On campus
In the harbour


1. Fish farms

Photo: Blair Davis via
Photo: Blair Davis via

Rainbow Trout, fresh water fish typically found on the west coast, are in Shelburne Harbour, reports Moira Donovan for the CBC:

Aquaculture company Ocean Trout Farms Inc. operates pens of rainbow trout and salmon in Shelburne Harbour, as does Kelly Cove Salmon, a division of Cooke Aquaculture.

Nova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller said that it couldn’t be confirmed whether the fish had escaped from local fish farms.

“Their nets don’t seem to be compromised, everything seems to be fine, but we’re looking into the matter further.”

Yeah, a better explanation is that the trout hitchhiked to Shelburne from BC. Meanwhile, Timothy Gillespie reports in South Coast Today:

Nova Scotia MP (South Shore-St. Margarets) Bernadette Jordan has agreed to table a petition in Canada’s parliament regarding fin fish aquaculture, if the project generates 500 or more signatures. In just over two days, the petition has garnered more than 700 signatures, with 120 days left in the petition period.

The petition to the Government of Canada  opposing open-net cage aquaculture in Canadian waters was filed by Ron Neufeld and his wife Kathaleen from Sable River, NS and has generated support from all provinces and the Yukon.

In part, the petition states that growing Atlantic salmon in open-net cages in Canadian waters has “serious consequences”; that adding antibiotics to fish feed which is then sprayed directly into the ocean is reckless and dangerous; that rapid development of antibiotic resistant bacteria has detrimental effects on human health; that pesticides released into the ocean to kill sea lice on salmon are killing lobsters, that detailed studies on the effects of pesticides on the environment need to be done before allowing their use in our oceans. Without such studies, says the petition, fish farmers “are using a food source, the environment and consumers in an industrial experiment.”


Most of the industrial salmon farms in the Atlantic region are operated by New Brunswick-based multinational Cooke Aquaculture, whose massive fish farms in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Chile have had recurrent outbreaks of superchill, sea lice and deadly infectious salmon anemia, resulting in the forced slaughter of millions of market-ready salmon.

Most recently, Cooke announced the abandonment of highly-touted plans to construct a large salmon processing plant in Shelburne, NS as part of a $25 million loan and grant arrangement with the Nova Scotia government. Premier Stephen McNeil is on record as demanding the return of any of the $18 million granted to Cooke to date, which is connected to their failure to honour the 2012 contract terms.

The petition, which is still open for signatures, is found here.

2. Police chase

I don’t usually post stuff like this, but it’s a slow news day and this email from police to reporters this morning is unusually detailed and surprisingly grammatical:

At approximately 4:20 am Halifax Regional Police responded to a report that a white SUV was driving and damaging property near the Wave on the Halifax Waterfront.  Officers located a white SUV in the area of Gottingen St and Buddy Daye St. The SUV fled from police the wrong way on Creighton St and then the wrong way on Charles and Maynard Streets. As this was a residential area HRP did not pursue the vehicle. Witnesses in the area provided police with the location of vehicle at various locations. A tire tread was located by police in the area of Bayers Rd and Mic Mac St and the same SUV was located, stopped on the side of the road, in the area of Huron St and Mic Mac St. Officers approached the vehicle and directed the driver to exit the vehicle, at that time the driver sped toward the officers attempting to strike them. The officers were able to jump out of the way of the vehicle which drove toward another police vehicle, before fleeing toward Bayers Rd. The SUV travelled outbound on Hwy 102 and then onto the Hwy 103 exit. Officers lost sight of the vehicle and discontinued the pursuit. The SUV turned around and travelled outbound again on the same exit toward Hwy 102 where it attempted to strike another police vehicle. The vehicle then exited Hwy 102 near the Lacewood Dr exit and then travelled onto the Hwy 102 Northbound in the Southbound lane with no lights on. Police were concerned for the safety of the public who may not see the vehicle travelling, in the dark, in the wrong direction so they turned on their emergency equipment to warn the public and pursue the vehicle. The vehicle came to a stop near the Hammonds Plains exit and the driver fled from the vehicle where he was pursued on foot by officers and arrested. A 28-year-old male passenger in the SUV was also arrested at the scene. Two officers received minor injuries during the incident. One was treated and released at the scene by EHS paramedics and the other is currently being treated at hospital for non-life threatening injuries.  The 30-year-old man, who was the driver, received non-life threatening injuries during the incident and was treated at hospital. The investigation is continuing and a decision on which charges will be laid will be made later today.

