An image of the dead FOIPOP website page.

“An assessment of the software that was used to operate the province’s troubled freedom of information [FOIPOP] website notes high risks,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:

The report looks at AMANDA 7, which was used to operate the website where people could file freedom of information requests online, receive their documents and see previously-completed requests.

It says redacted information retained “could accidentally be published and/or accessed by an unauthorized user” and suggests documents be retained for just five years, in keeping with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

KPMG also found Unisys [the firm contracted to run the FOIPOP site] wasn’t performing “any regular assessments and/or audits” related to its work on AMANDA for the province. Any control assessments that were performed were deemed inadequate.

2. Fool’s Gold

A sign reading "No goldmine in our watershed, please"
Photo: Joan Baxter

“Anaconda Mining Inc. announced Tuesday that it registered its 100 per cent-owned Goldboro Gold Project with the Nova Scotia Environment Department,” reports the Chronicle Herald.

That’s reason enough to take all four parts of Joan Baxter’s “Fool’s Gold series” out from behind the paywall. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

And if you value that reporting, please subscribe so we can continue to produce it.

3. Air Miles with that?

Graphic: Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation

Too damn funny:

“There’s a danger in all this. What our government and the NSLC are doing is that they are glamourizing and normalizing cannabis use,”…

Prior to legalization, it was totally not cool to use cannabis. Why, they were so ashamed to be seen as squares by their peers that those teenagers who smoked up hid themselves away in the woods and in basements.

[Dal prof Simon] Sherry points to NSLC signage that promote various cannabis strains as “soothing,” “relaxing and calming” or offering “livelier experiences” that “invigorate the senses.”

Dude needs to take a bong hit, sit back, and consider: there is no conceivably bigger buzzkill than having the NSLC sell dope.

Hooking up with your connection in the alleyway behind the bowling alley? Risky and glamourous, just like in the movies! Driving to the big box NSLC and jockeying with a soccer mom in a minivan for the best parking spot? Not so much.

Knowing when your dealer is ripping you off with cheap product and underweight baggies is being wise to the ways of the world, and calling him out on it shows you’re one badass dude who isn’t going to take shit from some two-bit criminal; buying federally regulated product in sanctioned sizes in a retail environment just makes you another stupid consumer chump; you may as well be buying tunafish or underwear.

The entire point of legalization is to take the cannabis business out of the criminal realm. People shouldn’t risk prison and lack of employment opportunity just for toking up; on that, almost everyone agrees.

Sure: the Trudeau government and McNeil governments are getting a lot of things wrong with legalization — they’ve created Rube Goldberg-like regulatory and retail schemes that seem designed to keep the black market alive and thriving. But given the social angst and moral panic surrounding legalization, that was probably inevitable.

That problem, however, is not caused by the signage at the NSLC.

Yes, the NSLC is “normalizing” cannabis use — normalizing it right into banality. But when young people run into their parents’ friends and that creepy old guy from the bar in the checkout line, and when they’re asked about Air Miles and whether they want a receipt for their credit card payment, they’re not going to come out of the experience thinking it’s glamourous.

4. The Church of Cannabis

A picture of a Bible with a cannabis leaf on it

In other cannabis news, police raided the Higher Living dispensary in Dartmouth yesterday, and later issued this release:

At approximately 1:35 p.m., investigators in the Special Enforcement Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division conducted a search at the Higher Living Wellness Centre at 219A Wyse Road in Dartmouth. Officers seized a quantity of cannabis resin, cannabis edibles and cannabis-derived products. Two employees, a man and a woman, both 36, were arrested for possession for the purpose of trafficking and released to appear in court at a later date.

The Higher Living Wellness Centre, which lists an address of 219 Wyse Road, is registered to Heidi Chartrand of Hammonds Plains.

According to her LinkedIn page, Chartrand is also a mortgage broker, has owned other businesses, and is an advocate for people with breast cancer. She is one of 300 self-represented plaintiffs who have asked the federal court to declare that the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations are unconstitutional.

There’s also a “Higher Living Church of Cannabis” registered at 219 Wyse Road, with directors named as Ian Campbell of Newport, Heidi Dierickse of McGraths Cove, Erin McCulloch of Lower Sackville, Jonathon Jacquard of Greenwood, and Ralph Phillips of Hammonds Plains. Phillips is listed as president of the church.

Judging by Chartrand’s social media posts, there certainly is an evangelical bent to the operation of Higher Living, in the sense that those associated with it see the use of cannabis in health and moral terms.

There are undoubtedly some health benefits associated with cannabis, especially related to the side effects associated with cancer (loss of appetite, nausea, etc.), but it’s interesting to me how those benefits have been inflated by some such that cannabis can cure just about anything, and in some circles the use of cannabis has taken on religious tones.

