On campus
In the harbour


1. Cindy Day

Cindy DAY
Cindy Day

I’ve met Cindy Day three times, each time when I came to the CTV studios to talk with Steve Murphy for the suppertime newscast. While I waited to be miked up, I sat on a couch in a small alcove off the studio. Day never searched me out — honestly, to this day, I doubt she even knows who I am — but as she walked past, she saw a stranger sitting on the couch, came over, introduced herself, shook my hand, smiled, said she was glad to meet me, and went on to do her work. She was delightful. She radiated kindness and decency. I liked her, and continue to like her.

But now social media is shaming her for an awkward moment on the Tuesday eventing newscast. You can watch it here, at the 1:30 mark. Her crime? She didn’t know about the Fort McMurray fire — the horrible, devastating fire — and made flippant remarks about people in Fort McMurray enjoying exceptionally warm weather. The reaction on Twitter was predictably horrible. Some examples:

To truly show support for those affected by the Fort McMurray fires, donate to the Red Cross, then call CTV and ask them to fire Cindy Day.

— Andy Bowers (@evilpez4) May 4, 2016

“fort Mac was definitely the hot spot today”- Cindy Day is a savage

— Brett (@brettbinderr_) May 5, 2016

Evidently, some people cannot criticize a woman without using the worst of misogynist and racist terms. (By contrast, Redditors were quite sensible.)

Day is not a bad person, and means no one harm. I have no idea about her meteorological abilities, but clearly — and does anyone at all doubt this? — clearly, she meant no offence. At best, she was uninformed, out of the loop, unaware of the huge catastrophe unfolding in Fort McMurray.

I don’t want to make any excuses for Day. It was a mistake: not only did she miss the major weather-related story of the day, but because she missed it she wasn’t able to explain the disaster to viewers in terms of climate change, the defining political and social challenge of our times. In fact, she did just the opposite — she saw the unusually hot and dry Albertan climate as a good thing. I guess Day was caught up in her local forecasts, and was somehow crazily uninformed, and then none of her colleagues interrupted her to set her straight.

Shit happens, and sometimes shit happens spectacularly.

But is that a hanging offence?

Social media is a wonderful thing — it gives voice to people who had previously been ignored. We’re a better society because the un-connected can now speak directly to the world without mediation. And there are many times when the Twitterverse pulls the rug out from under the Powers That Be, which unfortunately too often include the mainstream media.

All the same, at the outer edges of the pulling-the-rug-out-from-underism is an unhinged culture of shame, when the hive mind of the Twitterverse sets out to utterly destroy those deemed evil. At such times, there is no room for facts, or explanation, or apology, or redemption. The goal is destruction, period.

People make mistakes. Must they be destroyed for it?

Cindy Day is a decent, kind person. Whatever happened Tuesday night doesn’t justify the abuse she’s received.

2. Liane Tessier

Liane Tessier. Photo: Facebook
Liane Tessier. Photo: Facebook

“A fight against gender discrimination, retribution and gossip at a Halifax fire station is approaching its final stage as the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (HRC) refers the case to a public Board of Inquiry,” reports Robert Devet:

“I fought tooth and nail for this for a very long time,” says Liane Tessier, a former firefighter.  “My hope is for my case to be a catalyst for legal change for women and gender rights all across Canada.”

I interviewed Tessier back in 2009:

The short version of Tessier’s complaint to the Human Rights Commission is that she was denied a job with the fire department only because of negative recommendations from two men she had already complained about.

While working as a volunteer firefighter at the Herring Cove station, Tessier explains, she faced increasing harassment from a pair of male firefighters at the station. She went through the normal internal complaint system within the Halifax department, sought help from Halifax’s Employee Assistance Program and took a leave of absence.

As that grievance was slowly working its way through the process, she applied to become a full-time, paid firefighter with the department—the idea being she could work at any of the other HRM fire stations. She had far more than the required aptitudes and certifications, and easily passed the tests. She also had favourable letters of reference. But when it came time for a reference check from within the department, management turned to none other than one of the men she had filed a grievance against. The men, one of whom had in the meanwhile been promoted to captain at Herring Cove, recommended she not be hired.

3. Steele

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 7.17.09 AM

The Steele Auto Group has issued a statement and the above architectural renderings about its plans for the north end neighbourhood around Colonial Honda:

In recent months, working with a licensed real estate professional, we acquired some neighboring properties on Fern Lane, North and McCully streets and have since developed plans to expand in our current location. It is important to note that 14 of the 20 properties acquired were in fact already listed for sale; those 14 properties were rental units with a high vacancy rate, and several had bylaw citations for appearance.

We will be making improvements to the existing space with a design befitting the area and respectful of our surroundings. While the properties have long been zoned commercial, we have no plans to construct any new buildings. The designs were created for us by a professional architect and are mindful of the residential component of our neighborhood and include creating green buffers to enhance the area surrounding the properties.