3. Indigenous economy

All economic impact reports should be taken with a grain of salt — methodically, they’re a mess, but more importantly, they skew our value systems.

It drives me a bit up the wall, for example, when well-meaning people argue for increased spending on arts because supposedly arts generate eleventy billion dollars in economic spinoff. No! I want to scream, that’s not why we value arts! We value arts because they can give insight into the human condition, broaden our horizons, give us momentary respite from this vale of tears, and just maybe make us better people. I know that arts supporters argue “economic impact” because that’s what’s valued in our society, but that’s exactly the problem — our societal values are perverse. Worse still, once we reduce arts to their economic impact, we’ll necessarily be overridden with horrible, non-challenging, banal schlock. Oh, too late.

Similarly, whole communities shouldn’t be reduced to their economies. Communities are so much more than the commerce they generate. Communities have histories, cultures, arts, and collective wisdoms and insights. They are foremost people, in all their wonderful complexity, comedy, and tragedy.

All of which is to say, I understand why Indigenous people take up the language of imperialism, but I don’t like it. Reports Maureen Googoo:

A new study released Wednesday shows the Indigenous economy in Atlantic Canada contributes approximately the same amount of money as other major projects in the region such as the Irving Shipbuilding.

According to the study released by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs, Indigenous communities, businesses and organizations contribute approximately $1.14-billion annually to the overall Atlantic economy.


The study, which was conducted by Group ATN Consulting for the Atlantic Policy Congress, shows that spending by Indigenous people, First Nations, communities, organizations and businesses creates more than 16,000 jobs, contributes $184.5-million in total tax revenue and generates $710.9-million in household income in the region.

“Comparatively speaking, the annual spending by the Atlantic Indigenous Economy is on par with the annualized spending of virtually any major project being discussed in Atlantic Canada in recent years,” the study states.

Those other projects in comparison include Irving Shipbuilding, the Labrador-Island Link, the Maritime Link and Shell’s off-shore exploration drilling.


1. Tupper building

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald takes a look at the Sir Charles Tupper building on the Dalhousie campus, noting:

The opening in 1967 was a big deal with the Queen Mother and Prime Minister Lester Pearson in attendance. At fifteen storeys it was the first TALL building in Halifax.

For many decades I had not paid any attention to the Tupper. Then a few springs ago I walked by on a bright spring morning and marveled at the precision and  elegance of the precast concrete panels that cover the tower. Notice the subtle variations in colour and texture and the crispness of the window openings.


Last year the Jane’s Walk I led started at the Tupper Building and many of the folks attending had never visited the plaza and were shocked at its beautiful proportions. They would immediately have voted it the best “Halifax public space hiding in plain sight for 50 years.” What a charming event venue it could be with the trees all lit up and big projections on to the side of the tower.

I think the plaza was built around a line of existing trees. On a side note I dream of a time when we can move beyond picnic benches and Adirondack chairs in sophisticated urban landscapes.

I dunno. I cut through the plaza every week when I’m walking back from recording Examineradio, and there’s never anyone there. I think people find the concrete off-putting; if you’re going to lounge about, why not walk two blocks over to the Public Gardens? And every now and then I stop by the medical library (it was temporarily moved over to Chapter House, but is coming back to Tupper in the fall), and find the space deadening.

