1. Northern Pulp Mill

Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“A permanent injunction has been granted preventing fishermen from blocking survey vessels from carrying out work for a contentious treated waste pipeline into the Northumberland Strait,” reports the Canadian Press:

Justice Josh Arnold approved the injunction Tuesday after Northern Pulp and the fishermen agreed to a consent order last week. The Nova Scotia Supreme Court had granted the Pictou County mill a temporary injunction in December.

The injunction permanently restrains the fishermen, anyone acting on their behalf and anyone having knowledge of the order, from directly or indirectly “obstructing, impairing or interfering” with the rights of navigation for Northern Pulp or its contractors.

It prohibits interference in the waters of Pictou Harbour, Caribou Channel and the Northumberland Strait, “and any proposed route of the effluent pipe and any proposed diffuser location by means of vessel blockades or similar activities.”

Also prohibited are any efforts to interfere with efforts to conduct geotechnical and videographic surveys in the same locations.

The order also dismisses Northern Pulp’s claims for damages “without costs for or against any party.”

2. Council meeting

Photo: Halifax Examiner

I was unexpectedly pulled away on other business yesterday (I’ll explain soon), so couldn’t make the meeting of Halifax council. So, here’s a recap from other reporters:

Spring Garden Road/Robie Street developments

This pretty picture shows the Rouvalis family’s proposed development with parking meter- and telephone wire-free streets, a carless Robie Street, and, notably, the absence of the gigantic development right next door.
This pretty picture shows the Rouvalis family’s proposed development with parking meter- and telephone wire-free streets, a carless Robie Street, and, notably, the absence of the gigantic development right next door.

My backgrounder here.

“A pair of controversial development proposals for the corner of Spring Garden Road and Robie Street in Halifax has cleared a hurdle,” reports Pam Berman for the CBC:

Halifax regional council has unanimously approved the heritage aspect of the two separate tower projects for the city block.

Dexel Developments and developer Peter Rouvalis have each submitted proposals for two towers, ranging from 16 to 30 storeys.

The overall development proposals were not before council Tuesday. Instead, council approved plans to renovate some heritage buildings and relocate two others as part of the two proposals.

A dozen other buildings would be demolished to make way for complexes that would provide residential units for 1,000 people and parking for 800 cars.

Climate change emergency

Richard Zurawski. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Climate change constitutes an emergency for Halifax, and the city’s councillors have become some of the first in Canada to make such a statement,” reports Zane Woodford for StarMetro Halifax:

Regional council adopted that statement on Tuesday, voting unanimously in favour of an amended motion from Coun. Richard Zurawski designed to get the municipality moving on climate change.

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) becomes one of the first in Canada to adopt such a motion after Vancouver councillors made a similar declaration earlier this month.

“The reason for doing it is to be able to motivate provincial and federal governments to look at our situations,” Zurawski said of Halifax and Vancouver.


“Halifax regional council was looking at a motion that could introduce ride-sharing apps like Uber to the city, but a vote on the motion was deferred – but not without a debate,” reports Emily Baron Cadloff for CTV:

Coun. Matt Whitman brought the motion forward, and he thinks Halifax Regional Municipality is already behind the times when it comes to this technology.

But some people have mixed feelings about the apps — specifically, cab and limo drivers, who aren’t feeling very welcoming.

The motion was deferred until a Feb. 5  report from the transportation committee.

That report is supposed to look into public transportation in the city, but staff say it will also address what council could do if they want to go forward with apps like Uber and Lyft.

Poverty plan

Um, I don’t know what happened, but we still don’t have a living wage policy, which leads us to our next item…

Contracting out

And this was from a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to mention it here:

3. Norman case

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Photo: Canadian Navy

“Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s lawyers have released a list of elaborate codenames they claim defence officials used in an attempt to bury documents sought by the defence in relation to his breach-of-trust case,” reports Murray Brewster for the CBC:

Lawyers for the military’s former second-in-command claim that, in order to thwart document searches related to his case, defence officials have taken to using a variety of aliases in their communications. One of those codenames — ‘Kracken’ — could be a (misspelled) reference to the giant monstrous squid of legend best known to modern audiences for appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

It could also be a play on words referring to an acronym for Commander Royal Canadian Navy.  

Norman’s lawyers entered into the court record at Tuesday’s pretrial hearing in Ottawa a full list of aliases they say were used by defence officials for their client — including the substantive VCDS [Vice Chief of the Defence Staff], MN3, C34 and ‘The Boss.’ Norman’s defence team is battling with the federal government for the release of documents they claim are relevant to his defence.

Scott Brison. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

And then there’s the alleged interference by MP Scott Brison, who recently quit his cabinet position and announced he wouldn’t run for reelection so he could spend more time with his family:

[General Jonathan ] Vance was slated to testify Tuesday, but his appearance was pushed back a day as former federal cabinet minister Scott Brison’s lawyers were granted standing in the case.

