Readers: Facebook is now blocking links to Canadian news sites, including to the Halifax Examiner. Yesterday, I was interviewed by CBC’s Mainstreet host Jeff Douglas about this situation.

You can click here to hear the interview.


1. St Barbara gives up on some Nova Scotia gold mining projects

Aerial view of a deep open pit at the Moose River gold mine with gravel roads spiralling down to the depths that are filled with turquoise coloured liquid, treed landscape in the foreground, and the grey waste rock hill in the upper right.
One of St Barbara’s “non-core” assets is its Touquoy open pit gold mine in Moose River, Nova Scotia. Credit: Raymond Plourde / Ecology Action Centre

“St Barbara is withdrawing its environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Part IV of the Nova Scotia Environment Act for its mines in Nova Scotia, including Touquoy, Beaver Dam, and Fifteen Mile Stream,” reports Suzanne Rent:

The withdraw for the Touquoy mine also includes the application for in-pit tailings deposition. Reclamation will begin at that site over the next months.

The project at Beaver Dam was put on hold in December 2022. That project faced significant opposition from the Millbrook First Nation and the Nova Scotia Salmon Association.

Click or tap here to read “St Barbara withdraws environmental assessments for Nova Scotia gold mines.”

The company says it will continue to work to develop its Fifteen Mile Stream and Cochrane Hill projects, but the announcement is an indication that Nova Scotia may not be the fabled gold mountain that mining backers claim it is.

Moving forward, the big concern now is the maintenance, essentially forever, of the Touquoy tailings. To put it mildly, Nova Scotia does not have a good record on this.

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2. Beaver Bank development

An architectural rendering shows a buildings without any surroundings or sky. It's four storeys plus a gable end roof, with long balconies.
A rendering of the Ghosns’ proposal for Beaver Bank Road. Credit: WM Fares Architects

“After rejecting the proposal earlier this year, HRM’s North West Community Council approved a four-storey development for Beaver Bank on Tuesday night,” reports Zane Woodford:

In January, the North West Community Council, comprising councillors in Bedford, Sackville, Beaver Bank, and Fall River, held a public hearing on the proposal. HRM planners recommended in favour. But after hearing from the public, the community council voted unanimously against the proposal.

In a July 21 decision, the UARB allowed the developers’ appeal. The board found “no objective basis” for the community council’s reasoning on any of its three points.

“The Board concludes that Community Council’s decision does not reasonably comply with the intent of the MPS. The appeal is allowed and the Board orders North West Community Council to approve the development agreement,” the board concluded.

Click or tap here to read “Councillors approve Beaver Bank development after Utility and Review Board order.”

I’m not at all familiar with the area; I may have driven through a dozen times over 20 years. But just looking at the maps and considering the documents, it doesn’t strike me as an unreasonable development. It’s true, as Coun. Lisa Blackburn points out, that the public infrastructure — roads, transit, schools, etc. — hasn’t kept pace with development, but raise some taxes already and build that stuff (yes, I know the province is responsible for schools).

Still, I don’t know what the point of having elected councillors is if the unelected UARB can just order them around.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“By March of 2023, more than 75% of Canadians had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

That’s one of the findings outlined in a new COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) study

On Monday, CITF published what it described as “the most comprehensive peer-reviewed analysis” of Canadian seroprevalence estimates (antibodies found in blood serum) in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. 

“It’s a nice overview, but it also sets us up for the future in terms of what we should be doing going forward for monitoring the condition of the population,” study co-lead and McGill University professor Dr. David Buckeridge said in an interview. 

During the first two pandemic phases studied (pre-vaccination and then during the vaccine rollout), blood samples found evidence of previous infection in very few people. Fewer than 0.3% had been infected by May 2020, and only 9% by November of 2021. 

By mid-June 2022, just six months after the Omicron variant began circulating in Canada, infection-acquired seroprevalence had risen to 47%. 

By March 2023, that number was just above 75%. 

Click or tap here to read “More than 75% of Canadians have immunity against virus that causes COVID-19, report finds.”

