On campus
In the harbour


1. Direction 180

Photo: Global
Photo: Global

“The Direction 180 methadone clinic on Gottingen Street says it needs another $150,000 a year to stabilize its current operation plus $2,000 a year for each new patient,” reports Rebecca Lau for Global News:

Unexpected costs for the clinic’s new mobile outreach bus, coupled with unsuccessful grant applications, have put a major hole in its finances.

The clinic recently laid off two staff members and scaled back its services.

“We’ve been reducing staffing hours,” Cindy MacIsaac, the clinic’s executive director, said.

“We stopped serving the community of Spryfield. So the mobile doesn’t travel to Spryfield anymore. [Clients] have to travel to Fairview or to Halifax to get their methadone.”

There has been an explosion in heroin use, heroin addiction, and heroin-related deaths in western countries in recent years, a perhaps inevitable result of the military adventure in Afghanistan. There’s no reason to expect Halifax to be immune from the trend. Combined with a substantial increase in oxycodone addiction, we’ve got a real need for methadone treatment.

I don’t know anything about the management of Direction 180, but I do know that the cost in human lives, in the pain to friends and loved ones of those lost to drugs, and in actual dollars from increasing crime rates will pale in comparison to whatever it costs to help people get off the horse.

2. Lobster

“North American scientists are refuting Sweden’s claim that an all-out trade ban is needed to head off an invasion of eastern North American lobsters, a move that would rob the Canadian industry of a multi-million dollar market,” reports Keith Doucette for the Canadian Press:

Last week, Sweden’s Environment Ministry petitioned the European Union to list the American lobster as a foreign species, which would prohibit U.S. and Canadian exports of live lobsters to its 28 member states.

The move would pose a major threat to Canada’s East Coast fishery which exported about $75 million in live lobster to European markets last year, a figure that the Lobster Council of Canada says accounts for about 10 per cent of live exports.

Doucette goes on to interview Boris Worm, who discusses the science of invasive species.

3. Mi’kmaq Women’s Resource Centre

“A small drop-in centre in downtown Sydney is making a big difference for aboriginal women at risk,” reports Nicole MacLennan for the CBC:

The Mi’kmaq Women’s Resource Centre offers services such as counselling, health care and a needle exchange program to women who work in the sex trade, many of whom are intravenous drug users or recovering addicts.

Heidi Marshall, the volunteer co-ordinator, opened the centre in December with no permanent funding, one outreach worker and a roster of volunteers.

She and her daughter decided to open the centre after years of working with a task force in Cape Breton on trafficking and sex work. 

“There was a lot of talk but there was really no solutions,” said Marshall. “My vision for the place right now is to provide some safe services for the women. I just want to keep them safe, to be able to have non-judgemental services in harm reduction.”

Sydney is too far from Halifax for me to do any real reporting there, but I’ve suspected that there is a racial component to that city’s recent ill-advised crackdown on street prostitution. As I’ve said before:

When we crack down on street prostitution, we’re pushing these women and girls even further to the margins, even more into the shadows. They’ll now meet potential clients in sketchier locations, away from the downtown street lights, away from passersby who might help a fleeing or injured woman, away from the support the sex workers can give each other on the stroll.

We need to have adult conversations about decriminalization and/or legalization of sex work, and how we would go about that to best protect sex workers. I certainly can’t provide all the answers in a morning news post. I suggest we listen to the sex workers themselves, and ask them how to proceed.

In the meanwhile, the Cape Breton crackdown on johns might’ve pleased a few business owners and fed the gossip mill, but it did nothing at all to help the women and girls who work the street. On the contrary, it put them in increased danger.

Marshall is taking a small step in the right direction.

4. Andy Fillmore

Andy "dick move" Fillmore
Andy “dick move” Fillmore

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore’s staff repeatedly agreed to be interviewed for Examineradio but then cancelled, before finally simply telling Examineradio producer Russell Gragg that “we’re not going to do that” [be interviewed by the Examiner]. Over the past couple of weeks, dozens of people have taken to Twitter to urge Fillmore to speak with the Examiner.

Fillmore has responded with a dick move: he granted an interview to The Coast.


