On campus
This date in history
In the harbour


1. Weather

Another crappy little snowstorm. Humans evolved in the tropics, ya know.

2. Byline hypocrisy

Tweets the Halifax Typographical Union, which represents Chronicle Herald newsroom employees:

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 7.46.54 AM

And web editor John McPhee confirms:

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 7.49.11 AM

This is absurd. Chronicle Herald management is itself refusing to allow bylines on stories.

As I’ve pointed out before, a labour arbitrator has ruled that reporters own their bylines and can do with them as they please, including withholding them in a labour protest.

The disciplinary letter is mean-spirited harassment.

3. Cape Breton University

Photo: Cape Breton Post
Photo: Cape Breton Post

“Faculty at Cape Breton University could be facing up to 20 layoffs if efforts to trim $5 million in annual costs are unsuccessful, say university officials,” reports the Chronicle Herald:

President David Wheeler said Monday he has invoked a clause in the faculty union’s collective agreement that triggers a process involving a committee of management and staff examining ways to cut staff costs.

It is necessary, Wheeler said, because the number of high school graduates in Cape Breton is steadily declining, and international students from Saudi Arabia are no longer entering degree courses at CBU due to a change in their own government’s scholarships. 

The university has also been hit with declining provincial government funding, said Wheeler.

4. Record lobster haul leads to more ferry crossings

Bay Ferries has added three additional runs per week to its Digby–Saint John route, reports Vanessa MacNeil of TC Media:

The increased level of service and schedule change is in anticipation of an increase in exported seafood due, in part, to a good season and strong prices on the market.

Speaking of ferries, Roger Taylor has noticed that the Yarmouth ferry is supposed to start sailing in three months, and yet Bay Ferries still doesn’t have a boat.


1. It’s time to rethink the rules of the road


“On Thursday evening, the Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC) is starting a much-needed discussion by inviting citizens to give their two cents on a long list of possible amendments to Nova Scotia’s rules of the road,” notes Erica Butler. “At the top of the list is renaming the 1989 act to something that reflects all road users. Think ‘Road Safety Act’ instead of the somewhat misleading current title: Motor Vehicle Act.”

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2. Stephen McNeil babbles on nonsensically about health transfers

Stephen McNeil. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Stephen McNeil. Photo: Halifax Examiner

How’d I miss this quote from Stephen McNeil?

Is there any way that we can now look at will come into the system in a new and innovative way to be able to make sure that those with an aging population get the benefit of that?

Huh? Wha? McNeil has beat us to our own drinking game, evidently.

The quote comes from the Chronicle Herald via Richard Starr, who goes on to take McNeil and the Nova Scotia Liberals to task for not pressing Justin Trudeau on health care transfers:

If demographic consideration was the position McNeil, was trying to convey it was undercut later in the article when Health Minister Leo Glavine talked about the Atlantic ministers of health pushing a common request – support for chronic disease management – when federal and provincial health ministers meet in Vancouver late this week. Glavine went on to say that arguing about the funding model isn’t a productive use of time. “We’ll just get into a back and forth with some of the other provinces who just don’t really have that (aging demographic like Nova Scotia.)”

So there it is. The Premier implies the province will try to make the demographic case, the health minister suggests we won’t because some other provinces (such as Ontario and Saskatchewan) don’t agree. Obviously, the Premier and the health minister need to sing from the same songbook. It would be preferable that the song be about reversing some of Harper’s negative changes to the federal transfer formula over the past ten years, and his 2011 decision to limit the growth in transfers to 3% a year beginning in 2017.

Atlantic Canadians voted overwhelmingly against the Conservatives three months ago and it’s just possible some of that vote was a protest against the Conservative position on health transfers. It’s a betrayal for the Liberal government in Nova Scotia to refuse the fight now that there is a Liberal government in Ottawa.

3. Ode to a streamlined corner

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

I somehow missed Stephen Archibald’s post over the weekend, which is an ode to the CBC building, soon to be razed:

That streamlined corner has felt perfect for the site and despite being over 80 years old still feels contemporary. Really looking at the building I realized I have never appreciated the beautiful detailing of the entrance bay or the changing rhythm of the windows.

4. Get off John McKay’s lawn


“It is often said that the so-called good old days were not so good compared with the present,” writes Amherst News columnist John McKay:

Although a good deal of what the world lacked between the 1920s and the 1970s would have been desirable then, there is much that we have now that would not have been good in those days, and is far from being altogether good now.

We, who can trace our roots back to the 1930s, did not have to face dire health circumstances because we were born to mothers who smoked or drank while they were carrying us, or because we lived in houses containing asbestos, or because mothers parked us in cribs painted with lead paint for us to chew on when teething. Maybe because we didn’t hear much about that sort of thing, most of us survived.

There were no childproof lids on pill bottles because people didn’t take many pills anyway, and nobody locked cupboards and drawers. If we had a bicycle, we had no helmet, and in cars there were no safety belts or secure child seats. But we could drink water out of the garden hose or a brook in the woods.

The only fast food was fish and chips and the occasional hotdog. The restaurants closed at 6:00 p.m., and didn’t open on Sunday, and yet no one ever starved to death over the weekend.

We collected soft drink bottles and sold them, using the money to buy firecrackers to make a noise with, or B-Bs for our Red Ryder B-B gun that fathers presented to some of us on our 10th birthday, or sometimes a slingshot. Even if we wrongly shot the occasional bird, we didn’t kill nearly as many as modern pesticides and other liberally disseminated poisons do.

It goes on like this for another 500 words.

