On campus
In the harbour


1. Homeless in Halifax

Metro reporter Haley Ryan puts a human face on the people who find themselves homeless in Halifax.

2. Doug Trussler

Fire Chief Doug Trussler
Fire Chief Doug Trussler

A handful of other issues will be discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting — I can’t wait for the debate over the Fences and Detention of Stray Livestock Act — but the dominant issue will be the “operational review” of the fire department. I discussed that in detail in the preview to Tuesday’s council meeting, and concluded that after his predecessors spent 15 years mismanaging the department and ignoring council direction, fire chief Doug Trussler has brought responsible professional management to the department.

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

3. Tires slashed

Police release:

Police received  numerous complaints from people who had their tires slashed overnight, twenty cars have been damaged. The incidents took place on Willow, Dublin and Duncan Streets as well as Chebucto Road. Police are still in the area taking reports.

4. Bicyclist dies

A 17-year-old bicyclist struck by a vehicle while riding his bike has died. The incident occurred in Mill Creek, outside Sydney Mines in Cape Breton. There are no other details.

5. Massive Snowstorm

I know there are those who think MSG sensitivity is nonsense, but I beg to differ. In my twenties, I had two particularly nasty encounters with Chinese food. The first involved hugging the commode for six hours after a hearty meal of General Tsao’s Chicken in a rundown place with a predictable name — Great Wall or some such — in Ocean View, a seaside business district catering to underpaid sailors from the nearby Norfolk Naval Base. Maybe I should have expected as much. But the second was in Los Angeles; after lunch at an upscale Chinese place in Westwood I found myself rolling around vomiting in an alley behind some chic garden apartments. It’s a wonder the cops weren’t called.

Ever since, I’ve spent decades doing the MSG dance. Is it insulting to ask if they use MSG? But how can you not ask if it’s going to make you sick? Do the Fusion places really not use MSG or are they just scamming foodie culture? Eight or nine years ago I asked a waiter at Fran’s/Fan’s, that place under the bridge in Dartmouth, if the food could be prepared without MSG and he said, “yes, but it won’t taste good.” For a while, a delightful young Chinese-Canadian woman had a MSG-free restaurant on Portland Street, but she’s since gone out of business. I once went to that Chinese place on Hollis Street; it had a wonderful atmosphere — my dinner date and I were the only people speaking English — but man, the MSG was so thick I had to leave off actually eating. Anymore, I just avoid Chinese completely.

Why do restaurant owners think it’s OK to poison their customers?

All of which is to say, I disagree with Frankie about the Chinese food, but the rest of his advice is spot on. Boots, people. Scarves. Plug in those devices.

YouTube video


1. Mike Savage

In the first of a two-part series, Stephen Kimber interviews Mayor Mike Savage.

2. Michel Samson

After lying about funding for the new ferry, Minister Michel Samson found himself on a golf junket to Florida, ostensibly to secure a deal to get a PGA event scheduled for the Cabot Links golf course. Michael Gorman, the Chronicle Herald’s Province House reporter, points us to the very funny @BluenoseHulk Twitter account, which “sent out a group of tweets inspired by Samson’s trip to Florida, which included some fine Photoshop skills.” Indeed:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 7.32.45 AM

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Truro Daily News:

I do not know about anyone else, but I am tired of receiving mail from/about Scott Armstrong. 

There is at least one piece per month and it is simply Conservative propaganda. 

Let us be realistic, Armstrong has absolutely no power in Ottawa, the same as 95 per cent of the members. He has not and will not do anything for his constituents, unless his boss decides to. Today’s “Should Canada’s laws be tough on dangerous offenders?” questioner is part of the ongoing publicly funded method of getting the party name in front of us and if someone responds as I did, then the Conservative effort has been a success. 

I say enough, unless you have something beneficial to tell us.

Richard Randall, Truro



Executive Standing Committee (10am, City Hall)—The committee is looking at the biannual stats about city employees collected by the HR department, except for overtime stats, which are given separately to the Audit Committee. Here’s the breakdown as of September 30:

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 4.59.45 PM

Lots more info here.

District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (4pm, City Hall)—GTL Investments Ltd. is asking for what planning staff calls “non-substantive amendments” to the development agreement for a nine-storey apartment building on the former St. John’s Church site between the Hydrostone Market and St. Joseph’s A. Mackay and Shambala Schools. The changes are summarized as follows:

• changes to the landscaping;
• an increase in the number of dwelling units from 83 to 105; and
• changes to the exterior appearance of the building, including;
• changes to the pattern of windows and building materials;
• a relocation of the main residential entrance from Gottingen Street to Kaye Street;
• changes to the townhouse designs;
• an increase in the size of the penthouse; and
• a relocation of the areas of the building where salvaged stone from the former church are to be installed.

More details here.


No public meetings.

On campus



Faculty Senate (Monday, 4pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building)—here’s the agenda.


Liquidity traps (Tuesday, 11:30am, Life Sciences Centre, P5260)—Keshav Dogra, from Columbia University, will talk about “Liquidity traps, debt relief and macroprudential policy: a mechanism design approach.”

