1. Province commits to action on MCC mental health recommendation

A poster with a red heart on a blue background, with names hand written on it
A poster at the roadside memorial in Portapique commemorates the 22 people killed in the mass shooting that began there on April 18, 2020. Photo: Joan Baxter

“It’s been a long three years since a killer went on a rampage claiming 22 victims and damaging the lives of dozens of children, families, neighbours, eyewitnesses, and first responders,” Jennifer Henderson reports.

Brian Comer, the minister with the Office of Mental Health and Addictions, said the province will meet an upcoming deadline to provide help for people who continue to suffer after the mass killings.

In its final report released on March 29, the Mass Casualty Commission recommended the province and Ottawa work together to establish that emergency mental health care be made available by May 1.

Click here to read “Nova Scotia commits to expanded mental health supports three years after Portapique tragedy.”

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

2. New 30-storey tower proposed for Dartmouth Cove area

A simple architectural drawing shows an aerial view of a big development, with one tall tower and two mid-rise buildings on the same lot.
A rendering showing Mosaik Properties’ proposal for Canal Street. Credit: HRM/W.M. Fares Architects

The amusingly minimalist architectural rendering above is for a proposed new development for the Dartmouth Cove area.

In a new story on the proposal, Zane Woodford writes:

WM Fares Architects applied on Mosaik’s behalf to build 390 new homes at 42 Canal St. — the former site of Value Village and then the Harbourview Market.

The proposed one- and two-bedroom units would be split between three towers, one rising 30 storeys and the others seven storeys. The developer is proposing two levels of underground parking with 320 spaces in total. It would include almost 2,700 square metres of commercial space in the ground floors.

The developer is asking for a slight variance from the planning from the Zone 2 planning regulations.

Click here to read “Developer proposes second 30-storey tower for Dartmouth Cove area.”

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

3. Lyme awareness advocates upset about lack of action

A person's hand showing a tiny black tick on their index finger.
A black-legged tick. Credit: Contributed by Lloyd Tick Lab

“A local Lyme awareness advocacy group is calling on the province to do more to educate Nova Scotians about Lyme disease and offer treatment to those suffering from chronic Lyme,” Suzanne Rent reports.

Rent speaks to Lyme disease advocates who say opposition parties tend to talk a lot about the importance of doing more for people with chronic Lyme disease, but seem to lose interest once they are in power. This bit from Mount Allison biology professor Vett Lloyd jumped out at me:

Lloyd has had Lyme disease herself. She contracted the disease about 10 years ago, not long after she finished treatment for cancer.

“I must say the experience between the response to the two different diseases was night and day,” Lloyd said “With cancer you’re believed, and there are strains on the [health care] system, but you’re generally treated with compassion. With Lyme disease, I had to fight for access and treatment, and frustrations with not being believed and treated badly. I was one of the lucky ones because I have resources because I am a scientist and I’m well connected with other scientists who know about Lyme disease and were able to give me good advice.”

“Then I had the financial resources to be able to obtain treatment. But yes, it’s really, really rough.”

If you have followed any of Yvette d’Entremont’s reporting on long COVID, you’ll know that the challenges are similar: complexes diseases that affect people in different ways, and a health care system that’s not set up to deal with them.

Click here to read “Lyme disease awareness advocates disappointed by Nova Scotia premier’s lack of action.”

Here in St. Margaret’s Bay there has been a very noticeable uptick (sorry) in the prevalence of ticks over the last few years. We have two dogs, one of whom almost never gets them, and the other who seems to attract them on just about every walk. Here is Otis, our tick magnet:

Orange dog with big brown eyes lying on a couch, and resting its head on the armrest
Credit: Philip Moscovitch

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

4. Province asks UARB to increase $2 million/month NSP penalty

A map showing the various transmission components that connect Muskrat Falls to Nova Scotia. Credit: Emera

“The Houston government is asking the Utility and Review Board (UARB) to increase the $2 million a month penalty imposed on Nova Scotia Power in 2022 for failing to deliver at least 90% of the contracted hydroelectricity from Muskrat Falls,” Jennifer Henderson reports:

For nearly four years, Nova Scotia received no hydro power from Muskrat Falls and had to replace it with more expensive coal and oil. 

The cost of that is still in dispute but the Consumer Advocate estimated replacement energy in those years cost ratepayers at least $200 million. 

The NS Block from Muskrat Falls represents 10% of the supply to the provincial grid. 

Click here to read “Houston government says Nova Scotia Power should compensate ratepayers $2 million more per month for Muskrat Falls delays.”

