A quick note. Years ago, we picked November as the best month for the Halifax Examiner’s annual subscription drive because it was after summer vacations and the hassle and fuss over back-to-school, but before the Christmas rush.

That was before 2020, back when there was order and stability to the world and the calendar brought routine and predictability. It was before the pandemic and the mass murders and violence on the south shore and, most immediate, before the worry and stress over the US election. I know I couldn’t sleep last night. It’s completely understandable that people are distracted and otherwise involved.

Still, the November subscription drive is the Examiner’s primary fundraising vehicle. We set the next year’s budget at the end of November, based on how much money is in the bank and how many monthly subscribers there are. So the November subscription drive determines how much we can invest in research and investigation, what our freelance budget is, what we can put towards legal costs like those related to unsealing court documents related to the mass murder investigation.

So, if you value this Halifax Examiner, please support it by subscribing. If you’re already a subscriber but want to help a little more, consider dropping us a donation.

Oh, Iris reminded me to offer all annual subscribers (above $100) a free Halifax Examiner T-shirt. (I don’t remember when the above photo was taken, but my hair is so much greyer now.)

Thanks much!

1. What about Clearwater and the offshore?

Inshore fishing boats in Caribou Harbour. Photo: Joan Baxter

“Media attention is trained on St. Mary’s Bay in southwest Nova Scotia, where the Sipekne’katik First Nation led by Chief Michael Sack has been exercising Treaty rights to a ‘moderate livelihood’ fishery since September 17,” writes Joan Baxter:

But what is happening in the offshore lobster fishery is going largely unnoticed.

That is absolutely understandable, given the very ugly scenes that erupted when the Mi’kmaw fishers were met by swarms of angry Acadian commercial fishers, some uttering racist slurs, who issued threats and cut their traplines, after which a Mi’kmaw boat was burned and a lobster pound burned to the ground.

But what is happening in the offshore could also have wide-reaching impacts on the Atlantic lobster fishery and independent inshore fishers, and is also worth keeping an eye on.

Baxter goes on to provide a pretty good history of the development of the offshore lobster fishery, from its origins in the government’s decision to declare swordfish contaminated with mercury to the present day.

I say “pretty good” because it’s not perfect — that’s because no one seems to know, or at least isn’t saying, why and how Clearwater ended up with a monopoly on the offshore, owning all eight licences before earlier this year making a murky deal with Membertou First Nation for two of the licences.

On the face of it, the Membertou deal makes no sense. As one fisherman told Baxter:

No one can figure it out … Clearwater’s still catching the lobsters and holding them until the price gets big, and getting the big flip on them lobsters when the price gets big after holding them. So what are the natives getting? It’s a mystery to me.

What we do know is that Clearwater has a history of dealing with First Nations, and there’s the suggestion that something nefarious is afoot. Continues Baxter:

A few people have suggested to the Examiner that such arrangements with Clearwater, given that it is up for sale, could open a back door for foreign money and investors who want to access the fishery, something they can’t do themselves.

Rick Williams, for example, said that he sees a “risk here that First Nations are being used as tools or being taken advantage of to allow corporate entities, foreign investors and so on, to get control of Canadian fishing resources that they otherwise shouldn’t be able to do.”

Click here to read “What about Clearwater and the offshore lobster fishery?”

And yes, this is another long read, but I found it worth the time. I know I learned a lot from this article, and I now better comprehend the issues swirling around the lobster fishery and the dispute over a moderate livelihood fishery for Indigenous people.

Here’s a brief catalog of the Examiner’s recent work related to the lobster fishery:

Lobster fishery at a crossroads, Part 1: It’s been 20 years since the Marshall decision, so why is there still no moderate livelihood fishery? by Linda Pannozzo and Joan Baxter
Lobster fishery at a crossroads, Part 2: Tensions over a moderate livelihood fishery are hiding a much bigger threat to the inshore. by Joan Baxter and Linda Pannozzo.
Lobster fishery at a crossroads, Part 3: What are the prospects for the Atlantic lobster fishery? by Linda Pannozzo and Joan Baxter
In Search of Common Ground: An interview with Arthur Bull about the lobster fishery crisis in St. Mary’s Bay. by Linda Pannozzo
What about Clearwater and the offshore lobster fishery? “There’s something awful fishy going on here”: The complete story about how Clearwater obtained its monopoly on the offshore seems lost to history, but it provides a cautionary tale for the current inshore fishery. by Joan Baxter

I can’t think of another media outlet, certainly not another media outlet in Atlantic Canada, that can provide such comprehensive coverage of a complex issue.

There likely will be more to come. We’ve made this complete series available for free, for everyone to read. But of course it takes considerable time and resources to produce these in-depth explorations. If you value this work, please support it by subscribing. If you’re already a subscriber but want to help a little more, consider dropping us a donation. Thank you!

(Copy link for this item)

2. COVID-19

Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

There was one new case of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia yesterday. The new case is in the Central Zone (HRM and Windsor). As of yesterday’s announcement, the cause of the new case was still under investigation, but additionally Nova Scotia Health issued the following advisory of potential COVID exposure at the Bitter End on Argyle Street and at Sobeys Clayton Park:

Potential COVID-19 exposure at Halifax bar, grocery store

Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at:

• The Bitter End Martini Bar & Restaurant (1572 Argyle St, Halifax) on Nov. 2 between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Anyone present at the location during this time is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above date may develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 16.

• Sobeys Clayton Park (287 Lacewood Dr, Halifax), on Nov. 3, between 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone present at the location during this time is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 17.

