1. Environmental Bill of Rights

Marlene Brown (left), is a Harrietsfield resident with a contaminated well. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

“Nova Scotia needs nothing short of an Environmental Bill of Rights if it wants to ensure its citizens can drink clean water, breathe clean air, and hold their governments accountable to make polluters pay,” reports Jennifer Henderson for the Examiner:

That’s the position of a coalition of Nova Scotia environmental groups which celebrated Earth Day by unveiling a Environmental Bill of Rights designed to protect future generations from a repeat of the environmental problems which have afflicted Shelburne, Indian Brook, Lincolnville, and Pictou Landing.

Click here to read “Environmental Bill of Rights proposed for Nova Scotia.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

2. Examineradio, episode #108

Lynn Jones. Photo: Halifax Examiner

This week we talk with noted historian and labour activist Lynn Jones, who recently donated a rich archive of material focusing on African Nova Scotian history to the Saint Mary’s University library.

Also, we dig into the Liberal government’s ongoing spending spree across the province as the likelihood of an election looms, and more damning criticism is aimed at Gregory Lenehan, the judge who acquitted Halifax cabbie Bassam Al-Rawi of charges of sexual assault.

[iframe style=”border:none” src=”//″ height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]

(direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

3. Teachers aren’t happy with Liberals

Judging by two recent incidents, Nova Scotia teachers aren’t happy with Liberal politicians.

The first incident was reported by Elizabeth Chiu for the CBC:

The newly minted candidate for the Nova Scotia Liberals in the riding of Dartmouth East has ruffled feathers at a local school after a teacher complained she felt “duped” into a photo op used for political purposes.

Edgar Burns was one of several volunteers who participated Wednesday in the Rotary Club’s Read a Long program at Brookhouse Elementary, which is in the riding.

He read to the Grade 3 class, answered questions and a photograph of him reading to the children was snapped. Hours later the picture was posted on the Dartmouth East Liberal Association Facebook page.

The teacher of the class was not in the photo but posted on social media that she was upset about it, saying she felt “duped into a photo op for the Liberal Party.” The photo has been taken down.

The second incident was reported by Mark Hodgins for News 95.7:

A fundraising group at Beechville – Lakeside- Timberlea school agreed to pull an advertisement paid for by a local liberal MLA after teachers at the school took issue with it.

Lori Ann Farris, a member of the school’s Parent-Teacher Coalition, says a flyer was to be sent home with students reminding parents of the need for donations to “class basets”, a fundraiser as part of the upcoming Spring Fair.

But the flyer featured a paid advertisement for Timberlea-Prospect MLA Iain Rankin, and Farris says she was contacted by the school and told it would not be sent out over “political concerns” from teachers.

What’s a “class baset”?

4. Pedestrian Struck

A police email to reporters from last night:

At 1:58pm [Sunday], HRP officers responded to a motor vehicle versus pedestrian collision at the intersection of Dresden Row and Spring Garden Road. The vehicle involved was travelling Southbound on Dresden Row and was turning Eastbound onto Spring Garden Road and the pedestrian was crossing Spring Garden Road in a marked crosswalk heading Northbound. Post-impact, the 18-year-old female pedestrian was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the 59-year-old female driver of the vehicle was issued a summary offense ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Traffic at the intersection was held up for a short time until emergency services attended.

5. Splash Pad for Dartmouth

Dartmouthians want a splash pad like this one in Kinsmen Park in Lower Sackville. Photo: Facebook

Dartmouth resident Rick Mayuk wants a splash pad to be built somewhere in Dartmouth, and has started a Facebook page to generate interest, albeit he managed to misspell “splash pad.”

Sure, why not? There’s something wonderfully whimsical about building splash pads in Nova Scotia. I mean, you could get the same experience by simply walking outside on any of the 300 days of the year when it’s raining, and it seems kind of excessive to build an entire facility in expectation of the week and a half in August when you might actually want to cool down. But then again, people still plan outdoor weddings for Nova Scotia’s June monsoon season, restaurants set their air conditioners at a perpetual 15 degrees, and there are already at least seven splash pads around HRM, so what do I know? If Dartmouthians want a splash pad, have at it.