I think the Tupper building is a great example of architects going off on some design tangent that we’re all supposed to like because architects have superior aesthetic sense or whatever, but if only someone would speak up and say the architects aren’t wearing any clothes, we’d all finally see the naked truth. See also MacKay-Lyon’s spirit-crushing, wall-o’-death Gottingen Street facade.

2. Daily News


Ron Foley Macdonald recalls writing for the Daily News, “back in the halcyon days when the capital of Nova Scotia was a lively two-newspaper town”:

For a paper that represented Atlantic Canada’s largest city and self-proclaimed cultural center, the Daily News had a particularly vibrant arts section that initially put the Herald‘s stodgy reportage to shame. 


The Daily News made Halifax a better place. It also made the Chronicle Herald a better paper. Watching the Herald’s current bitter labour dispute linger reminds us all how fragile the mainstream media has become in an age when the internet was allegedly going to make media available to everyone.

The lack of arts and culture writing and coverage these days in Halifax is especially startling, and more than a bit depressing. Finding decent theatre reviews or anything more than puff pieces when it comes to music is virtually impossible. And while the media scene is constantly changing, there has been nothing to compare with the coverage Halifax received from the Daily News and the Chronicle Herald in those heady days of the 1990s. 

It was the best of times.

3. Panhandlers

“Panhandlers on Spring Garden Road need to take their panhandling elsewhere, say two city councillors,” notes Matt Brand:

“Perhaps, along with moving power lines underground, we could do the same with panhandlers,” suggested [councillor Steve] Adams, who provided his own renderings for the Spring Garden Road project, shown here:


Deputy mayor Matt Whitman thanked Adams for addressing the issue in council.

“I’d like to thank councillor Adams for addressing the elephant in the room,” said Whitman, who added, “I say ‘elephant in the room’ because I hesitate to refer to panhandlers as human beings.”

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

I am a 53-year old woman from Istanbul, Turkey and have been living in Sydney for six months

I found an amazing opportunity to learn how to skate for the very first time.

It was a little hard at first. I fell a couple of times, but I got back up, brushed it off and went back at it. Practice makes perfect.

Trying to find balance with music and rhythm was a challenge so I stayed focused and I was able to live in the moment, really enjoying my skating.

Now I am literally in love with ice skating. Mostly I want to keep skating as long as possible. It brings integrity to the body, peace to the mind and delight from the heart.

It improves your balance and co-ordination, is a great year-round activity to keep you active and fit and healthy for ages and abilities.

I found it one of the most fun ways to exercise with family and friends. I became friends with wonderful people whom I met at the rink. I feel great when I am ice skating with my new friends and it provides all these benefits for only $4. I am thankful to the Canada Games Complex at Cape Breton University and Centre 200.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish this tradition of this beautiful country would continue forever.

I would be very upset if the Canada Games Complex at CBU closes. It would be a great loss.

Ümran Büge, Sydney (Originally from Istanbul)


The Government and On Campus sections are compiled by Kathleen Munro.

No public meetings.

On Campus

How Small, How Far Away (8pm, Studio One, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — The second performance of the play written by Mike Geither and Zuppa Theatre Company:

It is the second week of summer 2010 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. On Monday, a military translator returns home from Afghanistan to news of a family crisis. On Friday, his sister will host a surprise welcome-home party. In the meantime, ordinary life happens: he revisits old haunts, catches up with his best friend, meets a schoolteacher from Texas and thinks about buying a shirt. Created with Cleveland-based playwright Mike Geither, How Small, How Far Away is about the simple, vital human connections that make up our day-to-day.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Friday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Friday. Map:

645am: Reykjfoss, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Argentia, Newfoundland
7:20am: Dinkeldiep, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Saint-Pierre
11am: Reykjfoss, cargo ship, sails from Pier 41 to sea
1pm: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from National Gypsum to sea
4:30pm: Dinkeldiep, cargo ship, sails from Pier 42 for Saint-Pierre
5pm: Oceanex Connaigra, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s


Off to record Examineradio.