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

5. Dal students hope invention could save lives at Peggys Cove

Three young men stand on white rocks by the water's edge. Two are standing, one is in the middle of them sitting. The young man on the left holds a long red projectile by his side while all three look out at the water.
Dalhousie University engineering students at the water’s edge with the device they hope will help save lives at Peggys Cove. Credit: Mackenzie Streb and Willem Glozanski

This item is written by Yvette d’Entremont

Even on calm and sunny days, Peggys Cove is a risky place for those who venture too close to the water’s edge where large and unexpected waves have swept people off the rocks. 

Despite signs warning of the dangers, some people still get too close. 

There have been multiple drownings at the site in recent years. This led a team of Dalhousie University engineering students to design and build a projectile device that can keep people afloat until they’re rescued. 

In a media release, it’s described as a tubular launching device that shoots an inflatable lifejacket to the victim “within that critical initial 60 seconds after they fall in.”

Using compressed air to fire it into the ocean, the projectile can travel 100 feet through high force winds and features C02 canisters that inflate a lifejacket tethered to the launcher by a plastic safety rope. This enables bystanders to pull the person to safety.

The prototype was created by Willem Glozanski, Zach Gould, Liam Carson, and Tanner Duplessis. The group would like to see launchers and projectiles eventually installed along the Peggy’s Cove coastline to help prevent drownings.

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

6. MacKay bridge replacement may be in the works

The A. Murray MacKay Bridge is seen from Africville on a sunny summer day in 2018. The photo is taken facing east, looking down the boat slip into the harbour, with the bridge spanning overhead. In the distance you can see the red and white stacks of Tufts Cove.
The A. Murray MacKay Bridge is seen from Africville in 2018. Photo: Zane Woodford

The “new bridge” might have to be replaced by 2040, Jean Laroche reports for CBC:

Halifax Harbour Bridges will soon issue a tender for a detailed analysis comparing the costs of repairing or replacing the span, first opened on July 10, 1970…

“The MacKay was built with a different standard back in the ’70s,” said [Halifax Harbour Bridges CEO Tony] Wright, explaining that its deck would need to be made thicker. “Macdonald for instance, the bridge is a 14-millimetre deck and current Canadian code would need to see us replace the Mackay Bridge with a 14-millimetre deck.”

“Unfortunately the supporting structures, the main cables, the towers, the cable vents are not designed to carry a 14 millimetre deck, so the rehab that we’re looking at would need to accommodate that.”

According to Wright that would mean having to hang new, stronger main cables and building additional support towers before any work could begin on replacing the deck.

The story gets into what would be involved in a “Big Lift” type replacement of the bridge decking, as was done with the Macdonald Bridge, and why replacing the MacKay altogether may be the better option. Also: Wright’s thoughts on the future of the toll plazas.

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

A yellow box which links to a helpful information page. The text reads "Unable to read paywalled articles? If you're having problems signing in, click here for help."


1. The fight for rights and justice is never-ending

Photo of a newspaper article called Knowing Your Rights as Tenants: Students versus Slumlords
An article from the Concordia student newspaper The Link, from 1988-89 Credit: Philip Moscovitch

I was in Montreal earlier this week, staying with old friends who are journalists. One of them had been the editor of the Concordia student newspaper The Link back in the late 1980s. I was the paper’s “literary coordinator” during his tenure. (Why “coordinator” instead of “editor”? I have no idea.) I also wrote stories — mostly arts related stuff, but also the occasional outlier like “Yugoslavian youth journal banned.”

My friend has bound copies of the 1988-89 editions of The Link, and a few things struck me as I flipped through them.

One of them was how consistent many of the struggles we face are — and by “we” I mean those of us who would generally cast ourselves as “progressive” in one way or another.

Stories The Link covered that year included the death of Joe Rose, a young man and AIDS activist killed because he was gay; the death of Anthony Griffin, an unarmed Black 19-year-old shot and killed by police while complying with an order (he was running away, turned around when told to, and then was shot and killed); tenants’ rights; affordable transit; inclusive language in the classroom; midwifery; racism at home and on US campuses; the fight for bike lanes; and the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

I’ve written in the Examiner before about how Montreal may be a great cycling city now, but getting there took decades of fighting — and a few high-profile stunts orchestrated by “Bicycle Bob” Silverman and his fellow activists.

Silverman has a piece in the July 8, 1988 issue of The Link, on the sorry state of cycling in Montreal and “what must be done”:

Most cyclists are afraid to ride on city streets clogged with traffic. They would like to bicycle to work but dangerous streets and the lack of safe bicycle parking and the absence of showers and lockers at work places also hinders the bicycle commuter…

One item that kept coming up [in consultation meetings] was the need for networks of bicycle paths… Montreal should tame the private car… Look at all the people enjoying themselves on car-free St. Denis and Ste. Catherine near St. Urbain during the jazz festival and you could imagine how pleasant a city without cars would be. It is just good sense and the wish to live in peace that demands this.