Despite the new case, the number of known active cases dipped by one to 18, as two previous cases are now considered resolved.

(Copy link for this item)

3. Duck, duck, goose

The geese returned to Sullivan’s Pond on April 20, 2020. — Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

“The municipality is looking for a winter home for the flock of geese at Sullivan’s Pond in Dartmouth,” reports Zane Woodford:

Halifax posted a request for quotes on the provincial tender website on Thursday, “seeking submissions from qualified bidders to provide winter care for the Sullivan’s Pond geese.”

The contract will last for three years, starting this fall, with an option to renew.

The duties include “round-up, capture and transport” of the geese; food and water for eight to 12 geese from Nov. 20 to April 20; a report before returning the geese to the pond outlining “any outstanding health or behavioral issues;” and transport of the geese back to the pond.

“The municipality had a standing offer with Hope for Wildlife which has expired,” municipal spokesperson Maggie-Jane Spray said in an email Thursday.

“Under procurement policies, we are tendering for other potential services providers for this unique service.”

(Copy link for this item)

4. Open letter

Halifax City Hall in August 2020. — Photo: Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

A group of health researchers at Dalhousie University have written an open letter to Halifax councillors saying that council can take decisive and meaningful action to address the health of the citizenry. Specifically:

Here are four steps you can take right away to continue to build a supportive environment for chronic disease prevention for the HRM. They may seem familiar.

First, representation. Congratulations to your constituents — HRM voters have elected you, a Council that has reached gender parity for the first time. In doing so, you have achieved an essential democratic benchmark that many governments, of any order, have failed to deliver. But you’re not done. Regional Council with gender parity among those who identify as women is a healthy starting point for equitable representation. Please use this momentum to support representation from all equity deserving groups.

Next, housing. Halifax is in the midst of a housing crisis that has gained the attention of the federal government. As of September, the previous council endorsed a plan to regulate short-term rentals. There is a need to prioritize existing municipal land and public funding to create affordable and accessible housing in perpetuity. Safe and affordable housing are key and necessary determinants of health.

Third, good food access. A healthy food environment is a supportive environment. Equitable municipal planning can lead to better access to food stores. Also, you can call on the provincial and federal governments to support policies like a universal school food program, or a universal basic income that can help cover the skyrocketing costs of living. By prioritizing access to affordable, safe, and nutritious foods, you afford residents of HRM the opportunity to make healthier choices.

And fourth, public transportation. Increasing access to active transportation modes like public transit is important. Continue to focus your efforts on the HRM’s Rapid Transit strategy to create a more reliable, accessible, and sustainable transit network across urban, suburban and rural parts of our municipality. Support for public transit will ensure residents have equitable, reliable access to the places and spaces they live, work and play. Taking public transit is healthier than driving a car, encourages physical activity and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Click here to read the entire letter.

(Copy link for this item)


No meetings.

On campus


The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities (Friday, 12:10pm) — Zoom webinar with Michael Ashley Stein from the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. ASL interpretation available. More info and link here.

Radical Connection and the Dissecting of Disconnection: a Case for Theatre With Alan Dilworth (Friday, 1:05pm) — the Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company in Toronto will talk. More info and link here.

Environmental Chemistry on Ice: Reaction Kinetics and Spectromicroscopic Characterization of Ice Surfaces (Friday, 1:30pm) — Tara F. Kahan from the University of Saskatchewan will talk. Info and link here.

Saint Mary’s

Sustainable Retailing (Friday, 9:30am) — a bunch of corporate executives will tell us how we can save the planet without changing our over-consuming ways. Info and registration here.

In the harbour

05:00: ZIM Yokohama, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
05:30: Atlantic Kestrel, offshore supply ship, moves from Pier 9 to Irving Oil
06:30: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
07:00: Skogafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
10:30: Atlantic Kestrel sails for sea
11:30: Boreas, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 28 from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
11:45: Skogafoss sails for Portland
15:30: ZIM Yokohama sails for New York
15:30: Atlantic Star sails for Liverpool, England
16:00: Taipei Trader, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
18:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Fairview Cove for Saint-Pierre
18:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
22:00: Augusta Luna, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for Rotterdam


I thought about writing a long thing about the US election, but I just don’t have it in me. Let’s hope things don’t get too chaotic.

I spent most of the day yesterday alternating between editing Joan Baxter’s piece on the offshore and researching a piece I hope to publish later today. In the meanwhile, Joan has contributed yet another piece which I’ll also get out today. And Zane is covering a police matter. Typically, Fridays are slow, but there’s no typical anymore.

Please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!

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

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. C’mon Rick

    Saying things like there is a “risk here that First Nations are being used as tools or being taken advantage of” is perilously close to falling into the racist stereotype of Indigenous people being easily duped because they are not too bright. I know Rick, and I know he didn’t mean that. But still…

    I have worked with and for Indigenous people and one of the things that I most recall about them is how clever and insightful they are, and how they can see all the routines we whites want to run on them from millions of miles off–the fact they do not have the resources, and cannot get the support they need to stymie those routines is a whole other issue.

    1. Chief Sack is the man who knows how to get what he wants. He would be a great cabinet minister in Nova Scotia because he knows when and how to play the media. Media savvy and great at executing a plan. Perhaps he should go to RMC and aim for Chief of Defence Staff.
      He developed a plan,picked the time and place for his battle and executed the plan perfectly. Always cool,calm and collected and restrained when assaulted by an irate fisherman. I can see him giving a lecture to an MBA class.