Norman’s lawyers have accused Brison of political interference in the shipbuilding deal at the centre of the case.

They claim, in a court filing, he tried to kill the $668 million plan to lease a naval supply ship from the Davie shipyard, in Lévis, Que. on behalf of a rival, Irving Shipyard.

His lawyers deny any meddling.

See Mary Campbell’s backgrounder on the Norman case here.

4. Harbour death

Captain Jim. Photo: Mac MacKay

“The search for a missing crew member from a vessel that sank at the mouth of the Halifax harbour has ended Tuesday morning, after a body was recovered inside the sunken vessel,” reports Rebecca Lau for Global:

The search began at 2:15 a.m. when a distress call came in from the 12-metre vessel, which was used for diving operations. Joint Task Force Atlantic says two people were rescued by a local pilot boat, but the third person on board could not be found.

RMI Marine Limited, which is based in Eastern Passage, confirms their vessel, MV Captain Jim, was involved in the incident. In a statement, RMI says the vessel was conducting “routine commercial passenger operations” when an “ingress of water sunk the vessel.”

The company says the vessel was being piloted by a senior captain, while a deckhand and commercial passenger were on board at the time.

The deceased has not been identified by officials, but multiple Facebook posts say he was Max Hinch, a young father living in Cole Harbour.

5. Hit and run

A police release from yesterday:

At 6:00 pm Halifax Regional Police responded to the Halifax Armdale Rotary to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. Witnesses described the vehicle slowed down after striking the pedestrian but then fled the scene. The pedestrian was crossing Chebucto Road in a marked crosswalk heading northbound when he was struck by the eastbound vehicle. The vehicle fled eastbound along Chebucto Road. The pedestrian, a 34-year-old male, was thrown a distance from the crosswalk and sustained minor injuries. He was later transported to the QE II for further observation.

The suspect vehicle is described as a small bright red 2-door hatchback with a white male driver and white male front passenger. The vehicle likely sustained damages to the engine bonnet as the pedestrian made contact and rolled off.

The incident remains under investigation.

6. Museum Strategy

The city this morning issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consultants who can develop “Phase 1” of a “Museum Strategy”:

A comprehensive written report on the current state of affairs pertaining to museum models in the Municipality to identify existing gaps and redundancies in the Regional museum system; including but not limited to:

The critical examination of exhibits, collections, programs, outreach materials and websites, interpretive themes, visitor experience, visitation numbers, operational and programing budget, levels and methods of financial and in-kind support (municipal and non- municipal) in a variety of museum delivery practices in HRM.

The successful bidder is to “critically examine” the city’s own collections at the Municipal Archives, the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, police and fire department collections, as well as other collections of artifacts, to determine the “scope and size of collection, overview of material and storage capacity and curatorial focus.” As well, collections owned by museums the city supports financially will be examined.

The consultant will also conduct a statistical analysis of all museum visitation and make recommendations for how to proceed to Phase 2 of the Museum Strategy. My hope, which I acknowledge is unlikely, is that this will eventually land us a single History Museum. You can read the RFP here. Scroll down to page 14 for the particulars.

7. Digby Ferry

In the “On the Harbour” section yesterday, I noted that the ferry Fundy Rose, which is used by Bay Ferries for its Digby-Saint John run, was due to arrive at Pier 9 in Halifax, which is where it typically docks when it comes in for maintenance work. Tina Comeau, the reporter/editor for the Yarmouth Vanguard, notes that the ferry run is disrupted until Monday, February 25.

8. Hell, Let’s Talk

Phones at the Burnside Jail. Photo: Halifax Examiner

As I’ve written before:

It’s that time of year again — the time when the telephone company claims it owns mental health.

Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign has a lot wrong with it. It’s a cynical manipulation of mental health advocacy for advertising purposes, made by a corporation that has its own issues of denying benefits to workers with mental health concerns.

And since it’s only 8am and already people are DMing me and Messaging me to encourage me to give free advertising to the fucking telephone company, I think it’s appropriate to re-link to a piece El Jones wrote back in 2016, “Hell, Let’s Talk“:

If we don’t talk about how Bell makes money off mental illness and incarceration, we also aren’t talking too much about mental illness and prisons. It’s usual that corporate campaigns show the same kind of faces as spokespeople — this article that circulated on social media addressed how Bell’s corporate culture caused mental illness in its employees.




Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — discussion of the budgets for Transportation and Public Works, Halifax Transit, and Corporate and Customer Services.


Heritage Advisory Committee (Thursday, 12pm, City Hall) — Darren Burke wants to build a three-storey, 12-unit apartment building in the side yard of the Uniacke-Sawyer House, a registered historic property he owns at 5720-5722 Inglis Street. Staff is recommending approval.

