On campus
In the harbour


1. Captive whales may be coming to Nova Scotia

A still from the film Blackfish.
A still from the film Blackfish.

“An organization planning to build a $15-million sanctuary for captive whales is scouting locations in Nova Scotia,” reports Chris Lambie:

The Whale Sanctuary Project has checked out a dozen sites between Lunenberg and Guysborough that could become a home for between five and eight orcas, belugas and other cold-water cetaceans that spent their lives in the concrete tanks of theme parks and aquariums.

“We’re actually talking about a netted-off area — not a pen or a tank — of at least 65 acres along the coast,” said Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and marine mammal expert who heads the non-profit outfit.

“What we’re going to be giving them is so much more space and depth than they’ve ever had in a tank.”

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I’ve long admired reporter Chris Lambie’s work. Lambie is one of the striking Chronicle Herald reporters; since the strike started, he’s been set free a bit to explore his interests, and he’s been writing increasingly about science matters that interest me.

One of my interests is animal cognition, and so I really wanted to go to Marino’s talk yesterday, but conflicting scheduling made that impossible. Fortunately, I was able to pay Lambie to go in my stead, and he came back with an important story.

There’s a huge gap in reporting on issues at local universities, and I’d like the Examiner to be able to fill the void, at least in part. But of course that costs money. Your subscription helps make that possible.

YouTube video

2. Election


Don’t forget to vote. Polling information here.

On today’s Examineradio, which airs on CKDU 88.1 FM at 4:30pm and will be available as a podcast at about the same time, we run through each of the municipal election districts.

I may break my usual weekend writing hiatus and publish results tomorrow evening or Sunday morning.

3. Permanent residents and voting

CBC reporter Nina Corfu revisits the issue of allowing permanent residents to vote in Halifax city elections.

I was a temporary and then a permanent resident for 10 years before getting finally getting my citizenship. (And I was an easy case; getting the paperwork in line can take many years.) The most recent federal election was the first in which I cast a vote, and tomorrow will be the first time I vote in a Halifax municipal election. I’ve yet to vote in a provincial election.

Having gone through the lengthy citizenship process, I’m inclined to think that we should extend the franchise to people who are queuing up for citizenship but haven’t yet received it. If nothing else, it sends a welcoming message. People can disagree, but I think that’s at least how the debate should be framed.

Still, I pause when Corfu interviews Athanasios Tolitis, a Greek man who immigrated to Halifax a few years ago. The first words out of Tolitis’s mouth are “I pay my taxes,” implying that voting and taxing are linked. Hopefully, Tolitis means it as a simple expression of being a person who is involved in his community, in terms of both rights and responsibilities, and so good on him. But I fear that he might mean that paying taxes entitles him to a vote. Despite my “no taxation without representation” American heritage, that’s a formulation I can’t agree with. I’m afraid we have been going down this rabbit hole for some time — that by paying taxes we become customers of government, and that we have purchased a claim on services and rights. I’ve probably lost everyone by now, but I dislike this formulation; I want our relationship to government to be one of involvement and responsibility, as community members with shared purpose. In that sense, I think citizenship matters, whether we have the piece of paper or not.

4. Province House

Photo: Halifax Examiner
Photo: Halifax Examiner

About 100 protesters welcomed MLAs to Province House yesterday, the first day of the fall seating of the legislature, reports Robert Devet:

Protesters talked about Alton Gas, Harrietsfield water quality issues, concerns about the the Avon River, turbines in the Bay of Fundy, the Pictou Pulp Mill, glyphosate spraying, clear cutting, offshore oil exploration, but also rising tuition fees, workers rights, and that list goes on.

Stacey Rudderham, a vocal (and victorious) opponent of the Fall River Quarry, is one of the many grassroots activists who was behind today’s rally.

“We tend to look at all these issues as segregated, and I believe that is an intentional tactic on behalf of government to prevent the true issues behind all these causes to be understood,” Rudderham told the Nova Scotia Advocate.

“Today we all come together united to show that we are all in this together and that it’s time the province starts treating citizens differently. We are tired of being ignored,” she said.


1. Fenwick Tower

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

“I generally like the concrete mega-structures of this period, but Fenwick [Tower] always felt like it was unfinished or at least under-detailed,” writes Stephen Archibald:

It is startling how the tower was injected into the streetscape of two-story Halifax boxes. Timid buttresses at the base of the tower were a strange little gesture that acknowledged the ground-hugging neighbours. The building was designed by the prominent local architecture firm Dumaresq and Byrne.

But Archibald is a fan of the rebuilding project currently underway.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

On these beautiful fall days, when we welcome the mighty cruise ships and their thousands of passengers, we are concerned that they should have a memorable visit. We think they will not find us exciting enough, and that they are looking for something more to see and do than we are offering them.

And yet they come. Perhaps we shouldn’t worry so much about them.