This article has been revised. As initially published, the headline and first sentence both read “By March of 2023, more than 75% of Canadians had immunity against the virus that causes COVID-19.”

That “immunity” was transitory, of course. This morning, we at the Examiner had a long conversation about the use of the word in the headline, and d’Entremont provides the original press release, which reads:

More than 75% of Canadians had immunity to SARS-CoV-2 due to infection by March 2023


MONTREAL, Monday, August 14, 2023 – By March 2023, after 16 months dominated by the Omicron variant, three quarters of people in Canada had immunity due to infection against SARS- CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Today, the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) published the most comprehensive peer-reviewed analysis of pan-Canadian seroprevalence estimates in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

I think this is bad messaging on the CITF’s part. When I hear the word “immunity,” I think, “I can’t get that thing.” So if 75% have immunity, there’s nothing much to worry about. But the reality is more nuanced. d’Entremont quotes from an article in Nature:

New evidence suggests that ‘hybrid’ immunity, the result of both vaccination and a bout of COVID‐19, can provide partial protection against reinfection for at least eight months. It also offers greater than 95% protection against severe disease and hospitalization for between six months and a year after an infection or vaccination, according to estimates from a meta‐analysis. Immunity acquired by booster vaccination alone seems to fade faster.

So, now what I understand is that there was so much Omicron in the world in March 2023 that most people had had the disease, whether they knew it or not, and so for a period of time they had enough antibodies such that they were immune for a period of time after. That doesn’t mean they’re forever immune from COVID.

This should have been more clearly conveyed in our article, and so after our discussion, we updated it, and I’ll link back to this explanation in the article.

Relatedly, Public Health released the monthly (July) COVID report for Nova Scotia yesterday.

The report revises the June COVID death count by one, from eight to nine. Additionally, the May COVID death rate has been revised upward by five — from the previously reported 12 to 17.

Of the six newly reported deaths, one was under 50 years old, one was aged between 50 and 69 years old, and four were over 70 years old

The report says no one died from COVID in July, but as we’ve seen above, the monthly counts are revised upwards after more information comes in.

Since July 1, 2022, 375 Nova Scotians have died from COVID.

Also in July, 35 people were hospitalized because of COVID; that’s a significant decrease from 65 in June.

In Nova Scotia, people 70 years old or older are 30 times more likely to have been hospitalized compared to 18- to 49-year-olds, and are 22 times more likely to die compared to 50- to 69-year-olds.

People who haven’t had their primary series of vaccination have died at 2.1 times the rate of those who have had received a booster within 168 days. And people who haven’t had the primary series have been hospitalized at 1.7 times of those who have had received a booster within 168 days.

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4. Billionaires and their ill-fitting suits: thumbing their noses at convention

EverWind CEO and founder, Trent Vichie, in the centre of this photo appears to be explaining a display board to other men at the occasion of the signing of memoranda of understanding with Uniper and E.On. (Photo contributed by EverWind)
EverWind CEO and founder, Trent Vichie, at the signing of memoranda of understanding with Uniper and E.On. Credit: EverWind Fuels

One should always read Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator.

Last week, Campbell provided a round up of new articles, including about the state of media (read that) and comments about Joan Baxter’s ‘green’ hydrogen articles (read that, too), which leads to a bit about ill-fitting suits (which you absolutely must read):

I hadn’t seen that photo of [EverWind founder Trent] Vichie before today and I found myself thoroughly distracted by his ill-fitting suit.

I know the suit is ill-fitting because I’ve become a devoted follower of Derek Guy’s Twitter account (@dieworkwear). Guy is the editor at Put This On and the man behind the Die, Workwear! website. A recent Guardian article described him as a “menswear writer, critic and prolific Tweeter based in the San Francisco Bay Area” who “hides behind his Twitter avatar – a drawing of Nixon’s debonair attorney general Elliott Richardson – and describes himself ‘a guy who lives alone with a cat.’”

