On campus
In the harbour


1. Suspended

Yesterday, Dalhousie University announced that it had suspended all 13 members of the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook group from clinical activities, which start next week:

The decision to suspend the clinical privileges of the students was made on December 22, 2014, and communicated today, January 5, 2015, to ensure the appropriate supports were available for students. Fourth-year classes in the Faculty of Dentistry are scheduled to resume on January 12, 2015. A decision about fourth-year classes and the rescheduling of fourth-year exams will be made this week.

There was a two-week delay in announcing the suspensions “because the school’s administration had received ‘credible reports from front-line staff’ that some of the men involved were at risk of self-harm,” reports the CBC. The flip side of that is that for two weeks female students in the class could reasonably assume they’d be working aside the men, bringing whatever anxiety that may have caused to their holiday celebrations.

Also yesterday, hundreds of people marched on campus protesting the administration’s handling of the situation, and news came that the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario has asked Dalhousie for the names of all 13 students. Reports the Toronto Star:

So far there hasn’t been a response to the regulator’s Dec. 31 letter, said Irwin Fefergrad, registrar of Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.

If the university doesn’t provide a full list of names, then all students graduating this year from Dalhousie can expect a grilling if they hope to get a licence to work in Ontario, Fefergrad said.

That means Dalhousie students will be expected to provide confirmation they are not one of the 13 students, Fefergrad said.

“There’s no room in the health care system for this,” Fefergrad said. “Zero, zero, zero.”


He stressed that universities can grant degrees in dentistry, but they cannot issue licences that make it legal to practise.

Over at The Coast, Jacob Boon relates that after they were discovered, one of the Facebook group members commented that:

Boys what are they going to do? honestly. Kick every guy out of 4th year? Tell us you guys are mean for saying those things? I think the bigger issue is who the fuck is showing the girls.

The students have all completed undergraduate degrees and are in their fourth year of dental school, so at the very least are 26 years old. And yet they refer to each other as the infantalizing “boys” and “girls.”

2. The yacht club subsidy

The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. Photo: Halifax Examiner
The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Yesterday, I published an article examining the city’s policy of giving tax breaks to non-profit corporations, including such swank and land-rich institutions as the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and the Waegwoltic Club:

This is the perfect example of city government “rationalizing” tax policy out of the political process, leaving no room for sensible judgment. But giving tax subsidies is necessarily a political process. There’s no way around it: Yacht club apples are simply not hospice centre oranges—there is a qualitative difference between the two.

We cannot “rationalize” the politics out of it; they are inherent to the process. It takes discerning people charged with the task of making those value judgments and spelling out those differences. That’s why we elect people.

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

3. Bell Aliant layoffs

Having completed its privatization of Bell Aliant, BCE has told staff in Halifax and Saint John that layoffs are coming. The company says that only managers will be laid off next month, but the legally required notices must be issued when there’s more than 50 employees laid off in any one community.

4. Snow birds

It’s warmer in Antarctica than in Canada. Daytime temps in many Antarctic science stations were downright balmy yesterday, well above freezing, while all of Canada, except Vancouver, is in a deep freeze.

5. Crimestoppers

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 7.57.01 AM

I meant to post this a few days ago. The cops have taken to Crimestoppers to find a couple of dudes taking a five-finger discount at a liquor store. Not to condone theft, but come on, Crimestoppers? What next, police informants to nab jaywalkers? Time off for jailhouse snitches who rat on people tearing the tags off pillows?

Also, you gotta love that 1992 design for the Crimestoppers website. Also, it took 15 days to get the pic from the liquor store video to the Crimestoppers site—that’s enough time for the dudes to get plastic surgery and become entwined in an impossibly convoluted plot involving uncertain identities, femmes fatale, and the ironies of fate. Also, Dudes! Johnny Walker Blue label? If you’re going to plan a major heist, a dodgy escape from justice, plastic surgery and the love interest of Lauren Bacall, you gotta ditch the expensive whiskey and go with a pretty colored tropical drink. It’s right there in the script.


1. St. Paul’s Parish Hall

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Just before it was demolished in 1978, Stephen Archibald took detailed photos of the St. Paul’s Parish Hall building, constructed in 1902. “At that time the building was about 75 years old and felt relatively new compared to other threatened buildings. In Nova Scotia there were few examples of this heavy style of Gothic architecture and our eyes had not yet embraced its charms,” he notes.