Last year we took a river cruise down the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. One of our memories was of an enjoyable afternoon when we wandered around the lovely town of Breisach. We remember the friendly clerk in the pharmacy who took the time to find the German equivalent of Tylenol for us, and the man in the computer store who explained that modern laptops all automatically convert to 220 volts when required.

I am sure many cruisers enjoy walking around our downtown in the same manner. We do not need to feel they have to be entertained all the time. They have plenty of that aboard ship. Just saying.

Allan McIntosh, Westmount

And the sole comment to the letter, from Marie:



No meetings scheduled.

On campus


YouTube video

Pianist (11:30am, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Canadian concert pianist Janina Fialkowska performs as part of her year-long “Birthday Celebration Tour.”

Drugs (1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Kevin Bateman will speak on “Drug Discovery and Development As Seen Through the Eyes of an Analytical Chemist.”

The Ruby Trio (2:30pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — violinist Terri Croft, cellist Amahl Arulanandam, and pianist Alex Seredenko present a chamber music masterclass.

Iranian Revolution (3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Naghmeh Sohrabi will speak on “Remembering the Palestine Group: Memory, History, and the Iranian Revolution.”

“Ghost in Translation” (3:30pm, Room 1102, Marion McCain Building) — Paolo Matteucci will give a talk for the Department of French. Being French, they’ll have wine and cheese and such afterwards.

In the harbour

5am: NYK Constellation, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
5:30am: Splendid Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Bremerhaven, Germany

Serenade of the Seas. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Serenade of the Seas. Photo: Halifax Examiner

6:45am: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John with up to 2,580 passengers
7:15am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
10:30am: AIDAdiva, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 20 from Boston with up to 2,050 passengers
11am: Valle Azzurra, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Houston
11:30am: Splendid Ace, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
4:30pm: NYK Constellation, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Southhampton, England
6:30pm: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Boston
7:30pm: AIDAdiva, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Quebec
8:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s



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

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  1. I don’t know that paying taxes make people think they are customers of government. We aren’t buying representation. I am more inclined to think when people say that ‘they pay their taxes’, they are actually saying that they contribute to social pot of money, therefore they should have a say in how it’s spent through representation. I agree with you on the toxicity of citizens thinking they are customers, but I would hope most tax payers are savvy enough to think of taxes as contributing to the common good. On the flip side though, I think most people regard campaign contributions as buying representation of special interests…

    1. You raise an interesting point. Many of those councillors who argued explicitly that “tax reform” should end with a fee for services systems — you pay taxes for only the services that you personally receive — are ALSO the councillors who say that campaign contributions don’t buy votes. Kind of hard to have it both ways.

  2. I hope everyone gets out to vote, and encourage everyone who hasn’t done so yet to get out and cast their ballot.

    That said, given that the race for the position of Mayor has not garnered significant interest, my prediction for turnout is 33%, down from 37% in 2012.

    I hope I am proven wrong.

    1. It has never been easier to vote – on-line, on the phone, advance polls, and in person.
      I am expecting a little higher voter turnout at about 35%. Still down.
      Prove us wrong Halifax Regional Municipality!

  3. The argument against allowing permanent residents to vote rings hollow when 6 in 10 who have the right don’t bother to exercise it.

  4. “The Vuze’?? What’s that? (Reminds me of Vuzz, the character from the short-lived ‘Heavy Metal’.)

  5. Citizenship not taxes is the key to true democracy.

    As citizens we are empowered and enlightened. We demand our elected represetatives be accountable to and for ALL citizens.

    Business interests and players like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation have been able to take us down the rabbit hole of sheer economics.

    Despite outward appearances we don’t buy our citizenship. We earn it through engagement and knowledge and the belief that the government is us on an existential not transactional level.

    Democracy is a great idea now let’s all vote.

    1. Why would I identify with our present government (or the last one)?

      Muzzling scientists, selling resources off cheaply to the Americans and Chinese, bill C-51, now bill C-16, citizenship-for dollars (or sympathy points)?

      It’s only going to get worse.

      I can only look at the present trends, and see a government that is going to take more of my money, and more importantly, my rights away in favour of special interest groups, monopolists and foreign governments.

      Why would I identify with a government whose authority increasingly rests on the legal system and the implied threat of violence?

      1. This may sound absurd given the present state of presidential politics in the U.s. but come election time it’s good to read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

        Inspirational yet sad to see how far we and our politics have fallen.

  6. On the matter of permanent residents having the right to vote:
    Many if not most of the permanent residents who live in Halifax Regional Municipality contribute as fully to the community as any other resident therefore should be allowed to vote. The right to vote here leaves when you leave, and conversely should be given when you establish residence here, no matter what citizenship you hold as long as you are a legal permanent resident.
    There has been some media comment that the only thing Citizenship gives you that you cant get as a permanent resident is the right to vote. That is not true. I don’t think allowing permanent residents to vote will affect the numbers of people seeking Citizenship at all.