The statement went over like a lead balloon with neighbours opposed to the plans, reports Haley Ryan for Metro:

[Chelsi] Ferguson said she has no idea why the properties being rentals would be “relevant in any way,” since renters contribute to the community just like homeowners, and the thought a parking lot is an improvement to any housing is “absurd.”

“After all the … outcry I’m surprised that they released those renderings thinking it’s going to put people’s minds at ease,” Ferguson said. 

“They don’t get it.”


1. Kempt Road

What with the brouhaha over the Steele Auto Group’s plan to bulldoze a north end neighbourhood and turn it into an expanded Colonial Honda parking lot, Stephen Archibald decided to take a stroll down Kempt Road, which was long ago given over to car dealerships:

My first thought was what an odd mixture of chaotic and goofy: Kempt Road runs through the middle of this scene but one side of the street blends into the other…

This image of Steele as top predator amused me.


2. Mersey Bowater Park

The proposed park.
The proposed park.

The Saint Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association is proposing that much of the former Mersey Bowater land off Highway 103 be turned into a park. In an open letter to provincial authorities, the SMBSA writes:

The area is heavily used for recreation and contains the Old Annapolis Road hiking trail, a world-class fish ladder (recently built by Nova Scotia Power), stands of mature red spruce, a Scout Camp, protected wetlands and three nature reserves.

World-class fish ladder? Anyway, the letter continues:

The SMBSA believes that this area provides a perfect location for a “front country” park (see attached map), being close to the 103 and 30 minutes from downtown Halifax. Local residents have made extensive use of these lands for generations.  Families from the Bay “always” go there by canoe, bike, cross country skiing or ATVs.


This park would be designed to continue current usage patterns such as ATV rallies, hiking, fishing, and camping. The use of camps on Island Lake would continue.  With the view of preserving this excellent recreational area, we are planning the park with other community groups that share our desire to preserve the heritage and quality of life in the St. Margaret’s Bay area.

You can read the full letter here.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

It is with some pleasure but more so with some distaste that I write this letter.

The pleasure is that I was able to participate in (Sunday’s) Merchant Marine monument unveiling on the Sydney waterfront with fellow members of the Cape Breton Naval Veterans Association (CBNVA) and our surviving Merchant Navy veterans, although there were a few veterans who were unable to attend. It was wonderful to see their service acknowledged and the monument depicts the horrors of shipwrecked sailors hoping to be plucked from the ocean. I am sure that the hundreds of others who attended were equally impressed by the memorial.

The distaste part came during the banquet in the Victoria Park Mess. While Dave Salt, Coast Guard Operations Person in Charge was delivering his fine keynote speech about the role the Merchant Marine played in the Second World War (I mean this gathering was what it is all about, yes?) his voice was drowned out by a large number of people who decided that they would rather chit-chat with loud conversations among themselves, paying no attention at all to what was being said. Ignorance is bliss! Part way through Mr. Salt’s address I had had enough and stood up to tell those speaking to show some respect and be silent while he was talking. They took notice and fell quiet – but only for a short time, enabling Mr. Salt to finish his speech. The next speaker had to endure the same rowdiness from the same portion of the audience that had been a problem since the very first speaker mounted the podium. A comrade of mine also shouted to them to “shut up,” but they were so busy being a nuisance that he wasn’t heard.

Despite the speeches fiasco, I’m sure the Cape Breton Naval Veterans Association and guests enjoyed the candlelight service, the lovely meal and the rest of the ceremonies. My only wish is to remind guests that for any such future events that they attend, they are merely that – guests – and as such could be asked to leave the premises if they interfere in any manner. If there is a next time, I would suggest we appoint a Sergeant at Arms to tend to this matter.

Clive Hatton, Member, CBNVA


I have some second-hand experience with wildfires. Good friends in California have lost everything in fires, and for a while I worked as an investigator for a lawyer who took up cases involving wildfires, so I met scores of other people who had lost their homes and properties (it was my job to find them). So I know the devastation, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

We seem to be getting tripped up around the Fort McMurray fire. The residents who have been evacuated are victims. The firefighters are too busy right now to understand that they are victims too, but after the fire, evacuees and firefighters alike will suffer various degrees of PTSD, and some may never recover.

It is mean-spirited and just plain wrong to assign some “karmic” lesson to the fire. People going about their lives and finding work where they can, including in the tar sands, and then losing their homes and possessions and (likely) their livelihoods is not some morality play. It’s just tragic. We should help out if and how we can. I haven’t vetted it, but many people are linking to the Canadian Red Cross’s appeal for its fire relief operations; probably even more important, however, is providing the continued political support that will be needed to fund government reconstruction and relief efforts into the future.