It’s a stiff competition, but the building that replaced the parish hall is surely in the running for the most soulless building downtown. Note the pathetic attempt to incorporate some of the old building into the facade of the new. I’ve must have walked past the building a thousand times, but hadn’t noticed the false facade until Archibald pointed it out:


2. The high costs of driving

Canadians spend more on cars than on health care, notes Bruce Wark:

Auto makers and their dealers spend billions persuading us that we need the speed, power and glamour of their products and perhaps because car ads are a dominant source of their income, mainstream media show little inclination to investigate the true costs of car culture. There are also ideological reasons for this lapse. The business-oriented economists most frequently quoted in the news see private spending as a source of growth and prosperity, while public spending is portrayed as an economic drag, a necessary evil at best. Since cars are classified as private, household commodities, the more we spend on them the better—or so the myth goes.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

I read Diane Gaudet’s letter (No Good Samaritans stopped on Highway 125, Jan. 5) with interest.

My daughter was on her way home from work at 11 p.m. one night on the same highway when she struck a microwave that had fallen off a truck in front of her. The truck never stopped, and my daughter had to pay $1,900 for repairs.

By the grace of God, she was not killed or seriously injured.

On the same highway, on different occasions, I’ve seen a mattress and a cabinet.

Maybe the people passing Gaudet on the highway were shaking their heads in disbelief that a desk was in the middle of the road.

If she wasn’t able to properly secure the desk in her vehicle, she should have left it where it was. It is unbelievable that people are not securing items when transporting them on the highways.

Chris Morrison, Sydney



No public meetings today.


Standing Committee on Community Services (1pm, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Dan Troke, executive director of Housing Nova Scotia, will be asked questions. Someone ask him why nothing’s happening over at Bloomfield School, willya?

On campus

No public events today.


I’m not sure if yesterday’s New York Times article about American cities vying for the Olympic bid is straight news, satire, mean-spirited contrarianism, or what, but I was taken with the bit on Boston:

A couple of years ago, The Onion ran a satirical piece about Bostonians pretending to live in a big city. It said residents “buzz about their daily routines in a delightful hubbub of excitement as if they lived in a major American metropolis.”

Some people laughed, some were defensive. But few disputed that Boston is wrapped up in an existential debate with itself about whether it is a “world-class” city.

Despite its many obvious assets—world-renowned universities, top-flight medical centers, a thriving biotech-driven innovation economy and championship sports teams, not to mention Tom Brady and David Ortiz—Boston still has an inferiority complex. And as it makes its first serious bid to host the Olympics, it shows.

Some seem to think that being picked to put on the 2024 Summer Games is entwined with mythic world-class status.

“Boston is a global leader in innovation, and in order to remain a global leader, we must be aspirational,” the pro-Olympic Boston2024 website says.

To Boston’s mayor, Martin J. Walsh, an initial skeptic of the bid, hosting the Olympics “puts us on a scale not too many cities can claim.”


Either way, the Boston promoters are trying to win over naysayers by promising tangible benefits like upgrades in roads, bridges and public transit. But many wonder why it would take the Olympics to get those much-needed improvements. The Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi wrote that the promoters were giving Bostonians an impossible choice: Buy in to their bid to get a modern transportation system, or “be labeled a small-minded, provincial party-pooper.”

And there you have it: Without the Olympics, Boston cannot be world class.

It’s almost as if writer Katharine Q. Seelye is channeling me.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8am Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8am Tuesday. Map:

Almi Navigator, oil tanker, Gibraltar to Imperial Oil
OOCL Kaohsiung, container ship, Cagliari to Fairview Cove


City offices are humming again, and we’ve got a spate of government meetings coming up.

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

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  1. Crimestoppers has been playing those ridiculous illegal tobacco ads again lately.

    Really? Is that the crime issue that is so much more important than all others that it is uniquely addressed by a television ad campaign?

  2. These “boys” sound like high-schoolers, not young men about to become doctors. I think the “heads” at Dal dentistry are responsible for churning out these immature, walking, talking idiots. I’m sorry for the dedicated and deserving students who will sadly be painted with this stain as well. But I’m thankful this has been exposed and perhaps the Dal dental program can be taken apart and rebuilt. They certainly need to be stopped if this is the quality of professionals they are foisting upon the general public.

  3. Consider the high cost of transit.

    Yes, seriously, and especially this time of year. And I even live on the peninsula.

    I leave home at 8:50 and get to work at 9:00. If I took the bus, I’d have to walk .75km, wait for a bus, and take a convoluted route. Oh, and leave home at 8:15. That’s 45 min either way, or 1.5h a day, 7.5h a week. And that’s only if the bus is on time (and it’s often not)

    Yes, that’s right. At least an entire workday spent on the bus every week, instead of an hour and forty minutes in a car. That unpaid time on a bus more than covers the cost of a car.

    Then take groceries into account, shopping, going to appointments, etc. and the pros far outweight the cons. Let alone going to another town. Unless you live downtown, work downtown, shop downtown, everyone you know is downtown and you never leave downtown, a car greatly improves quality of life for most people.

