Have I mentioned swag?

During the month of November, each new annual subscriber will get a Halifax Examiner T-shirt, here modelled by my friend Lisa Osmond:

Click here to subscribe.

But you’re already a subscriber?

Good news! We’ve got special swag just for you:

That’s the new Halifax Examiner travel mug. It’s top-of-the-line swag; world-class swag, even. It’s super-insulated — I’ve had reports that coffee has stayed warm even overnight. And ever so stylish.

Now that $35 value can be yours. An existing subscriber who buys an annual gift subscription for a non-subscriber will get a free travel mug (some conditions apply).

To order a gift subscription and get your travel mug, contact Iris at iris “at” halifaxexaminer.ca, and she’ll set you up..

And yes, that was a lazy copy & paste from last week.


1. Tidal project stalled

Tugboats pull a barge containing the OpenHydro turbine into position near Parrsboro Nova Scotia on Thursday 12th November 2009. Cape Split is in the background. (CNS/Len Wagg)

“It will be at least next summer before another attempt is made to tame the Bay of Fundy to produce tidal power,” reports Jennifer Henderson.

Click here to read “Minas Basin tidal project stalled until at least the summer.”

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

2. Tire burning plan panned

The Lafarge plant in Brookfield. Photo: Media Co-op

“A citizens’ group opposed to the burning of tires for fuel at the Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield is asking a court to consider a report from a toxicology expert as part of its judicial review of the Nova Scotia Environment Minister’s decision to approve a one-year pilot project,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

Douglas J. Hallett (M.Sc and Ph.D in biology and organic chemistry) is an experienced environmental consultant (the Hallett Group). His areas of expertise include toxic chemicals and hazardous waste destruction, and their effects on human health and the environment. He has worked as a cancer researcher and a regulator with the federal government before serving on the International Joint Commission Great Lakes Water Quality Board. His previous company developed a patented process for destroying PCBs.

In a motion filed with the NS Supreme Court last week, lawyer Bill Mahody says allowing the proposed expert report “is necessary to highlight the lack of evidence before the Minister when he approved the tire burning undertaking.” Mahody’s main argument for setting aside the Minister’s decision is that it is “unreasonable” and that the terms and conditions attached are “inadequate to prevent significant environmental harm.”

Click here to read “Toxicologist Douglas Hallett raises concerns about Lafarge tire-burning.”

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

3. Port of Sydney

The so-called “Novaporte” in Sydney will look nothing like this schematic supposedly representing it, because it will never exist.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality agreed yesterday to…. er, do something. It was all done in secret, and details are sketchy (and by my read, legally iffy), but it involves handing development rights for a proposed container terminal over to something that calls itself the Sydney Harbour Investment Partners.

Cape Breton Spectator publisher Mary Campbell will no doubt have an extensive report on the issue this week. I’ll link to it once she publishes.

But all of this is a giant grift. Sydney will never have a container terminal. It makes no sense at all.

4. Don Connolly

Don Connolly. Photo: CBC

CBC Information Morning host Don Connolly is retiring.

5. Restaurant inspections

“Depending on a restaurant’s classification, Nova Scotia’s regulations require them to be inspected every six, 12 or 18 months,” reports Alexander Quon for Global:

Global News analyzed 43,791 inspection records and found that despite the province having one of the most lax inspection regimes in the country, it hasn’t been able to meet its own standards.

The nearly seven years of data obtained from Nova Scotia’s online database of restaurant inspections and multiple freedom of information requests indicate that 2759 of the 8434 restaurants in the province, nearly a third, have gone 18 months or more without an inspection — the maximum time allowed by provincial guidelines.

Restaurant inspection stories are always great fun. There was Toronto’s wonderfully disgusting Dumpling House rat-infestation story back in 2008.

Twenty years or so ago, back in my former hometown of Chico, California, I took a date to a restaurant called the China Star; mid-meal, a rat ran down the aisle next to our table. Fast forward a decade, and the China Star was in the news by way of a fantastically detailed story of a health inspection by reporter Ari Cohn. (Warning: don’t read that link if you plan to eat this month.)

