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1. Teachers vote to strike

“Teachers in Nova Scotia could be on strike before Christmas after 96 per cent of the 9,300 public school members voted in favour of job action Tuesday,” reports Paul Palmeter for the CBC.

Ninety-six per cent. Oh boy. Ball’s in your court, Stephen McNeil.

And this is the CBC’s “deer in the headlights” file photo of McNeil:


2. Arrest warrant issued for protestors and journalist

“The court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has issued a new order naming 22 activists at the Muskrat Falls site and ordering the RCMP to arrest them if they do not leave the site,” reports James McLeod for the St. John’s Telegram:

On Sunday, Nalcor Energy was in court to get a new, expanded order from a judge to remove indigenous activists who identify themselves as “land protectors” occupying parts of the Muskrat Falls site in Labrador.


Journalist Justin Brake with the Independent, who followed the protesters into the Muskrat Falls project site, is named in the court order to be arrested as well.

The protestors have engaged in civil disobedience, and so the threat of arrest was always present. It’s part of the protest.

Justin Brake
Justin Brake

But to issue an arrest warrant for a reporter is outrageous. As the Independent reports:

“When the court order was served I was quite shocked to see my name on there,” said Brake when reached by phone at the Muskrat Falls site. “I couldn’t have imagined that in 2016 a crown energy corporation would come down so heavy-handed as to infringe on the constitutionally protected right of freedom of the press.

“On Saturday there was a rally at the main gate for the Muskrat Falls project, and all of the sudden the bolt was cut on the front gate and about sixty people entered. I knew at that moment without hesitation that it was a story that needed to be told, whatever was about to unfold. People in Labrador have been resisting this project increasingly in recent weeks and months and up to that point the Muskrat Falls narrative as presented by media had largely omitted the human rights and Indigenous rights story that was unfolding. With members of all three Indigenous groups as well as settler Labradorians storming through the gates I knew this was a historical moment in Labrador’s history, and regardless of whether or not Nalcor wanted that story to be told I had an obligation as a journalist to follow them and tell that story. 

“In the four days that I was embedded with the land protectors at the Muskrat Falls camp I’ve been able to tell a part of the story that is crucial to any full understanding of the impact that Muskrat Falls will have on the people of our province.

“In deciding to go through the gates and stay with the land protectors at the camp — most of them Indigenous people — I was also fulfilling The Independent’s obligation to respond to the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, which identify a role for media and journalists in reconciliation. That involves telling important stories of Indigenous struggles and providing news coverage and information resources on issues of concern to Indigenous peoples, as well as all Canadians.”

After consulting lawyers and journalists’ rights organizations, and “hours” of deliberation Brake decided to leave the Muskrat Falls camp in order to be able to continue covering the story. His final broadcast before beginning the 11 kilometre trek out of the camp was viewed by thousands online. 

“Another very important [consideration], perhaps the most, is that I’m able to continue covering this story of the land protectors, and I can do that much better from outside the front gates of Muskrat Falls than I can from a prison cell,” said Brake in his final live-cast. 

Prior to becoming editor of The Independent in 2012, Brake’s previous work took him to Haiti, Darfur, and other parts of Canada.

Agree with the protestors or not, but Brake is a real reporter doing real journalism. Arresting him will have a chilling effect on other reporters, and is absolutely contrary to a free and open society.

3. Fishermen lose bid to delay tidal turbines

“An effort by a fishermen’s group to halt testing of tidal turbines in the Bay of Fundy has been denied by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia,” reports the Canadian Press:

The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association had wanted the court to stop Cape Sharp Tidal’s plan to test two turbines designed to assess the potential for producing electricity from the tidal forces of the bay.

The group wanted the testing in the seabed of the Minas Passage halted until a judicial review could be heard in February of the Department of Environment’s decision to approve the project.

But Justice Jamie Campbell denied the stay, saying the fisherman’s group has not proven the risk of irreparable harm occurring before the judicial review takes place.