1. Granville Street


Stephen Archibald today has a photo essay about Granville Street. As usual, all of it is interesting, including this aside about the photo above:

Here is the brochure for the opening of the shiny new mall/hotel about 1980. The treasure is a very special example of copy writing that seems to anticipate the speech patterns of future mayor Peter Kelly:

“There’s something very special about nostalgia. . . being where daring dreams become reality and seeing, as it was so long ago. There’s something very special about Halifax, and, the Barrington Inn is a part of this very special feeling.”

2. Cranky letter of the day

To The Coast:

Dear mayor Mike Savage,

My name is Hannah Starzomski, I am 11 years old and I live in Bedford Nova Scotia. I do not agree with our city clear-cutting trees to build ugly homes that all look the same. Take Vancouver, for an example: They are cutting down some trees and building interesting, unique-looking dwellings that blend in or create visual excitement within their environment.

Also, if you are clear-cutting trees, the habitats for animals will be extinguished and soon all animals in Halifax will be gone from our city. I am shocked at the rapid development of the Bedford Highway area and am saddened by the loss of green space. Nova Scotia and Halifax/Dartmouth are known for clean forests, lakes, oceans, wilderness, animals and plant life. It seems with better planning, community involvement and the use of architects when planning these new communities, we would have a more pleasing and greener environment to live in and be proud of.

Please respond to my letter. Thank you very much.

Hannah Starzomski, Bedford




Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (10am, City Hall) — the committee will accept the 2106-2021 Economic Strategy. Yep, Halifax has a Five Year Plan, just like the Soviets and Chairman Mao.

Halifax’s Five Year Plan doesn’t involve internal exile to the gulag, but there’s plenty of party-approved rhetoric. A quick scan of the plan finds the following frequency of word counts:

development — 104
align — 41
collaboration — 26
innovation — 14
sustainable — 14
value proposition — 13
vibrant — 8
attitude — 7
wage — 0
salary — 0

Two of those words have real meaning — the two words that don’t appear in the Five Year Plan at all.

One explanation for the lack of attention given to worker issues in the Five Year Plan is the makeup of the plan’s advisory committee:

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 7.19.05 AM

Note that not one union representative is on the advisory committee, nor anyone else who can remotely be said to represent the people who actually do the real work in this community.

But on the committee are Gordon Stevens, who complains every time the minimum wage goes up; Joe Ramia, for whom we break all planning rules and give hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidy; Matt Hebb, world-class bullshitter; Anita Perry, mouthpiece for the oil industry; and Ozge Yeoglu, beneficiary of a quarter of a quarter-million dollar gift from the taxpayers.

Some are more equal than others.

Transportation Standing Committee (1pm, City Hall) — the committee will accept Halifax Transit’s “Moving Forward Together Plan,” which begins the redesign of bus routes. See Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler’s take on the plan here (behind the paywall). Also, councillor Waye Mason is rejecting staff advice and instead recommending that the city begin to install side guards on city trucks.

Active Transportation Standing Committee (4pm, City Hall) — no action items on the agenda.


Standing Committee on Resources (9am, One Government Place) — someone or someones from the Department of Energy will tell us how tidal power will bring prosperity forever, amen.

On Campus

Thesis defence, Engineering (1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Giovana Bonat Celli will defend her thesis, “Development of an Oral Delivery System to Modulate the Release of Anthocyanins from Haskap Berries (Lonicera caerulea L.).”

Zero inflated multipollutant exposure models (3:30pm, Colloquium Room #319, Chase Building) — Swarna Weerasinghe will speak on “Small area population level air quality health risk assessment using zero inflated multipollutant exposure models: Application to asthma hospital admissions.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Thursday. Note the lobster boats off Yarmouth. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Thursday. Note the lobster boats off Yarmouth. Map:

ZIM Texas, container ship, Valencia, Spain to Pier 42, then sails to sea
Helga, general cargo, Puerto Tarafa, Cuba to Pier 31, then sails to sea
JS Missouri, tanker, Baltimore to anchorage for bunkers

BW Lynx sails to sea
Oceanex Sanderling sails to St. John’s


I’ll have a business story out today. Check back on the homepage.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. So is this five-year economic plan binding, and if so, on whom, and for what? What would Council approval of the plan actually translate into? Skimming through the accompanying Report to Council – signed by Maggie MacDonald, Managing Director, Government Relations and External Affairs, but prepared by Jake Whalen, Senior Advisor, Economic Policy & Development, so accountability isn’t unclear at all – and following a vague and repetitive chart titled “Five-Year Strategic Goals & Supporting Objectives” (p. 6) that purports to sum up the plan, I find this scanty “Financial Implications” section:

    “Funding for the renewed economic strategy was approved by Regional Council through the 2015/16 operating budget.