Still, we don’t need to vilify the victims of the fire to point out that climate change is a contributing factor. It doesn’t matter so much how the fire started — I’ve seen fires started by lightning, cigarettes carelessly thrown on the ground, the blades of lawnmowers hitting rocks, people driving their cars onto dry grass, untended campfires, electrical wires arcing, and arson, among other causes. But however it starts, a fire in a typical cold, wet spring won’t do much damage. It’s a spreading fire that causes damage, and a fire spreads when it occurs in a hot, dry climate.

It was 32 degrees in Fort McMurray on Tuesday, on May 3. That is freakish, unusually warm weather.

Sure, weather isn’t climate, but weather trends are, and we’re seeing this warming and drying across much of North America. Extreme weather events are becoming the norm.

We’re going to see a lot more of these climate change-related disasters, with untold numbers of victims: refugees, evacuees, political destabilization, resource wars, and worse, I fear. This isn’t the people in Fort McMurray’s fault — they are merely supplying a market driven by the rest of our demands. The sooner we get off fossil fuels, the better.



Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (4:30pm, Office and Maintenance Building, Point Pleasant Park) — it won’t be discussed by the committee, but the city is issuing a tendor for the Black Rock vending spot.


Legislature sits (1–10pm, Province House)

On Campus

After a stroke (5pm, Room 150, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Johanne Desrosiers, from the Université de Sherbrooke, will speak on “findings from her research that measured participation in daily activities of older adults discharged home from hospital following stroke.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Thursday. Map:

Noon: Jones Tide, offshore supply ship, sails from Pier 4 (the old Coast Guard dock in Dartmouth) to the offshore field
4pm: Atlantic Concert, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
11pm: Atlantic Concert, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove to sea


We’ll be recording Examineradio today.

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

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  1. Sexism is everywhere, but as this story from this week’s Washington Post shows, Nova Scotia is not the only place where governments have been failed to deal with the deeply embedded sexism in their fire stations” Female Firefighters Still Get Harassed by Women Hating Co-workers. Why Is That Still Okay?”

  2. Steele Auto/Colonial Honda

    With so much going on in their neighbourhood, I guess folks didn’t see this one coming. In discussions of both the Regional Plan and its revision, however, sub-optimal use of land close to the centre was emphasised as a challenge, with auto dealerships as an example. At the very least a freeze should have been established then to prevent expansion of such land use.

    Steele says some of the rental housing it wants to tear down is in poor shape. If so, why hasn’t the city enforced improvement? We need good quality low rental housing in this location a lot more than car dealership parking.

    If the use of the land for parking is just transitional, given the surplus of high-end high rises under construction, surely the city should be trying to ensure that this space is made available for building family-friendly lower rental housing.

    Also, as we discuss better transit and the kind of land use needed to support it, the optics of creating more space for parking cars in this location is really bad!

  3. couple things, wasn’t there a less ‘bunny’ pic of that firefighter you could have chosen?
    re cindy day, the mob loves to stone her. people need to have a ‘monster’ to make them feel human(e) because, frankly, most people are selfish jerks. and day is not.

    1. It’s her Facebook profile photo, how she chooses to present herself to the world.

      1. and mine is two dogs, it’s how I present myself to my friends, not the world. linkedin would be a better choice for someone adding an image of the subject of a news piece, no?

  4. I feel bad for Cindy Day, but she is just a victim of the same practice that you condone when the shoe is on the other foot. If they are taking down the “power structure” then you love the mob, it just depends on your politics. Person I like: twitter shaming bad. Person I don’t like: twitter shaming good. Its the same thing with terms you don’t like, systems you don’t like, pretty much everything. Its an attitude that lacks consistency and integrity. This is a phenomenon that is currently a huge issue on the left, but also exists on the right. For example:

    “Evidently, some people cannot criticize a woman without using the worst of misogynist and racist terms.”

    Morning File, Tuesday, December 9, 2014
    “You don’t support meals for the homeless? You dick.”

    Morning File, Monday, June 1, 2015 –
    “That’s a chilling thought but it sure does make a lot of sense… if you’re a greedy, uncaring prick, that is.”

    Morning File, Thursday, March 24, 2016 –
    ” Andy “dick move” Fillmore ” ***with photo

    Just like with your opinion on twitter mobs, there is no consistency or logic outside of identity. Genital reference to sex I don’t like: good. Genital reference to sex I do like: bad.

    Actions are okay if I do them, but not if others do them … because . Morality is not universal any more, now there is a different morality for me than for you … because equality.

    Until this is addressed, there is no chance of helping Cindy Day.

  5. Cindy Day did nothing wrong. The whole CTV network seemed to have missed the turn in the Fort MacMurray fire. CBC was giving it wall-to-wall coverage.