Debby Ianson. Photo: CBC
Debby Ianson. Photo: The Nature of Things

Ocean acidification (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 3655, LSC€“ Oceanography Wing)—Debby Ianson, Institute of Ocean Sciences, DFO, will talk about “Ocean acidification on the Canada’s west coast: What do we really know?” By my estimation, this is the most important environmental issue facing the planet. I’d like to go, but have to be at city council. If you’re a student and want to go, I’ll publish your report on the talk.

Ying Chen et Ook Chung (Tuesday, 3:30pm, McCain 1102)—Ziyan Yang will talk about “L’Acte de la création littéraire chez Ying Chen et Ook Chung.” The abstract:

L’expérience migratoire empêche le sujet migrant de s’intégrer totalement tant dans le pays quitté que dans le pays d’adoption. Prédispose-t-elle le migrant à une condition d’être « séparé », condition favorable à la création littéraire? Et l’acte d’écrire peut-il offrir un pays imaginaire d’ancrage à celui qui souffre de la non-appartenance pour l’orienter de la séparation à la communion? Voici les questions auxquelles nous essayerons de répondre à travers les réflexions que mènent Ying Chen et Ook Chung, deux écrivains franco-canadiens souvent considérés comme étant des représentants d’une certaine francophonie asiatique dans le cadre de l’écriture dite migrante.

Saint Mary’s


Thesis defence, Applied Science (Monday, 2pm, Science 220)—Master’s student Samantha Page will defend her thesis, “Development and Application of a Relative Geomorphic-Based Vulnerability Index for Assessing Coastal Vulnerability of the Town of Lockeport, Nova Scotia.”


Meet the next president (Tuesday, 4pm, McNally Theatre Auditorium)—the university is going to trot out all the candidates to become the next SMU president. I don’t think anyone present will have any real input into the selection, but you’ll feel included, ya know?


Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 8.10.51 AM

The National Post has dug through provincial birth records to discover that Canadian parents are hugely unimaginative.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 7:30am Monday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 7:30am Monday. Map:

RM Power, bulker, Portland to anchor for bunkers
Maersk Pembroke, container ship, Montreal to Pier 42, then sails for Rotterdam
Reykjafoss, container ship, Argentia, Newfoundland to Pier 41, then sails for Portland
Halifax Express sails for Southampton
NYK Demeter sails for New York


Another day at the courthouse.

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

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  1. Ahem,

    MSG doesn’t bother me. I believe it’s a food additive which causes a small segment of the population problems. I don’t like how you have made the most important news story of the year (snow storm) all about your tummy. Also, that fellow seems upset, he should have a cup of tea.

  2. Re: Doug Trussler and the Fire department and Executive Standing Committee biannual HR statistics

    Thank you for these two pieces. You will end up educating us! Is anyone responsible for analysing the statistics on city employees and explaining the issues for Counselors, or are they on their own for this?

  3. Re the Planning Advisory Committee meeting and the development proposal: my partner and I compared the documents with the original proposal, and noticed some items of concern. (Well, she did; she’s the one with the eye for that stuff.)

    Behind the bland language of the summary:

    – the trees they promised would be retained are now apparently “impossible to save”
    – the 11 townhouses that were trumpeted by both the developer and councillor Blumenthal as a great way to draw in families are now mostly being converted into apartments for the “elder market”
    – a spacious and friendly front entrance with room for an outdoor patio has now been bumped out to the property line, ostensibly “to make it fit better with the feel of the Hydrostone neighbourhood”
    – the upper story, which did have windows with some character, has been turned into full glass (more like an office building in look) – “to improve the view” (read, for the wealthy penthouse occupants who will be living there).

    among other things…

    1. And it’s the former St. Joseph’s Church. St. John’s is on Windsor St., where the Spirit Place development was proposed.

    2. Now, in Jennifer Watts’ newsletter, it simply mentions non-substantive amendments without using any quotes and without listing any details (which is the nature of the newsletter, high level with links if you want to read more, so not knocking the no details as much as I am the *seeming* agreement with the developer’s characterization of the request as non-substantive). Then later in the newsletter we are encouraged in bold all caps to stay engaged with consultations on Centre Plan. I have been saying this for years now, and sometimes I grow weary and take a break, but I have enough juice to squeak it out again here today: when standard operating procedure for developers in Halifax is to say whatever it is they are supposed to in order to get an approval, then go back later to be exempted from all that stuff, how invested in shaping those rules can the City honestly expect citizens to be? Of course my personal opinion on that is “not at all, and the City does not, in fact, expect citizens to be invested but does definitely want to be seen (maybe needs to be seen) as inviting engagement. The only process I’d be willing to invest in here would be one with a goal of restoring democracy to City business.

  4. Saint Mary’s has already hired a president through a closed search process, so there will be no trotting out of candidates seeking the approval of students, faculty, and staff. Rather, the new president (identity still hidden) will be ‘unveiled’ to the Saint Mary’s University community. There is currently a union grievance against the closed hiring process. As a result, there might be some fireworks at the ‘reveal’.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. I misread “candidate,” singular, as “candidates,” plural.