There’s a discussion of the idea here.

6. Erratum

Last week, I linked to Mary Campbell’s report on lie detector tests, which included a discussion of their use in HRM. Campbell updates her article:

Brendan Elliott, senior communications adviser with Halifax Regional Municipality, contacted me to say that “lie detector tests are not used in the recruitment process for our firefighters.” I’ve asked when the process was discontinued and why and will update the story when I receive an answer. For the record, I assumed they were still used because the recruitment page of the HRM web site says they are.

Campbell links to this HRM recruitment page, which as of this morning still contains this information:


1. Lyle Howe and the bar society’s Plan B

Lyle Howe (Jessica Durling, The Signal)

Writes Stephen Kimber:

If the panel hearing the professional misconduct charges against Howe decides he is guilty of any, some, or all of the original seven charges against him, he could be disbarred. If, on the other hand, the panel decides he isn’t guilty of all — or most — of those charges… well, what then?

Click here to read “Lyle Howe and the bar society’s Plan B.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

2. Ghostly memories of the Chronicle Herald

Former Chronicle Herald reporter and columnist Peter Duffy recounts “his life and times at what was then a quaint provincial paper” in a four-part series written for Local Xpress.

In Part 1, Duffy remembers his early days at the paper.

In Part 2, he discusses his displeasure at being assigned to the politics beat.

I’m so hoping that in the forthcoming Parts 3 and 4 Duffy will talk about his encounter with the ghost:

When I got home, I poured myself a finger of Scotch and sat reflecting on the evening.

Then I went to bed. It was midnight, late for me.

And that’s when it happened.

I became aware of a strange presence in the bedroom, something emitting waves of malevolence.

And then I saw it; something was rearing over me.

I don’t know how, or why, but instinctively, I knew it was a demon of some kind.

I recoiled in horror, trying to make myself small, unable to tear my eyes away.

There was no face. The thing had a human form but it was swathed in a black cowl-like covering, like some kind of monk.

And then it was on top of me, soundless and unstoppable, smothering me, assaulting me.

There’s no delicate way to put this; I was vividly aware of this creature violating me.

Please, please, please Peter! I want to hear how the editors and staff reacted to this column. I want to know if it was fact-checked: did an intern attempt to get Mr. Ghost’s side of the story, or were these unproven, untested-in-court allegations of sexual assault allowed to run in the paper of record without the opportunity for dissenting comment? Did a lawyer review the column?

3. De-clawing


“It’s time the declawing of cats was outlawed in Nova Scotia,” writes Pat Lee for Local Xpress. “Or, here’s a radical thought: if your couch is more important than your cat’s paws, then get a goldfish.”




Police Commission (Monday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — the Human Rights Commission has asked the commission to have a “collaborative effort to open a discussion on the use of street checks.”

Advisory Committee for Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm, City Hall) — lots of updates, but no action items on the agenda.

Integrated Mobility Plan Presentation (Monday, 6pm, Presentation Theatre, NSCC Waterfront Campus) — info here.


Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — there’s a lot going on tomorrow. I’ll try to write up something later today or for tomorrow’s Morning File.



Law Amendments (Monday, 3:30pm, Province House) — public hearing on the Accessibility Act.


Legislature Sits (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) — the budget will be dropped on Thursday, and most people are guessing an election will be called soon after.

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, Province House) — merely collecting that per diem.

