1. Glen Assoun is moving to Halifax

Glen and his daughter Tanya, outside the courtroom in Halifax after being released from custody in November 2014. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Glen Assoun is moving to Halifax,” I reported Friday:

In 1999, Assoun was convicted of the 1996 murder of his former girlfriend, Brenda Way. Assoun always maintained his innocence, but spent 16 years in prison for the murder.

Assoun is the subject of the first three parts of the Examiner’s Dead Wrong series.

Click here to read “Glen Assoun is moving to Halifax.”

There’s a lot to be angry about in the Glen Assoun case, but while a man spending 16 years in jail for a murder he probably didn’t commit is outrageous, at least that situation is to a degree explainable. It’s still wrong, but in retrospect we can see how all the pieces of the puzzle — Glen’s own troubled past; the probable (in my opinion) framing of Glen by several people who testified against him; the at-best lacklustre (at-worst complicit in framing an innocent man) investigation by police investigator David MacDonald; the fascinating but painful-to-behold drug-addled reality of Robin Hartrick; the truly bizarre court proceedings — came together to convict Glen.

What’s not understandable is why now, after everyone who has had a deep look at the case — not just Glen’s lawyers at Innocence Canada, but also Mark Green, a federal lawyer charged with examining the evidence, and Justice Jamie Chipman, who opined that Glen is actually “factually innocent” of the murder — has come away convinced that Glen was wrongfully convicted, the Justice Department has taken three long years (as of Friday’s hearing, to the day) doing apparently nothing about it, leaving Glen in a soul-tortured limbo, leading to his mental health breakdown.

There is, I hope, a dedicated stretch of one of the circles of hell for lawyers and bureaucrats who work to delay for political ass-covering purposes what should be done quickly for justice.

Incidentally, I was away on personal business Friday (see Footnotes). Thanks to King’s College journalism student Cory Funk for going to Friday’s court ruling in my stead, recording the proceedings, and sending me the recordings and his notes so I could write the article.

2. Dr. Gabrielle Horne

Dr Gabrielle Horne (CBC)

Writes Stephen Kimber:

Memo to Stephen McNeil, the health authority et al: stop bullying Dr. Gabrielle Horne and start delivering health care.

Click here to read “How much health care could $10 million have bought — and why it didn’t.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall. Click here to subscribe.

3. Examineradio, episode #138

Graham Steele with his new book.

Graham Steele has a new book, The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work for You.

“It’s actually an optimistic book because what it says to people is you can get things done.”

I sat down with Steele to find out how that really works. (Pro tip: record your conversation the next time you meet with a politician.)

[iframe style=”border:none” src=”//″ height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]

Maggie Rahr kicks off the episode with a discussion about the auditor general’s report on mental health services. Read her story about a woman’s desperate efforts to get help for her son.

And check out these facts and figures about gaps in mental health services in this series called Overburdened by journalism students in the investigative workshop at King’s.

(direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

4. Chasing the stadium dream, part Nth

Taxpayers spent $2.4 million to design this 25,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park, and a half a million dollars more to study building a 10-14,000 seat stadium at Shannon Park, and then another million dollars to study building a 20,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park. Now the city is being asked to look at another stadium proposal.

CBC sports reporter Devin Heroux went to the Schooners’ “kitchen party” — that ridiculously Atlantic Canadian-themed promotion in Ottawa for the proposed CFL expansion in Halifax. Our fair city is supposedly putting a new face of sophistication forward, but for the kitchen party pulled out all the old tropes — buddy in a lobster costume, diddly diddly music, general drunkenness, and people walking around yelling “sociable!” and “world-class!” at each other.

In any event, Heroux spoke with Anthony Leblanc, the CEO of the Arizona Coyotes (the Coyotes have desert-themed parties with retirees driving around in golf carts reenacting the O.K. Corral shoot-out), and CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

“LeBlanc shared exclusive details about the work the group has been doing behind the scenes for months now, specifically on the stadium issue,” writes Heroux:

He said the group has five potential stadium sites in Halifax and they’re compiling economic impact studies to determine what the best place would be to build it. LeBlanc said he’s hired an architect in Los Angeles to produce a stadium rendering that was presented to Halifax council.