Community Information Session – Aberdeen Court Park (Thursday, 6:30pm, East Dartmouth Community Centre, 50 Caledonia Road) — Aberdeen Court Park is getting a “playbox” filled “with equipment to play with your friends and family.” Evidently, people you don’t like and who aren’t related to you won’t be allowed to use the playbox, which is an interesting parks department innovation. In any event, you can show up and say what kind of toys you want in the box.

Public Information Meeting – Case 21813 (Thursday, 7pm, Eastern Passage Buffalo Club, 625 Cow Bay Road) — Arthur Rhyno wants his property on Cow Bay Road rezoned so he can build a “single unit dwelling” on it.



Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — questions about various employee pension plans.


No public meetings.

On campus



Metabolomics for the masses: Principles and Applications in Human Health(Wednesday , 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Alejandro Cohen and Devanand M. Pinto will speak.


Assessing the Trudeau Foreign Policy Record (Thursday, 11:35am, Room 270, Student Union Building) — Kim Richard Nossal from Queen’s University will speak.

(Photo)catalytic Conversion of Water and Alcohols for Selective Chemical Synthesis (Thursday, 12pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Hiroshi Naka from Nagoya University will speak.

Active Learning Workshops in Large Classes (Thursday, 2:30pm, B400, Killam Library) — Sean MacKinnon talks. Info and register here.

Statistics Colloquium (Thursday, 3:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Gary Sneddon from MSVU will speak. Title TBA.

L’Étoile (Thursday-Saturday, 7:30pm, Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — directed by David Overton, music by Emmanuel Chabrier, English version by Jeremy Sams. Sensory-friendly performance Sunday, February 3 at 2:30. Info here. Tickets here.

Profit, People, and the Planet (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Building) — Hari Balasubramanian and Matthew Schnurr will speak.



The Possibility of Gaia (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall) — a conversation with Frédéric Bouchard, Université de Montréal​; Tim Lenton, University of Exeter; Ford Doolittle and Joe Bielawski from Dalhousie University. From the listing:

James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis holds that the biosphere’s global feedbacks are products of natural selection, but traditional Darwinists say this is impossible. Recent approaches in the philosophy of evolution and results of computational modeling studies suggest that Gaia can now be integrated into Darwinian theory.

In the harbour

05:00: YM Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
05:30: Tiger, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Fawley, Great Britain
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
09:00: Star I, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Houston
09:00: Gotland Carolina, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for Sept-Iles
11:00: Augusta Mars, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for sea
15:45: YM Express sails for Rotterdam
20:30: Tiger sails for sea


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

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  1. One aspect of the proposals for massive redevelopment in the Robe SGR. area is the impact on the supply of affordable rented housing.

    Apparently the City has no estimate of the levels of affordable rent housing in HRM and does not intend to gather such data.

    Rent increases in the offing?


  2. “I love contracting out for services,” says mayor Mike Savage. “I think they’re the best value because you don’t end up bringing employees in, giving them full benefits and everything else and after the work is gone, they’re still there.”

    Wow! Talk about leadership. An absolutely fantastic way to draw more people to a city already suffering from, say, “a reputational risk” re: street checks, “suck me, boy,” Halifax Transit racism, Hoochie Mama “door decoration” at the Yarmouth NSCC campus, Black Loyalists who chose to board a ship back to Africa rather than remain in this province, the young black construction worker recently “inadvertently” power-nailed by a white co-worker, “I really didn’t mean to say that I condone Blackface,” interim college presidents.

    On the latter note, I REALLY MEAN TO SAY: “Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.”

    Cue David Bowie: “Is it any wonder …” that HALISSIPPI has FAME, FAME, FAME, FAME!

    1. Contracting out looks good on paper. I used to be a big supporter of it.

      In practice, once you get rid of or reduce your own trained staff and specialized equipment, then the contractors have you at their mercy when the service supplied is not something that can easily be shopped around for if you want to dump one and hire another.

      In the small city where I live it has happened with snow removal and paving – it has generally proved to be a false economy. At one point the management of the local arena/recreation centre management was contracted out to save money and get better service — it cost so much more with no better level of service that municipal employees were brought back in to manage it.

      There is also a transparency issue. The companies doing the work get public money, but refuse to be accountable to the public by releasing documentation for the work supplied. All you can get is a limited one-sided access from the municipality that hired them. If it were done by a municipal crew, an access request gets pretty well everything, ie, work schedules and approach taken to the work etc. I think those who get public money should be subject to access legislation, but so far they aren’t.

      it isn’t just with private companies. Municipalities and provinces who ditched their local police — there used to be a New Brunswick Provincial Police, not sure about NS – for the RCMP find themselves subject to rising costs and lack of transparency. And then, having ditched the local forces, they find themselves largely unable to reinstate them due to the outlay involved, and so are stuck having to pay more and more every year while the RCMP closes small detachments.