On campus



How Two Coordinate Actions and Learn from Each Other (Monday, 2pm, Room 264, CHEB) — Tim Welsh, from the University of Toronto, will speak. The event description explains:

The vast majority of research in perception, cognition, and action has focussed on the processes that lead to an individual acting alone to achieve personal action goals. Human experience, however, is clearly not limited to situations in which individuals work alone. Humans are social beings who observe, interpret, and use the actions of other people to achieve a variety of individual and group goals. In this talk, Dr. Welsh will review separate lines of work that converge on the theme of action in social contexts. The results of these investigations indicate that action in social contexts is facilitated by a series of inter-related processes that include: action imagination, prediction, and perception; the understanding of other people’s bodies; and the coding of both lower-level kinematics and the higher level goals of the actions (such as effects and intention). Implications for motor learning through observation and imagery will also be discussed.

… The main objective of [Welsh’s] research is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cognitive and neural mechanisms that shape the goal-directed actions of people from average and special populations such as autism, Down syndrome, and dystonia. His uses both behavioural and neurophysiological approaches to explore three main areas of investigation: the interactions between attention and action; perception-action coupling; and, action in social contexts.

Senate (Monday, 3pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — the Institute for Research in Materials wants to change its name. The agenda doesn’t say what the proposed new name is, but I’m guessing they’re going to try to shoehorn “innovation” in there somehow, because that’s how things roll.


No events scheduled.

In the harbour

5am: YM Essence, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Bremerhaven, Germany
6am: AHS Hamburg, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, which is a country on the southern half of Caribbean island named Saint Martin, and is part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The Northern half of the island is the country of Saint-Martin, which has an impossibly complex history and is now an overseas “collectivity” of France.
6am: Louis S, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Montreal

Mary. Photo: Halifax Examiner

8am: Mary, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Cagliari, Italy
3:30pm: Amadea, cruise ship with up to 624 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Lunenburg
This is the first cruise ship to visit Halifax this year. The Amadea is on a 24-day one-way cruise from Nassau, Bahamas to Hamburg, Germany, which evidently doesn’t include much in the way of shore visits — although passengers had up to 12 hours to explore eastern US ports and will have 10 hours in St. John’s, the Lunenburg and Halifax shore excursions are scheduled for just five hours each. If it’s Monday afternoon, this must be Halifax…
3:30pm: Louis S, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
4pm: Crawford, oil tanker, arrives at Berth TBD from IJmuiden, Netherlands
4pm: Torino, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton
4pm: Bishu Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
10pm: Amadea, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for St. John’s


Monday already?

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

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  1. Everyone stop what you’re doing and listen to the latest Canadaland podcast.

    Kimber v Donham. Awesome!

      1. What was that bizarre bit about paper books dying? Digital books have plateaued and are declining. 19% in 2015 and 16% in 2016, that doesn’t sound like a winning medium. His arguments about the supremacy of the internet were that it was inevitable and that he saw facebook and all that nonsense coming.No one in 2003 had any idea what the internet would become, it was actually getting bogged down with non-factual forums and blogs… much like today.

      2. Perhaps that is the case, but do you have any substantive facts/argument to counter his views ?
        He is somewhat less left than when he was a regular on CBC – I guess age brings reality and wisdom.

  2. There are pretty strict rules covering taking pictures of kids in school. Usually, you need to either have a release, or not show their faces. I’ve had teachers take pics of me doing writing workshops with their classes. I’ve occasionally asked for permission to use the photos, and they’ll either make sure the kids are not identifiable, or they have parents’ OK.

    1. Up here, the schools get signed consents for this kind of thing at the beginning of the year. Any kid without a signed consent is removed by the teacher before the photo is taken. These are photos taken in the school itself, not at public events outside the school. I already told the schools that they have to remove any kid in advance, as I’m not photoshopping anyone out ex post facto and the photo won’t run. But almost every kid in the school has a signed consent so it is rarely an issue.

    2. As I understand it, no children were visible in the photo. (It was still inappropriate to use for political purposes without being clear in advance he was a candidate and what the picture would be used for.)

  3. “Motor vehicle versus pedestrian”
    reminds me of Bill Nye’s lesson on inertia, RV versus fly.
    (The RV ALWAYS wins!)

  4. Kids like splash pads. Let them have their fun. There have been some days when I have been tempted to walk into one and cool off, but alas, only children are permitted.