Guy uses his Twitter account to explain the finer points of fashion and tailoring and to critique the suits of the rich and famous. In doing so, as the Guardian puts it, he manages to be “censorious without being mean.” He always punches up, telling the paper, “I would never do it to some guy on the street.”

Campbell goes on to explore Guy’s analysis of “British PM Rishi Sunak’s oddly short pants,” before returning to Vichie, whose “problem is just the opposite — his suit pants are too long, as evidenced by the fabric pooling around his ankles. (It’s also badly wrinkled, which Guy says is the first sign of a poor fit.)”

Click or tap here to read “This and That.”

I’m repeatedly struck that lots of very, very wealthy people don’t bother with the basics of public presentation. You’ve got eight billion dollars under your pillow, couldn’t you get someone to do something about that unibrow? You’ve got enough money to bribe 400 government officials, but you can’t get a properly tailored suit?

This issue has been pointed out before, like in this 2018 piece by Lou Stoppard, “Why can’t tech billionaires dress themselves?,” and Kate Wagner’s recent article in the Nation, “You Can’t Even Tell Who’s Rich Anymore.”

But I think Stoppard and Wagner are missing the point: the billionaires dress badly because they are purposefully flying in the face of regular people’s understanding of public presentation. Sam Bankman-Fried personified this: ‘yeah, I look like a slob, but fuck you I just stole eleventy billion dollars so you have to listen to me.’ And that’s Elon Musk’s entire thing — the point of his idiotic antics is to demonstrate that he cannot be constrained by convention.

I have exactly one suit, which I wear to weddings, funerals, and arraignments, with a different tie depending on the mood of the event — red for weddings, somber black for funerals, dancing Santa Clauses for arraignments. The suit fits pretty well, but a week before the event I try it on, just in case it needs some attention from a tailor. I am not a billionaire.

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John Risley: I’m going to save the world, please give me more public money

A white man stands at a wooden podium. A blue curtain is behind him.
John Risley addresses the Ocean Frontier 2022 conference in Halifax. Credit: Ocean Frontier 2022

John Risley continues his PR push to receive more public subsidies for his ‘green’ hydrogen project, this time with a piece in Policy Magazine, co-authored with Stefan Kaufmann, the former Hydrogen Commissioner for the German Federal Government and current advisor to thyssenkrupp group of companies, which is a German borg with tentacles in just about everything that explains:

The thyssenkrupp group currently has a portfolio of approximately 17,370 patents and utility models. Under the umbrella brand thyssenkrupp, the group creates long-term value with innovative products, technologies and services and helps make life better for future generations. To this end, the company pursues ambitious climate protection targets and optimizes its own energy and climate efficiency. At the same time, it uses its diverse abilities along the relevant value chains to play a significant role in driving forward its customers’ green transformation. 

I’m sure it sounds better in the original German, but the word salad should be a clue that the real concern here isn’t about making life better for future generations but rather about “value chains,” i.e., profit.

And Policy Magazine? I’m out of the Ottawa loop, so was ignorant about the magazine. You’d think the magazine would have an “about us” tab on its website, but no. It’s run by something called LPAC Ltd, of which I can find no information, but I did eventually find that Policy Magazine is edited by L. Ian MacDonald, someone who I have likewise never heard of, but wiki tells me he’s a former speechwriter for Brian Mulroney and columnist for the Montreal Gazette and iPolitics.

Maybe I should get out more, read the national press, familiarize myself with those shaping public policy in Ottawa, yack it up with important columnists, get up to speed on the issues. I’m sure MacDonald and Policy Magazine are influential and taken seriously by powerful people — I mean, Risley isn’t penning op-eds for the Halifax Examiner. But that Ottawa policy world is corrosive to the soul, and a little distance can provide a bit of clarity.

For instance, how could any editor read the Risley-Kaufmann submission and not guffaw his way right to the bottle? Consider:

Canada is among the world leaders in the development of hydrogen technologies and currently also in the production of grey hydrogen. Therefore, it offers opportunities for EU technology providers for cooperation and commercialization along the whole hydrogen value chain.