Campbell’s decision, released Tuesday, said in the absence of evidence of the risk of irreparable harm, Cape Sharp Tidal should be allowed to proceed based on the approvals it has already obtained.

4. Needham Bells


This morning, the city issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for restoring the Needham Bells:

The goal of this project is restore and upgrade the control system, bell mechanisms for the memorial bells at Needham. When complete the bells are to be completely functional with an expected life of 20 years before further recapitalization is required. Through internet and web technology the bells are to be capable of being “played” remotely. To achieve the schedule milestones and to minimize coordination of consultants and contractors this RFP is being issued as a Design-Build-Operate project deliver method. The contractor is to supply all the drawings, materials and labor to execute the work.

The intention is to award to contracts. The first contract to execute the Design and Build the scope of work defined in this document. The second contract will be negotiated with the General Contractor or one of the subcontractors for the ongoing maintenance of the work installed.

This is part of the Needham Park “refresh.” The work is to be complete by June, in time for the centennial Explosion celebration memorial. There are a lot of details, but here’s the part particular to the bells:

The Carillon Master will be prepackaged with a wide range of bells, peals and tolls and carillon bell music (songs, hymns and carols). A standard music package combines religious music, with seasonal and patriotic selections. The Carillon Master can contain up to 1,000 music selections. The Carillon Master will come with pre-programmed music to fit your specific chime or carillon. The system will come with the following:
• Swinging Bell Ringing – Call to Worship.
• Wedding or Celebration Peals of Swinging Bells.
• Westminster Chimes, as well as many more.
• Time Strike – Hour, Half-Hour or Quarter Hour – Your Option.
• Tolls – Funeral Toll, Counted Toll, and Instant Toll.
• Liturgical bells – two, three, four, or six simultaneously swinging bells.
• Ability to schedule by typical week, day, date, season/holiday, or event.
• Ability to upgrade Program Library.

I guess the idea is that drunken tourists sombre citizens can go up to the Carillon, get moved by the music, reflect upon the terrible devastation caused by war, and look down through the break in the trees to the Irving Shipyard and see that nothing whatsoever has been learned from the deaths of thousands.

Remember when we all got rich by blocking the view of the Explosion site in order to build warships? Good times.

We may as well turn Needham Hill into a theme park. A merry-go-round, a tilt-a-whirl, a roller coaster, and a midway with chocolate covered bananas and a shooting range with a prize of a stuffed Explosion Bear for the best marksman. We could reenact the fateful day (there’s never any other explanation for people dying from war than “fate”), with performers dressed in period costumes yelling “Hark! An explosion! Covereth thine eyes!” (None of this has to make sense.) The best job would go to the actor portraying Vince Coleman, who will explain to the audience that back in the old days, telegraph operators typed long “S”s, so Coleman’s actual message read:

Hold up the train. Ammunition ∫hip afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Gue∫∫ this will be my la∫t me∫∫age. Good-bye boy∫.

Tourists could buy commemorative coins and specially issued Explosion lottery scratch-off tickets at the Explosion Gift Shop — reveal three mushroom clouds and win a million dollars!

If only there were some way to combine the theme park with an aquarium…. that would put Halifax on the map. On.The.Map.

5. Canteen theft

“A Dartmouth sandwich shop is looking for a thief who grabbed a celebrated piece of art off their wall and strolled out of the café and into the afternoon sunlight,” reports Jon Tattrie for the CBC:

Renee Lavallee, owner of the Canteen on Ochterloney Street, said just before a busy lunch hour started on Monday, a man sat down at the counter and looked around “like he was assessing the place.”

It soon got busy with the lunch rush. She says that’s when he pulled the painting off the wall and strolled out the front door. Nobody noticed at the time, but Lavallee did see the gap on the wall when she started work today.  

Not only that, but the Canteen caught the theft on video:

This happened yesterday. We’re pretty bummed about the whole incident. If you any further info please contact us. Thanks for the love! ?