    It doesn’t have to be scorching hot for the kids to use them. I saw children using one in Fredericton in early October. Granted it was a nice day, but it wasn’t all that hot.

    In small towns, these projects are often paid for and maintained for by service clubs, with the municipality providing the water and drainage for free. I suppose in the cities that wouldn’t be acceptable, but the kids do like the splash pads.

  5. Today the Board of Police Commissioners will meet in camera to discuss several items, the two important issues are ‘Senior Officer Staffing’, and ‘Chief of Police Performance Evaluation Process’.
    Chief Blais has to appoint a replacement for Deputy Chief Bill Moore who will be leaving to become Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. The new Deputy Chief will probably come from the 6 Superintendents, 2 of whom are women and one is a male African Nova Scotian. Chief Blais has been delegated the power to appoint,promote and suspend all officers under the provisions of the Police Act and an HRM bylaw.
    Evaluating the performance of Chief Blais has suddenly become almost impossible as the majority of the Commissioners have little experience on the Board.
    Commissioners Mancini and Mason were appointed on December 19 2016. Councillor Craig is chair of the Board and has been a member since January 2016. Ms Sylvia Parris has been a member since April 2015 and Jeff Mitchell, a young lawyer, became a member the same day as Ms Parris Mr Mitchell was not reappointed a few weeks ago for reasons that have yet to be explained. The provincial appointee Stephen Graham has failed to attend over 40% of the board meetings since his swearing in on May 11 2015.
    On April 11th this year an in camera meeting of HRM council appointed Carlos Beals and Carole McDougall to the Board of Police Commissioners and dumped Mitchell and Ed McMaster.
    Mr McMaster had served a year on the board. Both men had been active participants at meetings and keenly pressed their views.
    The only members who have had significant experience with Chief Blais are Paris and Craig, Craig has the advantage of discussing the content of agendas and other issues with the Chief in between board meetings.
    All these changes are quite common in Halifax where council and staff disdain for the legislated role of Board of Police Commissioners has been entrenched for decades. The most recent couldn’t care less attitude of council is the deliberate avoidance of dealing with the Honsberger & Moreash 192 page report into the role of the Board tabled at the December 19 2016 meeting. As former members of the Board the two men chastised the council and senior staff for their blatant disregard of the legislation governing policing in Nova Scotia. Staff were supposed to review the report and respond to council in a few months. The report is not available on the Board website but is available at The Coast :

    1. Good summary and thank you for the link to the article in The Coast. The article was written in December 2016 so it would be interesting to see a follow up review of the situation to not have been sanctioned or requested from an office with authority to do so; rather, these two former police commissioners took it upon themselves to write the 192 page review they delivered back in September 2016… thus does the review have any official standing at this time or will it end up being shelved where no one will see it again? Very curious that this problem appears to have roots dating back to 1996… definitely time for some action to resolve the issues in a timely fashion. But without an official timeline established for attaining a resolution, I fear we will be hearing about this issue off and on for a number of years in the future.

      1. Mr Graham failed to attend the meeting today – the 8th successive meeting in 2017.
        The problem of governance goes back a long way. Councils and CAOs have fought every change as they preferred to have control over policing and a police chief. The review provides a good description of police governance in Nova Scotia over the past 40 years. I could have written the same review, I am not a lawyer, but I have read the Police Act in every province as well as many books and articles about police governance.
        Ms McDougall was sworn in today and Carlos Beals did not attend.
        The police boards in Bridgewater and Annapolis Royal are much worse, the meeting minutes are online. In Annapolis Royal a police budget was drawn up by two members in a meeting held in a bar owned by one of them – the chief is a brother of the Premier.

        1. Applicants for the Board of Police Commissioners were interviewed by CAO Dube, Board chair Steve Craig, and councillor Lorelei Nicoll. Councillor Nicoll has never served on the Board.
          The public should be told what questions were asked of all those considered for the 2 positions and how each person was scored; and the in camera vote result on April 11th.