In the harbour



Nova Scotia Business Inc. yesterday released its draft guidelines for the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, which comes into effect on July 1. According to the press release:

The draft guidelines were developed with input from industry to provide the broadest possible benefits to the industry and taxpayers. They will ensure benefits are broadly distributed – to workers, suppliers, and Nova Scotia communities.

But it’s hard to believe the draft guidelines were run by anyone at all, even a copyeditor, much less anyone actually in the film industry. The guidelines and supporting documents are riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, and at one point even the name of the program is bungled, leaving the “Production” out of it.

Of greater concern, points out Thom Fitzgerald, the application form for companies seeking funding requires that “A DVD of the completed Production” be submitted. That’s right: in order to get funding to start a film or TV production, you have to first submit the completed production.

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2. Residential schools

The Shubenacadie Indian Residential School
The Shubenacadie Indian Residential School

Yesterday, the Truth in Reconciliation Commission released its report on residential schools, which it labelled a “cultural genocide.”

Some local reaction:

CTV interviewed Linda Maloney, a former student, and Rose Salmons, a former teacher, at the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School:

Maloney, who was five years old when she started out at the Shubenacadie school, recalls how children were “strapped” for speaking Mi’kmaq.

But the hardest part, she recalls, were the long, lonely nights, when the young girl felt isolated and her sisters at the school were forbidden from coming to comfort her.

Maloney, who spent 10 years at the school, recalls “waiting for daylight to come and not be afraid.”

Salmons, who was 22 years old when she became one of the 12 nuns teaching at the residential school for 160 students, says she remembers feeling ill-prepared for what she encountered at Shubenacadie.

“We certainly didn’t have any training for dealing with children who were taken from their homes, and who really needed love,” Salmons said.

In fact, she was expressly forbidden from reaching out.

“It was written down: we were not to show affection for the children,” Salmons said.

The CBC’s Shaina Luck interviewed Janice Casimel-Doucette, who “was sexually abused after being placed in a residential school when she was five.”:

After hearing of the report’s findings, Casimel-Doucette feels she and other survivors have been heard.

“I felt that I was empowered,” she said. “There’s changes happening in our world for us survivors. … They acknowledge my pain [and] they acknowledge my suffering. 

Also, I’d be remiss in not plugging Chris Benjamin’s book on the Shubenacadie school, Indian School Road.

3. City council

Photo: Halifax Examiner
Photo: Halifax Examiner

Halifax city council met yesterday, but didn’t do anything interesting.

That’s not quite right. Council met in closed session to discuss the St. Patrick’s–Alexandra school issue, but didn’t make any announcement related to it. I assume that means that there is no change in the plan to sell the property for development.

And there’s a nagging issue related to the Mount Hope–Shearwater Connector Road that I’m trying to write about. Maybe later today.

4. Hell


The Irving-owned New Brunswick Newspapers have rejected Mike de Adder’s cartoon on the death of Jacques Parizeau, seen above, because it contains the word “hell.”

The Irving-owned newspaper chain is clearly out of its collective mind. No one is offended by the use of the word “hell.” Rather, the papers should have rejected the cartoon for the improper use of “everyday.” In this context, it should be two words: “every day.” Totally ruined the joke.

5. Wild Kingdom

Harvey Timmins caught a 15-pound lobster, but somehow no one took a picture of him holding the beast.

Come on, people, we’ve all got cameras in our pockets…and remember: horizontal!


1. Cattle

Monday, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia tweeted the following photo, showing the literal ground-breaking of the urban farm being constructed on the waterfront lot behind the Nova Scotia Hospital:

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In response, Stephen Archibald recalls a weird bit of city iconography:

For me the ox + Halifax image evokes a long tradition or convention of rendering the distant city with some picturesque cattle in the foreground. Consider this 1801 engraving by George Parkyns. A group of people are frolicking on the slope of Fort Needham with the spires of the city and Citadel Hill in the distance. To symbolize rural peace and tranquility we have  grazing cattle (and a flock of sheep thrown in for good measure).


Archibald goes on to show a couple of other images of Halifax and cows.

2. Port of Sydney

I’ve converted Parker Donham!

As I’ve long pointed out, talk of Nova Scotia becoming a central shipping destination is delusional. Now, Donham writes “The truth about a container pier for Sydney“:

Nova Scotia already has two container piers, both operating at less than half capacity. The business model conjectured for a third* container pier here — save a day of cheap ocean shipment and replace it with 1500 miles of expensive rail transport — defies logic. It will never happen. 

Among other things, it would require hundreds of millions of investment in a decrepit railway that is defunct for lack of business. And for what? So international shippers could land their wares further from market than they could by sailing past Sydney to New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, or Montreal?

Successive politicians and development officers have spent the better part of two decades engaging film-flam artists to keep this cruel hoax alive. Please stop. 

The asterisk in the quote is referencing the entirely fictional Maher Melford terminal, a $3 billion project that supposedly will one day be built on the Strait of Canso.

To reiterate, here’s how I explained why the Nova Scotian geography is a curse, not a blessing, for ports:

No shipper wants to use the North American port that is closest to Europe. That makes no sense at all.

Think about it. You are the manager of a German manufacturing firm, and you want to export to North America. You’re not going to sell many widgets in Canso or in Eastport. Instead, your primary market is going to be places like New York City, or Chicago, where there are millions of people and lots of industry to buy your widgets.

So how do you get your widgets to Chicago? Expensive and light stuff, you can fly directly there. Everything else has two legs: one by sea, and one by land.

The sea part of the voyage is relatively inexpensive. You can stack a gazillion of your widgets in the new post-Panamax ships. A small, underpaid crew from the Philippines steering a ship flying the flag of a lightly regulated country like Liberia doesn’t cost much.