There are other drugs that have taken on religious tones — peyote comes to mind, and maybe LSD (Catholics use wine sacramentally, but as metaphor; Catholics don’t give drunkenness spiritual significance) — so this may be a broader phenomenon, but I wonder if prohibition has led to a prosecuted feeling that expresses itself in religious terms. I am not a sociologist, heh.

During the Higher Living raid, cannabis activists, including Chris Enns but also many others, descended upon Higher Living to give the cops what for. Unfortunately, they held their phones the wrong way when recording the video:

YouTube video

5. Nova Centre lighting

Some time ago, my admin person/office manager, Iris, who lives in the south end, told me that the lights from the Nova Centre a kilometre away were keeping her up at night. Ever since, I’ve noted a continual stream of similar complaints on Twitter:


@WayeMason @LindellSmithHFX If the Nova Centre financials get too bad is it possible to expropriate the property? It would make a really nice community centre .
Ok j/k…can we at least make them turn off that obnoxious white death ray lighting.Since we’re paying the power bill.

— Rob Tough (@robtough) April 10, 2018


The strip of lights on top of the new convention centre looks makes it look like a pimped ‘90s Sunfire from Spryfield. World-class shit.

— Andrew Murphy (@monochromegod) March 21, 2018

The lighting on the #Halifax convention centre has a douchey Honda Civic vibe. pic.twitter.com/hszVgxOh9r

— Murray Wong (@murraywong) August 6, 2018

Did the lighting designers of the Nova Centre realise their creation would shine brightly into the upper windows of the new hotel?

— Paul Blaauw (@pblaauw) February 27, 2018

On that last… whatever happened to the new hotel operator? I haven’t seen any help-wanted ads or any obvious work on the hotel (I may have missed either or both).

Oh, the landscaping around the Nova Centre is being cared for as follows:



No public meetings for the rest of the week.

On campus



Thesis Defence, Pathology (Wednesday, 9:30am, Room 3107, The Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Wasundara Fernando will defend her ​​thesis, “In Vitro and Pre-Clinical Evaluation of Anti-Metastatic Activity of Phloridzin Docosahexaenoate (Pz-Dha) Versus Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.”


Thesis Defence, Psychology and Neuroscience (Thursday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Sean McWhinney will defend his ​​thesis, “A Comparison of Statistical Methods for Relating Individual Differences to Event-Related Potential Components.​”

Janet Werker. Photo: ubc

The Peter Jusczyk Lecture Series (Thursday, 3pm, Room 5260, Life Sciences Centre) — Janet Werker, from the University of British Columbia, will speak.

In the harbour

5am: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
6am: Morning Christina, car carrier, moves from Pier 27 to Autoport
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
9:15am: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,446 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John
9:30am: Insignia, cruise ship with up to 800 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Bar Harbor
3pm: Augusta Mars, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from sea
4pm: Morning Christina, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
4:14pm: Em Spetses, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Montreal
6:30pm: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Baltimore
9:30pm: Em Spetses, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
10pm: Insignia, cruise ship, sails from Pier 23 for St. George, Bermuda


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. I have not commented here in months, and cannot believe I’m doing so now to quibble with a point of Catholic doctrine. I hemmed and hawed over my Catholic faith for years and finally left the church for good when my bishop got convicted of possession of child porn.

    So, don’t mistake my comments as indicating i give a rat’s ass about Catholic doctrine. But I feel obligated to point out the following:

    That wine is not a metaphor, Tim. That bread and wine in the Mass do not represent the body and blood of Christ. They ARE, LITERALLY the body and blood of Christ.


    1. Fair enough. I spent 12 years in Catholic school so kind of knew that, but I guess I always viewed it as metaphor. Anyway, the point is that, unlike people who use peyote and LSD as sacraments, Catholics don’t think that drunkenness is the point.

      1. I get that. It’s just that, honestly, things like the doctrine of transubstantiation were all that kept me in the church for a long time. So I guess I’m probably overly aware of the issue.

  2. Funny how a product deemed so dangerous and evil that it could only be trusted to government-run liquor stores is now being branded with words like “unwind” and “enhance” in those very same government-run liquor stores.

  3. too much cannabis
    activists buy own bs
    eat potato chips

    my comments were long
    now Japanese poems only
    I get back to work

  4. So in Nova Scotia you are going to have to line up and ask at a counter for a clerk to get your cannabis for you? That’s what the photo looks like. I remember when there were still a few liquor stores like that. You had to fill out a little piece of paper and hand it to the clerk who went out back and got what you ordered. No chance to browse.

      1. Was also how Brewer’s Retail, now the Beer Store, operated for years in Ontario. No little piece of paper, but you had to ask a person at the counter to go out back for your beer and it would come rolling down a roller line by the cash. Otherwise people might go and, you know, look at and touch the product before buying anything. Sinful things mustn’t be normalized, I suppose the thinking was. And so thus it will be with cannabis in NS. I don’t know what they are going to do here in NB with the stand-alone stores, but have put in an inquiry.