    1. Exactly, it’s not like Cindy Day was improvising the whole script. Someone must have had a glance before she did the show.

  6. I agree that the anger against Day is mis-placed. She said something monumentally and unbelievably stupid and it hurt people. But I think it was very clear that it was stupid, not intentionally hurtful. People should lightly mock her and then move on. She probably needs to be privately reprimanded but asking to have her fired is a bit much. I actually have three bigger problems with what happened:

    1) Why did no one else on that set do anything at all about it? Frisco could have said something like “Given the tragedy happening there right now I am not sure that’s appropriate, Cindy.” and a producer could have intervened. Very weird that this is all falling on her.

    2) There needs to be a real conversation about how someone whose job it is to report on weather related news could have gone on the air and not known about the incredible human tragedy that was unfolding in Alberta. If your job is to go on TV and inform people about weather and you didn’t bother to ask someone for updates on the fire before you started shooting/wrote your jokes for the night then that’s a problem.

    3) She didn’t apologize. It’s an honest and dumb mistake but I can’t for the life of me understand why she didn’t apologize. Her facebook clarification doesn’t include the word “sorry” for some reason. I find it puzzling that people are so reluctant to apologize when they do things that cause hurt to other people. She didn’t do her job properly and as a result said something that (understandably) caused hurt to other people, as a basic act of decency she should say she’s sorry.

    1. I kind of feel like CTV really didn’t have her back here- surely somebody else was vaguely aware that Fort McMurray was going to be the featured “warmest place in Canada” and could have tipped her off so she could re-consider how she presented the weather fact? I think she could have still done her bit as usual and also acknowledged what was going on there and it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if somebody had intervened. I wouldn’t want to work somewhere that didn’t look out for me. :/

    2. Cindy Day is a newscaster, she was uninformed, she did not say something stupid… she made an uninformed comment… her CTV production team failed her… how is it that she was not consulted concerning the Fort Mac event and what her take weather-wise would be. She was allowed to go on without essential background information. I suppose some might say that she could have asked for an update on current events before going on, but what is the purpose of having a production team, if it is not to ensure the quality of the show that is produced? SSDD and Murphy’s Law at work once more.

  7. Agreed – the comments about Cyndy Day are deplorable, hateful, thuggish, idiotic. Good comment on the mob nature of the twitterverse at times . The best thing to do is push back as you’ve done. I don’t use twitter but I trust and hope people on twitter are also pushing back. It’d be good to know if that’s happening. Call them out while supporting Cyndy, like the organization set up by women specifically to do that, that CBC reported on awhile ago.

    All today’s stories & comments are thougthful, insightful and helpful. Fort MacMurray is a terrifying disaster that calls for solidarity now. Thanks!

  8. Fort McMONEY was, from the get-go, an anachronistic BUBBLE created by the Tar Sands Barons for THEIR PROFIT. Hard-done-by people (mostly Maritimers and Newfies) had little chloice but to becomne slaves to this pipe-dream or starve to death at home.

    Let’s see who PAYS for the devastation — material and HUMAN.

    MY bet is that of all the money that will be expended to «recover» only a pittance (if ANY) will come from those who profitted most, and the vast majority will be raised on the backs of Federal taxpayers (most of whom had NO «liability» no matter how you parse it), and via insurance claims which will drive up premiums for everyone — a really unfair result for those of us who already find insurance a heavy financial burden.

    I feel deeply for the innocent victims whose lives are permanently scarred by this disaster. What enrages me is the total absence of response from the profiteers, and the looming expenditure of BILLIONS — most of which will, once the dust has settled, be found to have flown right over the heads of the victim peasantry, and landed squarely in the fat bank accounts of the Tar Sands Barons.

    1. So the Tar Sands Barons should pay for the damage caused by the wildfires because they attracted the workers to that location? BTW we the taxpayer support through Fed programs compensation for Floods in Calgary, Manitoba. Past fire damage around Kelowna. Ice Storms. Hurricanes. What is so different here that surprises you?

  9. So glad I missed the crap hurled at Cindy Day on Twitter yesterday, but sorry to know that it happened. That is awful behaviour and I am glad Tim that you called people out on it.

    As for the fire, it is obviously horrible. I am further haunted by the words of a colleague in Alberta who told me last month she was worried because the early spring weather and lack of snow had resulted in very dry conditions that could result in disaster.

    1. We narrowly escaped our own boreal landscape flaring up as it did in the spring of 2009. I was out in the “Backlands” on Halifax’s south mainland on May 2. It was tinder dry and people had been having open campfires on some of the Jack Pine barrens, which is where fires in this landscape typically start. With this rain we hopefully will bridge the most fire prone period – in spring as temperatures rise and before the the deciduous trees leaf out – for another year.