    “Actions as described in the strategy can be implemented within current budgets. Actions that lead to proposed activities that require unanticipated budget allocations will be brought forward to Regional Council for approval.”

    That’s the entirety of that section of the Report. Likewise, in the “Growth Plan” itself, I found no price tags or estimates on any of the actions described. So we know from the Report that the work to draw up the Growth Plan was funded, but nothing at all about which actions, or how many of them, it proposes, definitely “can be implemented within current budgets”, or which will be subject to Council approval, or when.

    Assuming I didn’t miss something, it appears that in giving approval to yet another Plan, Council either wouldn’t really be committing to a five-year plan at all, or perhaps will keep this key information under wraps. Which in either case makes assessing the thing, or debating any part of it, kind of a waste of my time. Perhaps that is the real strategy here, I don’t know.

    I’d rather see my tax money spent on something with real promise, like sending Hannah Starzomski and kids like her to architecture school.

  2. Now what possible good would it be to have a labour rep on ANY committee?

    Working people are well represented by the Ray Ivanys, Joe Ramias and Andy Fillmores of the world.

    They know what’s best for us lowly plebes and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

    1. In a perfect world, a labour rep would be nice to have on there to represent workers. Unfortunately, labour groups will throw their members under the bus if they threaten the corporate interests of the union. Unfortunately, some unions in the country/province are little more than dues collection machines, which is a shame.

      1. Yet someone like Joe Ramia, the developer of the convention centre is not problematic?

        Business and government in bed together amen. Who’s interests will be served I wonder?

        We plebes don’t stand a chance.

        1. I’m not saying all those people are saints. Just don’t assume that a representative from labour will be much of an improvement. As a CEP/Unifor member for 17 years, I’ve seen enough. If you think that a labour union will even the playing field, the answer to that is undetermined.

  3. 4 – 103 – 40,000,000

    Unsold condos in Halifax & Dartmouth and value

    The Trillium………………9 units $6.5 million
    St Lawrence Place ….44 units $12.5 million
    The Anchorage……….34 units $13 million
    Aqua Vista……………..16 units $8 million

      1. I know.
        I am slowly working my way through all the data. I told several HRM planning staff at the Centre Plan lick-off and they were not aware of market conditions.
        I have also been looking at condo sales in the $500K – $2 million range.

          1. Registry of Deeds; visit the office in Burnside or buy the expensive online access for details of owner/s and mortgages etc.

  4. Kudos to The Coast for an epic, hardhitting advertorial. It’s amazing that people still look to that fishwrapper as some kind of public asset.

    1. Boy, it’s easy to criticize, eh? Fillmore represents the city in parliament, and it’s perfectly legitimate to publish a piece about his self-identified priorities without immediately ripping into him, especially given that he has no track record as an MP to rip into. (I assume if they published a sympathetic piece about a politician representing a party you liked, you wouldn’t be complaining.)

      Besides, The Coast publishes plenty of critical journalism, like last week’s piece on a City Hall lobbyist registry. And it covers local arts more thoroughly than any other publication, which is in large part its mandate.

      1. I have no political affiliation. Fillmore was apparently slightly less objectionable than the high priestess of self glorification, and who knows who the conservative rep was. Make up stuff though if it makes you happy lol.

        It’s a gross advertorial. And that does make it easy to criticize. The Coast is and has been garbage for far too long. It’s mandate is to make money and keep advertisers happy. And that’s the end of it.

        1. Advertorials are, by definition, a paid advertisement presented in an editorial format. Unless Fillmore paid them–which of course he did not—it’s not an advertorial.

          Regardless, I’m continually amazed by people who are offended that the purpose of a business is to earn money in order to continue existing, pay employees, etc. And if you anyone is in journalism for the big bucks, you’re, well, let’s just say wrong.

          1. OK, then it’s actually worse than an advertorial, if you believe that The Coast got nothing out of that garbage article.

            Regardless, I’m continually amazed by people who think that The Coast is some bastion of journalistic principle, when it is well known that they have yanked a story at the demand of one of big their advertisers. I have no reason to believe that they do not make other promises and commitments that would make any reasonably critical person cringe. Why is Fillmore there and not here? Well, if you can’t figure that out after reading the article…..