Hey, Tony, pal, the good citizens of Halifax have already spent north of $3 million on various stadium studies through the years; maybe you could dust one of those off, eh? Who am I kidding?:

There’s a polite fiction that the stadium studies can be brushed off and used for some future stadium that will one day magically appear at Shannon Park, but at least one councillor called bullshit on that notions. “That’s just a fig leaf used to justify the expense of the studies,” said councillor Jackie Barkhouse.

And isn’t that the truth? Three million, maybe four million, dollars have been spent on stadium studies through the years, and always we were told that even if this particular stadium wasn’t built, the expense would be worth it because the plans could be used for the next stadium. Given that LeBlanc and crew are starting anew with stadium studies, I guess not.

No doubt we’ll soon see council voting to spend another quarter million — or half-million, or one million — dollars to study whatever proposal LeBlanc puts forward.

Oh, and please, economic impact studies? Economic impact studies are almost entirely bullshit, but even if we take their own logic seriously, there’s absolutely no difference in total economic impact on the community because of where in the community the stadium will be located.

We all know that the stadium will be proposed for Shannon Park. Never mind that we just went through a two-year public consultation process that ended with pretty pictures of a nice neighbourhood sans stadium, and that everyone praised the process and the pictures as proof that government Really Listens!™ to the people. Screw the people, we’re building a stadium at Shannon Park.




Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee – formerly District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.


Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — my first scan of the agenda doesn’t find anything too controversial, but I’ll have another look-see tomorrow.



No public meetings.


Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, Province House) — funding for trades to be discussed.

On campus



Brass Recital (Monday, 12pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre)  — students of Eric Mathis, David Parker, and Richard Simoneau will perform.

Senate (Monday, 3pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — the draft sexual violence policy will be presented.

Highs and Lows: Cannabis Use, Genetics, and Mental Illness (Monday, 7pm, the Nook, 2118 Gottingen Street)  — Timothy Krahn from Dalhousie University, Jehannine Austin from the University of British Columbia, and Rudolf Uher from Dalhousie University and King’s College London will speak. From the event listing:

Though cannabis use increases risk of psychiatric illness for all, approximately 1 in 3 individuals in the general population are 7 times more susceptible to the pathological effects of marijuana. As Canada moves to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, public education in these matters is a public health priority requiring increased public investments in prevention programmes, research, and healthcare supports and services across the population. Come to this Café Scientifique to listen to experts explain risks of mental illness associated with cannabis use in combination with certain predisposing genetic factors. Find out and join the discussion regarding the role of genetic counseling in understanding, preventing, and effectively treating these illnesses.


The Man of Mode (Tuesday, 7:30pm, Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Margot Dionne directs this play by George Etherege. $15 / $10. Additional shows each evening until Saturday, and Saturday also has a 2pm matinee.

Saint Mary’s


Ageing, Organizations, and Management (Tuesday, 2pm, Room LI135)  — Albert Mills will discuss his new book.

Museum of Natural History


Utopia on the Tip of Your Tongue: A Jewish History of Esperanto (Tuesday, 7pm, Auditorium, Museum of Natural History) — Sebastien Schulman, PhD candidate in Jewish History at Indiana University, will speak on the Jewish history and culture of Esperanto.

In the harbour

1:30am: Tongala, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
5am: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
7:30pm: Rt Hon Paul E Martin, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Baltimore
8:30pm: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Today is another travel day for me, so a light Morning File.

Arthur Bousquet, 1923–2017.

I went down to the U.S. for my father’s funeral and to be with my mother and siblings. Dad lived a long 94 years and died relatively painlessly. It went about as well as could be hoped.

I appreciate the many condolences and expressions of sympathy that have been sent my way. They mean a lot to me.

If all goes as planned, I’ll be back in town by this evening, and back to a regular work schedule tomorrow.

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

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  1. Also, re #4: Of course Shannon Park ideas were a joke. I’m calling it (Mike) SAVAGE STADIUM already. Career politicians can’t just pee on a pole and go home.