Bicycle paths and bicycle parking costs very little and are urgently needed by a rapidly growing bicycling populations. These measures would encourage bicycle commuting. The air will be cleaner, noise reduce, and the quality of life will be enhanced.

A story on inclusive language published three months later, and written by Louise Gagnon, is called “Excluding the other”:

The Status of Women’s Office sent out queries to each of the university’s departments last year, asking professors to be aware of sexist materials in the classroom… “The reaction from men in the departments has been shocking,” says [women’s studies professor Barbara] Roberts. She described letters sent back to the Status of Women’s office as “abusive.”…

When Gagnon calls one English prof to ask about inclusive language, he hangs up on her. Student Carla Gruodis tells Gagnon her classes at Concordia’s Liberal Arts College (think King’s Foundation Year Program, but over three years) were “pretty damn patriarchal. I never thought there were any women writers before the nineteenth century.” As a former Liberal Arts College student, albeit one kicked out after the first year, I can confirm.

Journalism student Jennifer Feinberg (still a working journalist, now in Chiliwack, BC) raises some good points about gender-inclusive language:

Feinberg’s own experience with trying to make the university’s professors aware that they may be excluding half their students has not been a pleasant one. “Nine times out of 10, I got brushed off. I was told that when you hear the word ‘chairman,’ you shouldn’t see a man… Whenever I would attempt to bring to the professor’s attention that all reporters aren’t men and all editors aren’t men, the reaction of course wat that the terms could be understood to include females. As a journalist, I felt that was unacceptable… People insist that it’s a petty issue because language in the long run doesn’t matter as long as the message is understood. But as soon as anyone points out we’re using gender-inclusive terms, then there’s an uproar. People know language is powerful.

There was, of course, also a pandemic to report on: the AIDS crisis. And The Link put out a special “Lesbian and Gay Supplement” featuring Archie comics characters in the Chock’ Lit shop: Moose and Archie holding hands, with Moose’s arm on Archie’s shoulder, and Betty and Veronica kissing over a shared sundae.

My point here is not that nothing changes, or that some things were bad and now they are better. In 1988, one of the people quoted in Gagnon’s story says gender-neutral language doesn’t have to be complicated. For instance, we can easily substitute “letter carrier” for mailman. Today we say “letter carrier” without thinking twice.

The point — and I think it is a salient one given the threats to democracy around the world — is that progressive struggles are ongoing and not linear. I don’t know if the arc of the universe bends towards justice, but I do know that getting justice not only means fighting like hell, it means having to keep fighting.

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

2. Gratitude: Getting to the heart of the trouble

Human heart png sticker illustration

The New York Times published a powerful guest essay on April 18 by Amy Silverstein, titled “My transplanted heart and I will die soon.

Silverstein is on her second transplanted heart, but is dying of cancer — likely the result of the anti-rejection drugs she and other organ transplant recipients take. Those drugs prevent recipients’ bodies from rejecting the donor organs, but they also leave them vulnerable to all kinds of other illnesses and to unpleasant side effects. Silverstein writes:

The side effects of transplant immunosuppression can be sickening day to day, as my small posse of stalwart organ recipient girlfriends knows well; we talk about the vomit bags stashed in our purses, the antacid tablets we tuck into our front pockets for quick-nibble access at a cocktail party or when giving a presentation at work. We’ve encouraged one another to be inventive and keep finding little fixes or at least ameliorations.

Yet over time, each of us tolerate significant challenges and damage, the kind that prompt us to call late at night in tears, reeling from the intractable infections that land us in emergency rooms and hospital beds, the biopsies that pluck pieces of our donor organs leaving us scarred and shaken, the skin cancers that blossom rapidly beside an eyelid or ear. We’ve learned that there can be no clearing every single cancer cell with a suppressed immune system; we will get cut again, and again and again.

But with rattled resolve, we push one another to squeeze laughter out of our common experiences, recounting in mimicking tones all the doctors and all the ways they’ve said to us: “You have taken too much of those medicines for too long. Things are bound to go sideways.”

Silverstein notes that transplant drugs haven’t really changed in decades, and that new treatments are desperately needed. Yet the effort to do more for transplant patients seems in part hindered by the idea that they should just be grateful they are alive at all. She writes:

Because a transplant begins with the overwhelming gift of a donor organ that brings you back from the brink of death, the entirety of a patient’s experience from that day forward is cast as a “miracle.” And who doesn’t love a good miracle story?

But this narrative discourages transplant recipients from talking freely about the real problems we face and the compromising and life-threatening side effects of the medicines we must take.

This “gratitude paradox,” as I’ve come to think of it, can manifest itself throughout the transplant professional communities as well…

And with a muted patient cohort, it has been way too easy for federal, state and nonprofit funding sources to overlook transplantation. Compare this with the influence and substantial research funding generated by engaged parents advocating fiercely on behalf of Type 1 diabetes patients — a worthy cause but one whose absolute number of new patients each year is not that different than that of organ transplant recipients. Perhaps this is why life expectancy after heart transplantation is little changed compared to when I received a heart in 1988.