The land part of the journey, however, is expensive. You’ve got to divide up your gigantic cargo and divvy it into a thousand trucks, each driven by a highly paid (relative to the shiphands) driver, using lots of fuel to get to Chicago. Or, if you’re lucky, you can use rail, which, while cheaper than the trucks, is still much more expensive than the sea voyage, per unit transported per distance.

The guy sitting in Germany isn’t looking for the North American port closest to Germany, but rather the North American port closest to Chicago, or wherever his widgets are going. If that means a longer sea journey, the cost is more than made up for with the huge savings of a shorter land journey. I’m not sure why megaport boosters get this so wrong.

Existing American megaports—New York, Hampton Roads, Charleston—are investing billions retrofitting their operations to handle the post-Panamax ships, and the rail lines are upgrading like crazy, refitting for double-stacked containers and such. There’s no chance—none—that Canso or Eastport ports can match the investment, and CN will never be able to out compete Norfolk Southern or CSX for the American midwest market. Just ain’t gonna happen.

I find this megaport boosterism in Canada a little sad, really, for how delusional it is.

Adding, I was in Chicago in November, and happened upon the Norfolk Southern intermodal yard on 63rd Street in the south side. It is a huge operation, where double-decker trains arrive from Hampton Roads, Baltimore, and New York, and the containers are shifted to trucks for the next leg of their journey. I watched the continuous stream of trains and trucks for about 20 minutes, and in that 20 minutes saw more containers than Halifax will see in a month. And that was just one of the 21 intermodal terminals in Chicago.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

I read the article in the Cape Breton Post last week about Quebec Remparts coach Philippe Boucher complaining about the Quebec league referees at the Memorial Cup.

How ironic is that? Does Boucher not realize Quebec league referees are the ones who played a big role in his team getting to the national championship? Just ask any Cape Breton Screaming Eagles fan or any fan of a Maritime-based team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Boucher’s remarks about having Western or Ontario league referees officiate the round-robin game they lost 4-0 to Rimouski echoes what I have always believed – that come playoff time referees should be brought in from the different major junior leagues to handle all the games. Western league officials could handle Ontario league games, Ontario league games could handle Quebec league games and Quebec league officials could handle Western league games. The next year it could be switched.

This would make things more just as far as I am concerned.

On another note, I believe our Screaming Eagles team is going to be a top contender next season so fans who don’t already have tickets may want to get them. If this past season is any indication we are going to see great hockey in 2015-16.
John (Boo) MacNeil
(Section 3 season ticket holder)
Reserve Mines



Special Events Advisory Committee (9am, City Hall)—the city’s going to pony up $50,000 for a rugby match between Team Canada and the Glasgow Warriors.

I’m not opposed to spending the money, but the staff report relies on a Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM) for economic impact, which is largely discounted as, well, bullshit. Spend the money because we want to see some bad ass rugby, and leave the financial smoke and mirrors for the convention people.

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Halifax and West Community Council (6pm, City Hall)—the council will decide whether to allow changes in the nine-storey St. Joseph Square project on Gottingen Street (across from the Hydrostone) that would increase the number of residential units from 83 to 106, move the entrance to the building from Gottingen Street to Kaye Street, and incorporate other changes to the approved project.

North West Planning Advisory Committee (7pm, that four-pad arena with the name of a fucking bank plastered on it)—the committee will look at a proposed subdivision of 17 houses on an extension of Majestic Avenue in Beaver Bank.

The developer produced this impossible view of the proposed Wyse Road apartment building.
The developer produced this architectural rendering of the proposed Wyse Road apartment building.

Public information meeting (7pm, Hawthorne room, Holiday Inn Harbourfront)—WSP Group wants to build a 10-storey apartment building at 169 Wyse Road, the former site of the world’s worst strip bar and then the animal hospital.


No public meetings

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:45am Wednesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:45am Wednesday. Map:

Suzuka Express, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning
ZIM Qingdao, container ship, arrived at HalTerm this morning
Atlantic Cartier, container ship, Norfolk to Fairview Cove East
Fritz Reuter, container ship, Lisbon, Portugal to Pier 42
Torm Ragnhild, tanker, Gdansk, Poland to anchor for inspection
ZIM Piraeus, container ship, New York to Pier 41


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 4pm.

I have no copyeditor this morning. Probably not the best day to ridicule other people’s spelling and grammar.

Port of Sydney

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. The artist’s rendering of the proposed apartment building for the Wyse Road lot includes what look like a few street-level retail spaces. Yay! Making street-level more pedestrian friendly! Unless you are mobility-impaired, then f*** you! OR does this goofy province / municipality have 21st-century, no 20th-century style rules yet making it mandatory to build new buildings with accessible entrances?

  2. The letter about “biased Quebecois referees” is pretty funny because Atlantic teams have won 6 out of the 10 last Quebec league championships even though there are only like 4 or 5 Atlantic teams in the entire 18 team league. When in doubt, though, always blame Quebec.

        1. The gods who put the red squiggly line under misspellings were happy with the one-word “copyeditor,” and that’s good enough for me.

          1. The «Red Squggly Lines» are NOT heaven-inspired but rather the pontifications of ««Speek ‘mericun-boi SpekChek»» — a HELL-ish computer program which purports to be an «AUTHORITY» on the English Language.

            Nothing could be further from the truth: it constantly disses perfectly correct English while ignoring legions of transgressions which EDUCATED PEOPLE can spot at a hundred yards!

          2. ERR… squIggly and SpeL — WordPress’ «new and improved» 2-poiht pale grey type got me once again!