Nova Scotia restaurant inspections are online, and I peruse them from time to time just for fun.

Most restaurants soar through the inspection process. Just looking through inspections over the past week, I find, for example, that the Agricola Street Brasserie and Tom’s  have never had any issues.

Burrito Jax on Blowers Street had an unspecified species of “vermin” back in 2014, but no problems since.

Other restaurants are cited regularly. Cheelin on Water Street has been ordered to discard food three times over the past two months for improper temperature controls, and has otherwise been cited just for being dirty. This week, Johny K’s Donairs was told it wasn’t properly cooking the donair meat. Durty Nelly’s has been given notice a few times for being dirty, and in 2015 was ordered to discard food when the walk-in refrigerator wasn’t working.

Only nine restaurants in the entire province have been closed down in the past year (although Quon’s reporting suggests that perhaps more would have been closed had they been inspected more regularly). In the Halifax area, the China Palace on the Bedford Highway was closed for a day in October for “failure to prevent food premise or food products from exposure to sewage or solid waste.” Pete’za Perfect in Elmdale was cited for a host of plumbing problems — problems with the floor drains, no seat on a toilet, no faucet handles on a sink — and closed for an entire week in January. Curly Portables, also in Elmsdale in Enfield, was closed for part of a day for not having an adequate water supply. The kitchens at the Edward Jost Children’s Centre in Cowie Hill and Kids & Company in Hammonds Plains were likewise closed for a day for an inadequate water supply.


1. Noticing stuff

The Newfoundland Store. Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald walks across town and notices stuff.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Nova Scotia’s gesture of thanks to Boston after the Halifax Explosion in 1917 has helped retain the link we have with that city. But maybe 100 years is long enough.

Having visited Boston for several Christmases, I find myself disappointed in the tree that Nova Scotia donates to that city every year. It looks nice at night, but appears a bit scraggly and unnatural in daytime with its guy wires splayed out in all directions. Perhaps there’s a simpler, more effective way to thank Bostonians for the next 100 years.

Mike Topley, River John

Editor’s note: in fact, over the past century, only 48 trees have been sent to Boston. The first tree was sent in 1918. From 1919 through 1970, Haligonians were ungrateful bastards. Only in 1971 was the supposed “tradition” created out of whole cloth as a tourism promotion gimmick. 




No public meetings.


Community Design Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 11:30am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Art Room, Prospect Road Community Centre) — again, the agenda.



Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, Province House) — a per diem meeting.


No public meetings.

On campus



Thesis Defence, Physiology and Biophysics (Tuesday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Hailey Jansen will defend her thesis, “Insights into the Basis for Atrial Electrophysiological Remodelling and Arrhythmogenesis in Hypertensive Heart Disease, Ageing, and Frailty.”

Voice Recital (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Michael Donovan will perform.

What I Am Reading on Quantum Computation (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Marzieh Bayeh will speak at this @CAT Seminar.

Chinese Calligraphy Competition (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Fireside Lounge, McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building) — Lei Jiang will present a calligraphy demonstration and workshop, with a competition open to students in the Chinese Studies Program.


The Clinical Value of Imaging (Wednesday, 8:30am, Room 170, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Steve Beyea and Rebecca Moyer will speak.

Karen Dubinsky. Photo: Julia McKay

How Cuban Music Made Me a Better Historian (Wednesday, 10am, Room 238, Life Sciences Building) — Karen Dubinsky from Queen’s University will speak.

Uncertainty in Quantitative NMR: Targeted Profiling and Beyond (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Stanislav Sokolenko will speak.

Saint Mary’s


Horatio Morgan. Photo: ryerson.ca

Are SMEs With Immigrant Owners Exceptional Exporters? (Wednesday, 1pm, 4th Floor in the building named after a grocery store) — Horatio Morgan from Ryerson University will speak.