Wait, Canada is a leader in hydrogen technology, so it’s going to rely on EU technology providers? Huh?


The Eastern and Atlantic provinces are focused on green hydrogen and have a strong interest in exporting it to Europe. They are on a comparatively short shipping distance compared to other potential export regions. 

Did you notice how we skipped from grey hydrogen to green hydrogen without comment? Regardless, just imagine how the short shipping distance to Europe would be if the green hydrogen were made in, you know, Europe. No one has ever explained to me in anything like a convincing fashion why Europe can’t make its own green hydrogen, or why it makes financial sense to make the green hydrogen on one side of the ocean, turn it into ammonia to ship it across the ocean, and the de-process it again on the other side of the ocean, when the whole thing could just be done in Europe.

And until someone explains that equation in a convincing fashion, bureaucrats, politicians, and yes, editors, should laugh these people right out of the room.

There’s a lot of discussion about export to the U.S. and such in the article, which I believe is meant merely to impress upon us that the authors know what they’re talking about, before they get to the real point:

In addition, launching a business capacity building program with Hydrogen Europe and a Canadian counterpart would be very beneficial.

Let me rephrase that in common English:

Give us public money and we’ll make this thing work.

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Audit Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall and online) —agenda here; Audit and Finance Standing Committee follows

Public Drop-in Sessions (Wednesday, 2pm and 7pm, 61 Gary Martin Drive, Bedford) — Case 23307


No meetings

On campus

No events

In the harbour

05:45: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Autoport from St. John’s
06:30: One Hawk, container ship (145,407 tonnes), sails from Pier 41 for New York
07:00: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship with up to 3,756 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from New York, on a 16-day roundtrip cruise of Atlantic Canada and Greenland out of New York
08:30: One Stork, container ship (145,251 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Norfolk, Virginia
09:30: Barbarian Honor, bulker, arrives at anchorage for inspection from Constanta, Romania
10:00: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk, Virginia
11:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves to Fairview Cove
11:30: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
13:00: Barbarian Honor sails for sea
15:30: Grande New York, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Valencia, Spain
16:30: Caribbean Princess sails for Sydney
17:00: CCGS Hudson, former coast guard cutter, sails from Pier 9 for Sheet Harbour to be scrapped
21:30: Atlantic Star sails for Liverpool, England
23:30: One Stork sails for Dubai

Cape Breton
05:30: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Corner Brook
11:00: CSL Tarantau, bulker, sails from Aulds Cove quarry for sea
11:00: Algoma Integrity, bulker, moves from Inhabitants Bay anchorage to Aulds Cove quarry
15:30: AlgoScotia sails for sea


Just when I think things are slowing down, something else pops up. This news business would be a lot easier if there weren’t so much news.

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

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  1. Mr. Bousquet, I heard your interview yesterday with CBC’s Jeff Daniels on Bill C-18. I wanted to thank you for the insight that you offered all of us. While I was aware of the bill and some of its obvious implications for investigative journalism and for news outlets, your interview provided me an even broader and deeper appreciation for the harm associated with the Bill. As someone who revels in excellent journalism (I have subscriptions to three “papers”, two of the best of which include yours and The Guardian), I appreciate those who “speak truth to power”, as it were.

    Thank you. You and your “paper” are appreciated greatly.

  2. I have a feeling that Vichie’s suit may be wrinkled because he sleeps in it occasionally.
    Hey Tim, I have a few ill-fitting suits you could borrow, just to, you know, fit in.

  3. I have to wonder if maybe the ammonia is really the point. Most ammonia (which is used in fertilizer, among other things) is made using the Haber-Bosch process from natural gas, air and water. This is a problem for places without natural gas.

    It could be that there simply is money in the subsidy dumpster for hydrogen but not for ammonia and Risley and Co have figured it’s a good way to get their wind-powered ammonia plant built. Issues of public money (and the common wind resource) flowing into private coffers aside – building the capacity to make ammonia at scale without fossil fuels is actually a worthy endeavor.