  2. I just fact checked the facial similarity you share with your dear Dad via FB. Handsome dudes! I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to say goodbye to your father, Tim. Many years after my own loving Dad died, I’m reminded of him in all my life. Fathers are precious ????

  3. Sorry for your loss Tim, Sounds like he was a special man.
    “Safe on the other shore with friends that have gone before”

  4. Sorry to read of your dad’s passing. Great photo of him. No matter the many years it is hard to lose a parent.

    1. I think a proper aquarium would attract more visitors. At least it could run every day and attract school groups. The one in Toronto is always packed, pretty amazing and quite expensive. Probably harder to scam taxpayers with an aquarium though… But not impossible!

  5. Sorry to hear about your dad Tim. Looks like he was one of The Greatest Generation. At least his passing sounded reasonably painless and 94 is a very respectable inning.

    My mother is 92 and I dread the call.

    All the best.

  6. The organization that wants government support wrote the economic impact study. What could go wrong? How well has that worked in the past?

  7. Here’s a note about Economic Impact studies.

    They are useful as a comparative tool.

    If you use the same analysis method to compare between viable alternative and the ‘do nothing’ option then you get an indication which would have ‘economic impacts’ on the factors you’ve considered and may help choose between these courses of action.

    If you presuppose the conclusion and only study the economic impact of the narrowly defined thing you want to do the result is meaningless.

  8. My condolences on your loss.

    An Atlantic article last year started: “It has become widely accepted that publicly-financed sports stadiums are a bad deal for cities” Apparently Halifax hasn’t accepted that. The article continues with the experience of St. Louis:

    “In 1995, the city, county, and state spent $258 million to build a stadium hoping to attract a football team, eventually luring the Rams from Los Angeles. It didn’t come cheap: Stadium maintenance—which was written into the contract—was expensive, to the tune of $6 million a year. That’s far more than the city was making from games. Now, the Rams are headed back to Los Angeles, and St. Louis is stuck with $144 million in debt and ongoing maintenance costs.”

    Some cities are experimenting with making a stadium the centre of a commercial neighbourhood, but whether this will work is uncertain, and Shannon Park is not large enough for that kind of development. Meanwhile, just the money spent on studies could do much to improve the city if it were more wisely spent.

  9. Condolences, Tim. That’s a good long life. May we be so fortunate. I don’t know why you’re so down on the stadium: it’s got built-in branding—Amazon Arena! Team name: the Nova Scotia World-Class Innovators.

  10. Note to CFL wannabes: For a primer on how to PUNK Nova Scotia politicians check with the ferry executives in Maine who are still laughing all the way to the bank. I understand it’s common knowledge in New England that politicos in Nova Scotia are easily PLAYED (for, perhaps, a bit of coin in their own coffers). So, just a take a page from Maine. Why waste time?

  11. So, the “good ole boys” have chartered a fleet of dump trucks to start the bullshit deliveries to City hall and the Provincial Legislature so they can pull off the next con job on the hapless taxpayer to build a stadium for a CFL franchise so that a few rich people can get richer and the public left with a bill for a facility that nobody needs.

  12. Your father lived for 94 years and I am sure he had many stories to tell. I hope you have great memories and I hope he was proud of what you have achieved.

  13. Condolences for your lost. 94 years eh? Does that means the Examiner’s gonna be around for another 40 years?

    As to Graham Steele, haven’t read the book but listened to the podcast. Wonderful to tutor the unwashed masses as to how to influence elected officials.

    Do the same rules apply to the moneyed classes like the John Risleys and Richard Butts’ of the world who have untold and unaccountable influence on based on their uniquely culivated old boys network of business lunches and taxpayer funded MIT retreats

  14. I guess Shannon Park will turn into Halifax’ land of milk and honey, as both amazon and CFL are going to move there shortly?

    1. I think you’re on to something. I’d never go to a CFL game but if they had a human vs Amazon robot match in a stadium/warehouse full of boxed items, I might be interested.

  15. I think the people who are calling the talk about the risks of pot a “Café Scientifique” have been smoking too much pot.