            I’m not questioning their purpose, I’m pointing out the lack of integrity, and therefor, the people’s right to criticize.

          2. Andy Fillmore is paid by the taxpayers. Any propaganda is advertorial as we are paying him when he says this stuff.

  5. “…every time I see a crane downtown my heart lifts…? If I said stuff like that I wouldn’t talk to you either, Tim…or anyone else.

  6. To play devil’s advocate on the cranky letter, the vast majority of Vancouver’s built-up area is comprised of samey-looking single-family houses (which average more than a million bucks each, in a a relatively low-income city) in car-dependent areas built on former agricultural land.

    That city gets way too much cred as some paragon of ideal planning. The cost of living, real-estate speculation, and rampant demolition of historical neighbourhoods to make way for LOWER-density single-family house districts (many of which are built as vacant investment properties) are turning Vancouver into the last place we should emulate.

  7. RE: DIRECTION 180 — Having been the VICTIM of a similar operation in Chilliwack and having observed the supposed «benefits» for almost five years, I respectfully call it BULLSHIT!

    SUPPORTING an ADDICTION does little except prolong the misery and make OODLES of money for the purveyors of a DRUG which is (now that we’re finally beginning to admit it!) often a WORSE addiction that the drug it is used to replace.

    There is ONLY ONE remedy for this snafu: SECURE, no-choice, TREATMENT.

    So long as addicts are out on the street they will be repeatedly hooked by pushers. I’ve witnessed the selling of Liquid Methadone (supposedly liquid to prevent selling) spit into paper cups and SOLD (now how’s THAT for «Harm Reduction»!!!) in order to scrape up enought money to buy the Real Thing from the pusher lurking just around the corner. Having HORDES of desperate addicts and their pushers hanging around ANY commercial neighbourhood is a sentence to bankruptcy for the merchants, and in addition generates orders-of-magnitude HARM RISK for merchants’ workers and customers who have to deal with the thousands of carelessly disposed sharps, disgustingly trashed washrooms, and violence from desperate addicts and the pushers’ «enforcers». I repeat: THERE IS ONLY ONE VIABLE SOLUTION: SECURE, no-choice, TREATMENT. «Harm Reduction» is worse than sticking a Band-Aid on a festering wound.

  8. Re Cranky Letter: The attitude and actions of our “adult” leadership in regard to environmental issues constantly disappoints. By way of contract, I am seeing a lot of activism among our youngest citizens: 11 year old Stella Bowle’s campaign to clean up the LaHave River –
    and 16 year old Rachel’s work on getting GMOs banned or at least labelled – @RachelsNews (Twitter). I’m sure this is not the last time we hear from Hannah. To solve a problem you have to accept that the problem exists, and these and many other kids actually get it.

  9. Gordo, Trump’s success stems from his obvious willingness to rub neoliberal’s noses in their own failure with a hefty dose of xenophobia. Ivany’s ilk is the reason why Trump is winning.

    Hannah’s letter is sad, but surely one day she’ll see that if Armco homes can’t bulldoze and grade the land, they might have to hire skilled architects and builders to build interesting dwellings, which would be less profitable than copy-and-pasting the same 4 houses 600 times. Maybe after TPP passes we can hire skilled Vietnamese architects and builders for a couple bucks an hour. Our restrictive building codes really are a tragedy, they used to serve a purpose by imposing a minimum standard of environmental care and reasonable conditions in tenements but now they just serve established interests and protect property values by ensuring that “they” have to live somewhere else. It seems silly, but the high priests of progress have said it shall be so from atop the convention centre. So it has been blurbed, so it shall be done.

    Welcome to the last few years (I hope) of the neoliberal consensus – state capitalism without even some healthy self interest for the state.

  10. Mr Bousquet I think this Andy Fillmore quote is directed at you.

    The Ivany Report
    “There are people that are working hard to fulfill it in earnest, and there are people who are trying to use it to leverage a different perspective which isn’t really that helpful.”

    In other words fall in line or you’ll never get that interview. Sounds downright Trumpian – he is Trump and you are Megyn Kelly.

    1. I laughed when I read that line too. WTF is that supposed to mean lol?

      ‘Oh Ivany, what crimes are committed in thy name?’

    2. Is he talking about the Ivany Report or trying to get me to buy into a multi-level marketing scheme?