We love a good “miracle” story, but we often don’t think about what happens after the miracle. This applies not only to heart patients, but also to groups like newcomers who have braved terrible difficulties to get here. (Newcomers who are deemed acceptable, that is. Others we seem happy to exclude, sometimes at the cost of their lives, to protect our hallowed borders.)

The issue of newcomers and gratitude came up a couple of seasons ago, on an episode of D’innombrables voyages, the French-language podcast I produce for the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (“wherever you get your podcasts,” etc.).

But nobody can feel gratitude every minute of every day. Being grateful you are alive doesn’t mean having to accept substandard care, or working conditions, or living situations. Many people who live in wildly privileged circumstances are urged to cultivate gratitude, and keep gratitude journals and so on. And feeling gratitude can be hard work! And gratitude has downside, which Suzanne Rent wrote about here.

Silverstein writes about the reaction to her book Sick Girl:

I received hostile letters and barbed online comments: Stop complaining … shut up and take your medicine … the doctors should have let you die.

If I had been born any time before the mid-20th century, I likely would have been dead by my early 20s because of a medical condition. I think about that sometimes. Quite often, actually. But nobody thinks to tell me I should just be grateful to be alive.

(Send this item: right click and copy this link)

A box with a link which reads "Sign up for our morning email. Get a direct link to the Morning File right in your inbox. Click here."



Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall and online) — agenda

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm, City Hall) — agenda

Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate and online) — agenda


No meetings

On campus


Accelerating ocean research at Dalhousie (Thursday, 6:30pm, Atrium, Ocean Sciences Building and online) — panel discussion



Opening Reception (Thursday, 3pm, Point Pleasant Park) — Resonant Grounds: Site-Responsive Art in Point Pleasant Park; rain date April 22, more info here

Winter 2023 Sculpture Open House (Thursday, 5:30pm, Port Campus, Marginal Road) — more info here


Reframed: Meet the Designers (Friday, 6pm, Port Loggia Gallery, Marginal Road) — more info here

In the harbour

05:30: Supreme Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Davisville, Rhode Island
07:30: Seaspan Loncomilla, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
11:00: Maersk Katalin, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
11:30: Supreme Ace sails for sea
20:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea
21:30: Seaspan Loncomilla sails for sea

Cape Breton
6:45: Phoenix Admiral, oil tanker, sails from EverWind for New York
11:15: Endurance, barge, sails Mulgrave for sea


  • The Crime Writers of Canada released the shortlists for their Awards of Excellence this morning, and I see two local names I recognize on the list. Congrats to Jo Treggiari, nominated for Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book for Heartbreak Homes, and donalee Moulton, nominated for Best Crime Short Story for “Swan Song.” The list just came out. If I missed any locals, please let me know.
  • My Flair airlines luck finally ran out, but I figure if you’re paying under $100 for a return trip to Montreal you can’t be too shocked if your flight winds up cancelled.
A button which links to the Subscribe page
A button link which reads "Make a donation"

Philip Moscovitch is a freelance writer, audio producer, fiction writer, and editor of Write Magazine.

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues. Twitter @ydentremont

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. RE: The fight for rights and justice is never-ending. Read Victor Serge. Remember Brecht: “What has happened has happened. The water you have poured into the wine you can not pour back out, but everything changes. You can make a new start with your last breath.”

  2. Re the Crime Writers of Canada Awards, I failed to mention another local: Anne Emery, whose book Fenian Street (ECW) is nominated for Best Traditional Mystery.

  3. Time for a harbour tunnel. Bridges are “the gift that keeps on costing”. A tunnel is a bit pricier up front, but lower operating costs. The technology to build tunnels is commonplace now but the routing needs to be determined. Any new crossing of any kind needs to be part of a bigger plan to remap traffic flows.

  4. Regarding the MacKay Bridge: No one appears to be questioning the assumption that we need a second harbour crossing for six lanes of cars for the next 100 years. What if we just scrapped the bridge? We could invest a portion of the savings in public transit – rail and ferries (for bikes and pedestrians only). Doing so would save money, reduce emissions, and make a more pedestrian city. Removing the bridge would not increase congestion, as shown by the removal of major road works in other cities.

  5. Great bit on Lyme Disease, I’d love to see another follow-up on the state of Long Covid treatment here in NS. Based on experience of a family member, the clinic is still under-staffed and there is a lengthy wait for any treatment (not entirely sure what treatment is actually available through the clinic yet). It doesn’t seem like much/any treatment would be available for patients without a family doctor, while waiting for the clinic.