In the harbour

10am: Atlantic Power, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Mariel Cuba
12:30pm: Anet, cargo ship, sails from anchorage for sea
1pm: Bomar Regent, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from San Juan, Puerto Rico

The oil platform Noble Regina Allen being carried by the heavy lifter Forte. Photo: Halifax Examiner

1pm: Noble Regina Allen, oil platform, sails from IEL Dock for the Sable Field to begin decommissioning


I’ve got nothing.

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

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  1. Like many things in life, restaurant inspections are not always on target and are occasionally tainted by biases. I worked in a food establishment that was inspected every three months officially. The landlord, a crown corporation seemed to have a say as to what got included in the inspection reports. There were clear favorites. One restaurant had a decomposing rat in their mixer which was found during an inspection, but that fact never made it into a report. Another establishment which did not have a walk-in refrigerator ( and had what looked like a new freestanding fridge) was was cited for having an old, dirty walk-in fridge. Another tenant was cited for never washing aprons, even though the owner was seen carting dirty laundry out every night and bringing fresh laundry in every morning. The irony is that the landlord created large open and un-screened doors leading to food establishments and their kitchens, which meant birds, vermin and insects from outside could fly and creep right in. Had any private restaurant in town done the same thing, they would have been shut down. In the end I learned not to trust the inspections, but to rely on common sense and observation.

  2. Subscription drive: Please consider

    While Tim has been subtly referring to increasing his subscriber base, I would humbly offer this unsolicited call to those who may be considering the value of supporting this kind of journalism.
    We are now in a media market where much of what we read, hear and see on media must be regarded with a suspicious eye. CTV News has lots of paid content masquerading as news; the provincial daily newspaper is now little more than a forum for free contributions from all kinds of sources with very little investigated stories; and CBC while doing a good job, can only do so much with what they have and hit the big targets.
    The Halifax Examiner is carrying on a proud tradition of responsible journalism here in this City. Joe Howe shook the foundations of early governments with his almost single handed journalistic crusades. In later years we saw publications come and go like the small but mighty Fourth Estate.
    Your subscription fee continues to ensure at least one media stream is holding those powers that be accountable and ensuring that there is at least one bright flashlight shining down the dark halls.
    Please subscribe, and consider gift subscriptions for all of those who need to know what responsible journalism looks like.

  3. Since you no longer report on the shenanigans at Registry of Joint Stocks (the reason I took out a subscription in the first place) maybe you could give us some restaurant violations once in a while. I know I could go read all about it myself, but I already have too many rabbit holes which need daily monitoring.

    PS Thanks for In the Harbour. Great source for vacation planning.

  4. When I read the inspection reports, I’m struck by how many places get the same warnings over and over, seemingly with no consequences. Take Jessy’s Pizza in Spryfield (http://www.novascotia.ca/agri/foodsafety/reports/Details.aspx?Id1=1311183). In the last 18 months they have four citations for “inadequate construction and/or maintenance of walls and ceilings”, two for “inadequate sanitation of non-food-contact surfaces” and three for not renewing their permit to operate a food establishment. You’d think that being cited for the same things over and over might carry some consequences.

    There are a number of places that run shifts without having someone trained in food safety — but giving them a notice to comply and then not inspecting again for 18 months is not all that helpful.

  5. If investor’s want to build a container terminal in Sydney, then they should be allowed to do so. If the project is built but the container project is not successful in operation, they can always build a CFL stadium on top of the site and build a hyper-loop connection to Halifax to transport ticket holders, visitors and whatever to and from Cape Breton. If no one likes this idea today, I think the concept should be revisited after they legalize marijuana.

  6. Why do we have restaurant inspections anyway? Obviously the market will take care of any problems. The appropriate restaurants will obviously go out of business.

    Meanwhile the money we saved from these inspections could go toward John Risley’s next educational trip to Boston or another PR staffer in Stephen MacNeil’s office.

  7. Hi Tim! It’s true, The Brasserie gets a clean slate. In fact, our former health inspector just had his wedding there so that tells you how clean the place is when the health inspector chooses it to host 100 people for dinner. 🙂

      1. Yup! Hard to tell as they are contiguous, but there are small signs on Hwy 2 to show the boundary — unlike where Spryfield meets Armdale etc etc etc