    1. When I lived in dartmouth, it was more like an hour each way to work. And a twenty minute bus ride to grocery store (but 15 minute walk)

      But a 15 and 2 min drive respectively.

      1. Evan, you make a number of good points. They illustrate that life can be hard and unpleasant if you don’t own a car. The private auto is the heart and soul of our transportation system and because of that, public transit is not the priority it should be. Here’s a telling excerpt from the 2006 GPI Atlantic Transportation report:

        “Government expenditures on public transit are a small portion of total government transportation expenditures. For example, between 1991 and 2002, expenditures on public transit in Nova Scotia ranged between 5.3% and 3.4% of total transportation spending. During this period, government spending on transit actually declined 24%, and by an even greater amount during the most recent years. The provincial government has provided no funding for transit since 1999. Since then all funding has been provided by municipal governments, resulting in a cycle of increasing fares and declining ridership.”

        Many Nova Scotians on low-incomes, such as welfare recipients or old-age and disability pensioners, either can’t afford a car, or have to sacrifice some of the necessities of life to own one. Poor people in rural areas or in the sprawling suburbs around HRM are ill served by our car-centric transportation system.

        1. My understanding is that something like a third of the population of Nova Scotia is either too old, too young, too poor, or too sick to be able to drive. In rural areas it might even be higher. Lacking transit, those people are completely dependent upon other people for transportation, which is another time cost.

  4. Something else Boston is: a beautiful city where its history is at the forefront without it being a Ye Olde Towne theme park, where historical buildings and spaces intermingle with the modern in a fairly Vibrant Downtown where people Work, Live and Play. It might even be Bold. I’m not sure what their slogan is though. I just know I love going there and following the Independence Trail, learning about their history while enjoying the amenities and atmosphere of a seemingly thriving city. When discussions of Halifax development take place, I wish more often we would look to Boston as an example, rather than the irrelevant polar opposites of Paris and Toronto.

    1. Boston is a pretty bad example to use for development. We don’t have the option of blasting or building tunnels in Halifax to place big highways underground. And even when they did that, they found that the bottlenecks and traffic had only gone further upstream to other suburbs as people from further and further places started to commute to the city (c.f. people in Truro complaining that they can’t commute to Halifax).

      And Boston’s really only been a “beautiful” and “fun” city for a certain, specific type of Bostonian:

  5. I’m gonna get lynched for commenting on this issue but here goes:

    “The students have all completed undergraduate degrees and are in their fourth year of dental school, so at the very least are 26 years old. And yet they refer to each other as the infantalizing “boys” and “girls.””

    I recall reading an article in the Globe and Mail, Saturday edition in the last 5 years stating that Women’s enrollment in Canadian universities is rising and the Women are getting better marks then men. I don’t have the energy to search for the article, I’m barely keeping it together with Neo Citran these days.

    Anyway, what I remember, and my memory isn’t what it used to be was that culturally gender identities are changing dramatically. In the past, girls we’re encouraged to act stupid, etc. And now the reverse is happening, Men are being encouraged to be stupid, mainly through the influence of advertising.

    Many ads encourage male stupidity as maleness. At the time of the Globe article, maybe someone that isn’t writing through the haze of cold medication can find that article, the Burger King campaign was a prime example. I forget how the campaign went, something like, “you’re the king, eat meat” or something. The Source had a campaign where the tag line was simply “I want that” this holidays. Really? I guess I’m a stupid manchild and I should buy stuff at The Source.

    Which brings us to the concept of the manchild, and the original quote above. People, especially men take much longer to grow up, much of this is due to the fact living in Canada is pretty darn easy. Why are people putting transformers stickers on the automobiles with pride. Because they’re man children.

    If you are 26 that means the internet has been around since you were born. It’s pretty easy to find free porn on the internet, and little boys will seek out porn. I wonder how much porn people of this twenty something generation have been exposed to. There’s a phenomenon where something that seemed extreme will seem less extreme once you’ve been exposed to it enough. And then you’ll seek out something more extreme. I can’t finish this thought, but what I’m trying to say is there are some bigger, long term issues that have been brewing here.

    “and ain’t it a shame
    that due process stands in the way
    of swift justice” – David Bazan,

    1. I agree with your comments about exposure to extreme material. I have little doubt that exposure to the kind of misogyny that took place in the Facebook group bred more misogyny in exactly the pattern you describe. The question is, if Dal doesn’t seek appropriate measures to discipline these men, does it perpetuate the very cycle you describe?
      I also think that the use of “boys” in this case is not infantalizing but a product of a type of ‘bro-culture’. Not harmful in most cases but in my experience it does tend toward the misogynistic.