— The Canteen (@TheCanteenNS) October 25, 2016


1. Remember MFT?


“A brand spanking new council will take their seats in city hall soon, and one of the early items on their agenda will be a report outlining the repercussions of 21 different amendments to Halifax Transit’s new plan, Moving Forward Together (MFT),” writes Erica Butler:

We last left the MFT plan in the spring, when our previous council had just approved the thing while at the same time submitting their long list of requested changes.

Since then, you’ve likely heard not a peep about our new transit plan. That’s because the plan itself is designed to unfurl ever so slowly, over the course of five years, with only two relatively minor changes scheduled for this year.

But with a new council taking control, the plan amendments report due back near the end of November, and a new city-wide transportation plan in the works, transit advocacy group It’s More Than Buses has started making some noise again about the MFT.

Click here to read “Remember MFT?”

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

2. Construction fences

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

“Halifax has been working to improve the quality of fences around downtown construction sites,” notes Stephen Archibald:

This includes a commitment to make the pedestrian experience less fraught (no more disappearing  sidewalks). Have you noticed things getting better? Me neither.

While recently walking in Copenhagen we passed a number of construction sites and a few of you might be interested in how a city sensitive to pedestrians and good design handles their fences.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

News that the Billy Graham Association has sent their chaplains to pray with Cape Breton flood victims hit the CBC airwaves last week.

What was not mentioned was that these folks, and their sister organization Samaritan’s Purse, hold some pretty horrible views on homosexuality. For example, according to their website the Billy Graham Association believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexuals can and ought to be cured of their sexual orientation.

This belief is not only profoundly anti-intellectual, it is directly harmful to millions of young gay and lesbian people who remain marginalized around the world. 

It is stunning that in North America today, one can still find functioning adults who hold these beliefs.

The Billy Graham website declares that part of their mission is not only to provide emotional support to disaster victims, but to “appropriately share God’s hope.”

We should be wary of any group that arrives during a time of shock, loss and disorientation with the goal of sharing their religious beliefs in the guise of emotional and spiritual support. Especially when those beliefs promote hate.

While help is no doubt greatly appreciated by many victims of the Thanksgiving Day flood, I hope others in CBRM will join me in letting the Billy Graham Association and Samaritan’s Purse know that their homophobic beliefs have no place in our community.

Dr. Brendan McCarville, Sydney



City council (1pm, City Hall) — the outgoing city council has been called to a special meeting to approve the contract with the Outside Workers. The entire meeting is in camera.


Public Accounts (10am, Province House) — Auditor General Michael Pickup will release the joint provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland) audit of Atlantic Lottery Corporation. If I were a betting man (see what I did there?), I’d put 20 bucks on “scandal.”

On campus


YouTube video

Hamlet (8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Tony Richardson’s 1969 film, starring Nicol Williamson as Hamlet, Anthony Hopkins as Claudius, and Marianne Faithfull as Ophelia.

In the harbour

3am: Travestern, chemical tanker, arrives at Pier 9 from Come By Chance, Newfoundland
6am: ZIM Luanda, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
8am: Regatta, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Quebec with up to  800 passengers
3pm: ZIM Luanda, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
3:30pm: Rigel Leader, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
3:30pm: Regatta, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Bar Harbor
5pm: CSL Reliance, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea

6am: ZIM New York, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from New York
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41


I’m speaking with J-school students this morning. I always enjoy talking with students — they have an optimism and energy I can only vaguely remember through a haze of bitter disappointment and drink. I’ll do my best to disabuse them of that optimism. Afterwards, I’m heading up to Young Street to talk with Sheldon MacLeod and (I think) Lezlie Lowe. We’ll be on News 95.7, at 2pm.

Please consider subscribing to the Examiner. Just $5 or $10 a month goes a long way. Or, consider making a one-time contribution via PayPal. Thanks much!

