been modified.

14. Curtain wall at the north and west elevations of the hotel podium has been modified to accommodate additional louvers. This modification responds to a change in the convention centre program which increased the anticipated air handling demand.


Legislature sits (1pm, Province House)

On Campus

UNIWEB: a fast growing research and collaboration tool designed by and for academics (11:30am, Slonim Conference Room, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Diego Macrini will discuss the flagship project of web-services company Proximify:

He will describe how UNIWeb increases the web visibility of academics, and offers insights into the research activities happening throughout an institution, promoting internal and external partnership opportunities.

Planetarium Show (Room 120, Dunn Building) — “Cosmic Clockwork” by Quinn Smith. Five bucks at the door. Leave screaming kids out in the car.


Shirley leads a line of elephants down Main Street in Yarmouth en route to the circus site at the exhibition grounds. (BOB BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY)
Shirley leads a line of elephants down Main Street in Yarmouth en route to the circus site at the exhibition grounds. (BOB BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY)

Sandra Phinney, writing for Local Xpress, tells the story of Shirley, an elephant and a poster child for maltreatment of circus animals.

Shirley was on a deteriorating circus boat that limped into Yarmouth Harbour in 1963, writes Phinney:

Kelly Miller Bros. Circus owned the Fleurus, and Yarmouth was the first stop in a highly publicized Atlantic Canadian tour. Fifty-one performers were with the circus, along with several exotic animals. On the ship’s deck, small cages housing lions, tigers, a leopard and performing dogs were strapped down. Below deck, ponies, zebras, a llama with a newborn baby and a Brahma bull were cooped up and in dire straights. Three chained elephants struggled to remain standing on sloping floors, barely able to stand to full height because of the ship’s list and low ceilings.

Shirley was much beloved in the town, and each night after her performance Shirley returned to the ship. The story continues:

Before departure the next morning, a fuel line burst on the Fleurus, spraying oil over the hot engines. A fire ensued, and as it progressed, the boiler pipes of the 37-year-old ship burst and dense smoke swirled throughout the ship. Firefighters raced to the scene.  

Bob Brooks was there, notebook and camera in hand. Later, he wrote a two-page spread in the Toronto Star Weekly that said, in part:  “While elephants trumpeted and lions roared as the smoke boiled around them, volunteer firemen fought the fire. Using a giant crane, construction workers were able to lift the caged animals from the canted deck, while men with high-powered rifles stood by to put the beasts out of their misery if they couldn’t be saved, or if they escaped from smashed cages.”

Were that not enough misery for the creatures, there’s this:

The animals were transported back to Florida by trucks. On the way, the trailer carrying the pachyderms was involved in a crash and word got back to Yarmouth that the elephants had died. 


Fast-forward to November 2000, when Janice Stelma (a Yarmouth County Museum and Archives volunteer) noticed an inquiry on the Internet asking if anyone had heard of a circus ship fire somewhere in Nova Scotia. This eventually led to an amazing discovery: Shirley the elephant, at age 52, was alive!  

Although Shirley had survived the trailer crash back in 1963 and continued performing in circuses, she was attacked by another elephant in 1977. With a broken leg that did not heal properly, she could no longer perform and was placed in the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo in Monroe, La., where she lived in solitary confinement for 22 years.

Phinney has much more, and posts a video about Shirley. She is still alive, 68 years old, and now living at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

I wouldn’t blame her if she is a bit cranky.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:45am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:45am Thursday. Map:

Bruarfoss, container ship, Argentia, Newfoundland to Pier 42 at 7am
Balder, bulker, Portland, New Hampshire to Bedford Basin anchorage for bunkers at 10am

Elka Elefsis, oil tanker, sailed from Imperial Oil to Houston this morning
Morgane, oil tanker, Anchorage #4 (by McNabs Island) to sea at 3pm
Algoma Mariner, bulker, Pier 25 to St. John’s at 6pm


There’s something wonderfully and weirdly sad about Wilco’s official video of Heavy Metal Drummer. The rain dampens all but a few spirits in the crowd, and those who do dance seem to be forcing it. People look at the camera nonplussed. Jeff Tweedy is just going through the motions — he’s singing as if he’d be angry if he weren’t so damn tired. And there are long shots underscoring that this is performance — the band is performing, the crowd is performing, the cops guarding the stage are performing, even the videographer is performing. It’s all staged. Which is somehow right for a song that celebrates lost innocence.

Or maybe I’m just feeling old.

YouTube video

Tim Bousquet

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

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    1. No. Climate change trumps salaries AND government revenue. Very simple. No amount of money is going to restore the oceans or bring back the 90% of the fish stocks that have been lost over the past 50 years, is it? And yes, making solar panels and more is a forty-year career. Ask Germany.

    2. Guess what, fossil fuels are dying. They will be killed off and the people with the most vested in its continued agonized use will cry the hardest about economics.

      People in the oil and gas sector will cry hardest about government interference when times are good but yelp the loudest about supporting an already heavily subsidized industry when the bust inevitably comes.

      The future belongs to renewable energy. I’ll take an endless supply of solar power to a finite, dirty resource like oil. A future where individuals produce their own clean, renewable power and are not beholden to speculators and the immoral CEOs of companies like BP.

      A huge shift but who thought the internet would be such a necessity 25 years ago?

  1. Anyone who thinks Megan Leslie is a dream candidate hasn’t been paying attention to Megan Leslie’s career. Unless they are looking at politics from the modern perspective of image over substance. But what would anyone expect from an Ottawa reporter? Or the media in general I guess…

    1. Robert, I have to disagree. I’ve followed Megan’s career and have always been impressed by her depth of understanding of many complex issues, and her ability to explain them clearly. She gave another excellent interview on CBC’s The House mid-week podcast yesterday.

      I completely understand why she is not interested in running now (she needs a break) but it is a loss to Canada, and I hope she eventually returns to politics at the Federal or Provincial level.

      1. AFAIAC, her only depth is in her is own self glorification.

        Was she not the federal environment minister critic? Take a look around this province, where she was elected, and compare that with her involvement as environment critic. If you don’t come up with deliberate and horrifying cases of neglect of the people of this province, then a person might be impressed. I have a much different view.

  2. I am one of the biggest fans of the work put out by Tim Bousquet and the Examiner but it took everything I could muster to read it this morning when I saw the grainy B&W of the elephants in the email intro to the Morning File. Just last night I was watching the documentary Tyke ( when I had to leave the room sobbing. Sometimes the only solution I can come up with to the ignorance and cruelty of humans is to cage the humans. Yep, feeling old and worn out too.

  3. Although a basic income guarantee is better than a means-tested welfare system like we have now, there is nothing to stop slum lords from charging exactly the maximum amount of rent they can extract from people who are on basic income. Capitalism loves a captive market and will insert itself as thoroughly as possible in between basic income cheques and people’s wallets. Maybe regulation of the housing market (and ideally, internet and cell phone services) would be necessary and also reduce the amount of money a basic income recipient would need. For instance, I’d be pretty happy to have $500 a month if my housing, transportation, insurance, internet and phone was taken care of.

    Anyway, I would love to get a cheque for $25,000 a year, especially if I didn’t pay tax on it, as that would grant me 200 hours of free time a month in exchange for a couple thousand dollars a year. No brainer. Someone making $40,000 before taxes in Nova Scotia takes home about $30,750 a year.

    The real wealth confiscation comes from the $12,000 a year I pay for an apartment, not the $9250 of my paycheque that goes to the government.

  4. I thought the Design Review Committee was supposed to review designs before they were implemented, not after.