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

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  1. Tim’s sentiment about the arts community’s (and the indigenous community’s) willingness to adopt—either carelessly or cynically—the shallow language and justifications of ‘economic development’ and ‘growth’ are spot on. From MLAs to my arts sector colleagues, I have too frequently encountered the a gutless line of caution: you’re never going to get anywhere in discussions with the provincial government if you insist on talking about the ‘soft’ cultural returns, the inherent social benefits of public investment in the arts (or anything else, for that matter). Better to give your argument for the arts sector sector an Ivany spin and cook up some numbers that show how the jobs and dollars would roll in if only the government would provide some investment or incentive.

    I think that if we simply accept the government’s line of talk about the imperative of economic growth and make everything over into that shape, we will lose our ability to recognize and speak the real shape of the truth about our communities. To make real change, we must be bold enough to reclaim the public discourse and assert to our elected representatives that the government’s role in our community is in fact only peripherally an economic one; that they should broaden their method of measuring value and effectiveness.

    If a forest is reducible to a per board foot value and a certain number of jobs, it is easy to ignore the true nature of our relationship with the forest and our responsibility for it—and therefore it becomes easy to over harvest and misuse it. Similarly, if films or literature or fine arts are simply reduced to a subclass of economic activity that attracts tourists, creates a few jobs, and produces an exportable product, we won’t be long doing similar damage to the cultural ecosystem.

    No one would argue that economics should be ignored; all artists are, like other humans, by necessity economists. But the present use of economics as the major framework by our government shapes policy is problematic, because it gradually numbs decision makers to many other valuable areas of consideration. The cult of ‘growth’ (and its dubious hanger-on, ‘innovation’) in NS needs to be openly questioned. And the privileging of the balance sheet over more complex measures of societal balance—the kind of balance that fosters sustainable community health and well-being rather than mere spikes in economic activity—needs to be called out.

    We start, perhaps, by reclaiming the fortified territory of Economics. Economics is at heart nothing more complex that the struggle to responsibly allocate finite resources; we all do this all the time. It is not really a specialty and not a proprietary tool of Big Business or government. The community must wrestle this word away from those who have reduced its meaning, and the meaning of just about everything, to a commodity.

    Thanks for raising this issue.

  2. Anecdote. I was a student with summer job downtown Halifax 1967, walking home to South end when a small official entourage passed me on an otherwise deserted street. Queen Mother waved to me. I’ve been collecting royal sightings since age four in Kenya 1952. This one was an unexpected pleasure!

  3. Great comment about the value of the Arts. And about so much of life that economic accounting doesn’t capture. It has seemed to me the arguments about the Film Tax Credit repeatedly emphasized economics with too little talk about it’s broader value. I regularly fall into that trap too but it’s important to point out the larger picture every chance we get.

    I also get why the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs did their report – it’s an eye opener that I think adds to our understanding of the value of First Nations rather than reducing their value to economics alone.

    A beautiful, eloquent letter about skating, which I also love.

  4. RE Tupper Building: To read “architects aren’t wearing any clothes” and a mention of Brian MacKay Lyons in the same sentence is immensely gratifying. I have maintained for years that his only talent is self promotion. He lobbied relentlessly in a most public way for the Central Library building and all residents of Halifax should be grateful that the decision makers had the good sense not to use his services. The defining characteristic of his body of work can be summed up in one word – arrogance.

  5. Re police communications which are surprisingly grammatical…

    You might be interested in this from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary –

    The advertisement says in part:

    “We are looking for first-class writers with significant experience in producing succinct and engaging copy (either from scratch, or by editing documents prepared by our inspection staff), to help us in this important work.

    They may be professional writers, perhaps recently retired journalists or authors. Or they may be from other professional backgrounds in which writing well is highly valued and always required. They will have both a strong discipline of thought and analysis, and a great pride in the clarity, rhythm, simplicity and elegance of what they write. They should enjoy producing well-crafted, persuasive material which others may take pleasure in reading.”