4. Cranky letter of the day

John McKay sucked up all the provincial crankiness today, leaving none left over for anyone else.



Halifax & West Community Council (7pm, City Hall) — two public hearings.

Photo: Google Street View
Photo: Google Street View

First, the owner of the building that contains laundromat and Asian grocery store at the corner of South and Henry Streets wants to convert the back part — the laundromat, facing Henry Street — into a cafe. Neighbours seem cautiously optimistic that this will improve what they call an “eyesore,” but are worried that it will turn into a late-night bar. The upstairs of this building contains the apartment where police allege William Sandeson killed Taylor Samson.

Second is development proposal for a four-storey apartment building at the southwest corner of Young and Oxford Streets.


Community Services (1pm, One Government Place) — Sarah Granke, a specialist in the Sexual Violence Prevention & Supports program, will be asked about the province’s Sexual Violence Strategy.

On Campus

YouTube video

Poverty, Inc. (6pm, Tupper Medical Building Theatre B) — the organizers ask that attendees RSVP for the free screening:


This date in history

On January 19, 1942 a German U-boat torpedoed the Lady Hawkins, a Canadian merchant ship based out of Halifax. Two-hundred and fifty people died, but another 76 managed to get on a single lifeboat. Six on the lifeboat died, but the remaining were saved five days later. The horrific experience was recounted here.


YouTube video

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:20am Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:20am Tuesday. Map:

Berlin Express, container ship, arriving at Fairview Cove this morning from Norfolk; sails to sea this evening
Skandi Flora, offshore supply ship, Sable Island field to Pier 9
Sir William Alexander, tender, Sydney to Pier
Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro cargo, St. John’s to Pier 41
Torm Astrid, oil tanker, Paldiski, Estonia to anchorage
Yantian Express, container ship, Cagliari, Italy to Fairview Cove


I’m going back to bed.

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

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  1. Re the comments about McNeil and Glavine, it boggles my mind what comes out of their mouths. Wouldn’t it make sense if we want to rein in health care costs in the future, to focus on ‘chronic disease prevention’ not just ‘management’. Each of the 3 chronic diseases are preventable – yet little emphasis is put on prevention, because as a prior health minister told me, ‘we have all we can do to look after the people who are already sick’. And, so, we keep going round and round and round – the circle of insanity. Of course everyone supports that path including the city council in Halifax who approved the donair as the official food – one so high in sugar it would turn someone into a diabetic in no time! And while that may be a bit of an anomaly, the province is full of people who are not eating healthy, and, the excuse that healthy food is too expensive is not a valid one, lack of education about how to eat healthy is the problem. Always has been, and by the looks of it always will be – unless and until we do something about it – starting in the school system. I don’t hear the politicians talking about that, just people like Dr. John Ross, an emergency room doctor in Halifax, who, much to his despair, sees the results of the preventable chronic diseases, day in and day out.

    1. My daughter is a registered dietitian who went to Ontario for work a few years ago. She came back to Nova Scotia, got a job in the food industry, but not as a dietitian, but kept trying. After two more years of trying, she has gone back to Ontario. Hardly any jobs in Nova Scotia for registered dietitians, certainly not full time. Given the state of our health, it looks like we could sure use a number of them as part of a concerted Public Health measure to get us off the “sickness care” treadmill.

  2. From one Conservative Curmudgeon to another, KUDOS to John McKay! Please note however that the uppercase C has NOTHING to do with those predatory neanderthals and their ostrich-head leader who call themselves the CPC.

    «PROGRESS» cannot be measured by the mountains of Tim-cups and McDonald’s wrappers littering our highways and by-ways. Neither can the ridiculous addiction to «social media» with «devices» seemingly grafter onto ears and thumbs, nor the numbers of discarded defective dishwashers lining our curbs, nor the incredible ever-increasing MASSIVE SIZE of popular gas-guzzling 400 hp assault vehicles raging our roads. GMO-everything, hormone laced meats and milk, stinking, neighbourhood blanketing «dryer sheets», poisonous «diet» products, «healthy» junk foods…. are likewise not very good indications of «progress». We are DEGENERATING into a self-important, insensitive, and PREDATORY state of society which will eventually lead to a very unpleasant «correction».

    1. You know what is a good indication of progress? Today’s social-media addicted <> are the most-educated, least-criminal group in history. They graduate from school at extremely high rates. They don’t smoke. Their rates of teenage pregnancy are very low. They drive less. They drink less. They drink and drive less. They use fewer drugs. I wouldn’t worry about Twitter.

      Now, all the stuff about the curmudgeonly baby boomers and their cars and dishwashers and fast food and insensitive, self-importance? I’m on board with that part.

      Dryer sheets? Might be my favourite smell, so I can’t agree with that one…

  3. What David Wheeler meant to say about the state of CBU, is that their pot of gold is drying up.
    They’ve been hugely reliant on a big international presence since I went there in the mid 90s.

    If you believe the rumors (and there are plenty), the Saudi Government change is (at least partially) a direct result of many of those students returning home with barely any new education, and their English hasn’t improved much.
    CBU is very much a social /party school for many international students.

      1. Having seen the offerings for international students at both, I think that it’s unfair to group SMU and CBU. SMU does much more to cater to their language requirements; although for no more altruistic a reason.

      2. Cambridge actually. I heard Moncton referred to as the Paris of the Maritimes so I think U de M must be the Sorbonne.

    1. I would think that any Saudi with the means to escape Saudi Arabia for a few years at a Western school would treat it as an opportunity to party. Not dissimilar to Canadian students heading away from home. A bit of party out of sight from home was certainly on my list of priorities many years ago.