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

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  1. Re: Arresting journalists
    It is beyond reprehensible that Justin Brake would be arrested for being clearly an observer and not a participant. Following a crowd is far from being part of a crowd. I suspect that when and if this comes before a judge that would be clear. In fact any prosecutor to push this can and should be seen as acting in a malicious way.
    If we start arresting responsible journalists for being inconvenient to certain corporate or government interests, then we as a society are no better than China or Russia or North Korea.

  2. Everyone is a reporter. A reporter/journalist has no rights other than the rights of all other citizens. Trespass is a different matter.

    1. There is a categorical difference — and one that is protected constitutionally– between a protestor and reporter. In my capacity as a reporter (not otherwise), I have the right to enter all sorts of areas that would be off limits for other people. Documenting a political protest, and a protest that appears to violate trespassing rules (this has not been tested in court), is ABSOLUTELY the right and duty of the press, and that necessarily means that the reporter must have access to the scene.

      1. Who decides who’s a reporter or not? Especially with the Internet it seems like that can be just about anyone?

      2. Is Ezra Levant a journalist, or a reporter, or a commentator or just another person with an opinion ?
        Is Jeffrey Simpson a journalist, or a commentator or a person who wrote an opinion piece ?
        Same question for Lawrence Martin.

        And ditto for all those other people on TV, radio and in print and online publications who mix a report of events with a personal opinion. has a section entitled ‘opinion’, see here :

        The USA has a much more sane approach to freedom of speech and freedom of the press than we have.
        I don’t mind how you mix news with your personal opinion of an issue, it’s your website and you can publish what you want, but coming from a background of decades of reading all manner of newspapers I think I prefer ‘Just the facts,just the facts’ as Stan Freberg once said.

        1. There are never just “facts” without context. There just aren’t.

          I fall on giving Ezra the right to be a reporter if he behaves as a reporter.

          People can write whatever they want. Where this matters is in the collection of information. People are recognized as reporters at Province House (Jean Laroche hands out credentials), at fire scenes (my former speciality), at crime scenes (Dan Arsenault), and at protest scenes (Amy Goodman and Justin Brake). In each situation, there are professionals recognized as reporters. As I say, there are borderline and arguable cases, and maybe a court can weigh in on them, but in this particular instance, it’s inarguable that Justin Brake is a reporter doing his constitutionally protected job. Taking him out of the equation by court order is an outrageous abuse of state power.

  3. As with the arrests of Amy Goodman and Deia Schlosberg, most media outlets have remained silent. Where is the outrage that journalists can be arrested for doing their jobs? If the media that most people watch and read don’t express concern, then those in power will continue to erode basic democratic protections.

  4. 96 percent is easy on a strike vote, realistically higher than that is easy. Actions are a whole other game, especially with an executive that doesn’t have the trust of the membership.

  5. As with Amy Goodman and Democracy Now at Standing Rock the arrest of a reporter doing his/her job is OUTRAGEOUS!!!

    It is PR message control on steroids. It is Mark Lever on steroids. Things like this should be repudiated at the highest level. Yes I’m looking at you pretty boy Justin Trudeau. Put your money where your mouth is.

    We can’t expect much from people like Stephen McNeil (who would love to jail reporters – Marieke Walsh?) as he’s probably going to jail some teachers before too long.

    1. Agreed, but to be clear it appears he avoided arrest by leaving. Threatened with arrest is just as bad though.

    2. I wonder if a journalist from a more-traditional media outlet would receive the same treatment as Mr. Brake? I can see government, courts, and corporations taking liberties with a “blogger” that they would never try with a CBC or Telegram reporter.

      Now, obviously the quality of the webhosting (ahem) should not be a determining factor in the legitimacy of the journalism.

      I think the traditional outlets should be making a bigger deal out of this infringement on press freedoms. It is shortsighted of them to let a “blogger” get pushed around by the authorities. They should be ensuring that it is not their stature as large, professional media organizations that protects them and leaves out in the cold, but the common defense that they are press that defends large and small media outlets alike.