    At least some police forces take the English language seriously.

  6. I love you Ümran Büge, Sydney (Originally from Istanbul)
    Maggie, Halifax (Originally from Scotland)

  7. There’s a ferocious wind tunnel on College street due to Tupper’s height that makes me avoid it like the plague. The big space out front is nice but, like you said, completely empty.

  8. Good to see that the Parliament of Canada permits the tabling of petitions signed on-line. Recently close to 30,000 signatures were attached to a petition urging the Government of Nova Scotia to ban biomass harvesting for electrical generation. The rules of our Legislature require that tabled petitions have genuine signatures on real paper, so it cannot be tabled there.

    Nineteenth-century rules provide our politicians with a great way to remain ignorant of public opinion.

  9. The comment about panhandlers and poverty is not 100 per cent accurate. This is only in part about poverty. There is a clan of panhandlers working the street who treat it as their job. They are organized with a leader and drive full sized trucks, equipped with iPhones. Does not smack of poverty bu the exploitation of the good-heartedness of Haligonians who DO want to help someone out.

    Others are mentally ill persons who have been released from one or another supervised living arrangement.

    then there are the youth who come in from the ‘burbs looking for dope and cig money.

    Very few are truly needy.

    Nevertheless I refuse to use Spring Garden Road anymore for banking, shopping or dining. Between the smokers and the panhandlers it is not a very pleasant neighbourhood anymore.

    1. It would be nice if we had enough of a safety net for the truly poor that it was morally possible to outlaw panhandling. I agree that most of the SGR panhandlers do it for a living – I walked up and down SGR every day for about four years and it was always the same characters for stretches of several months.

      It seems to me like trying to save SGR is a bit of a lost cause at this point – in addition to the dive bars, it is also a major vehicle and bus traffic route due to the breaks in the street grid north and south of it. It is a shame that condo development was allowed to encroach so close on the parallel streets – they would be good places to have car and bus free streets. Maybe making it a HOV/delivery lane only from the Halifax Gardens to Barrington and widening the sidewalk so that there is more room to avoid the crowds of people waiting for the bus during the day or hanging out in front of the various fine establishments at night.

        1. Tim: Ha! I’ve used that old saw over the years when talking about restaurants, but slightly differently: No one goes to that restaurant anymore–it’s too popular.

          1. What are the chances that you two *and* Yogi Berra independently invented the same quote?

    2. “Very few are truly needy.”

      You say this as an expert in mental health, poverty, housing, addiction, and food security, I’m sure. You can kindly keep yourself and your rotten opinions away from Spring Garden Road.

      1. Who are these people who are independently wealthy enough to afford a truck and a new cell phone, yet choose to act, all day and publicly, as if they need support from you just to eat? I mean, if this is true that’s a fascinating story which should be told.

        Since it isn’t true it won’t be though, I guess. Too bad.

  10. A white SUV sped past me on my bike on South Park St. going at least 100 kph at around 7 pm, then swerved around a car turning left like he was in Super Mario Kart or something and barely stopped at a 4-way stop. He kept going like that for 7 MORE HOURS?? (assuming it’s the same guy). I feel lucky to be alive.

  11. I feel what you’re saying about what he arts should mean, Tim. Perhaps someday, when we’re all not so choked up about money, we’ll live in a world where we can just appreciate such things in the way they’re meant to be appreciated.

    1. People treat the environment in the same way. It is not only silly because financial values leave out most of what we appreciate in the world, but also silly because wtf is a billion dollars anyway? No one really knows.

  12. Honestly, you could have just put a picture of a building from the exclusion zone around Chernobyl and called it the Tupper building and none would have been any the wiser.

      1. Or is he? Maybe the quote is fake but the attitude is real. The quest to get them off SGR, questions about how they spend their money and lumping them all in as law breaking aggressors suggests that some think of them differently than they think of themselves.