1. $750

Premier Stephen McNeil. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil bristled Thursday under NDP questioning about a Liberal fundraising club that will hold an event this weekend at the governing party’s annual general meeting,” reports the Canadian Press:

During the legislature’s question period, NDP Leader Gary Burrill asked McNeil whether paying the $750 yearly fee to attend the Angus L. Club amounts to cash for access.

Burrill said the Liberals should be aware that questions have surrounded federal Liberal fundraisers and that perhaps changes should be made to avoid any potential appearance of gaining influence at “exclusive events.”

McNeil told the legislature there was no danger of that happening in Nova Scotia because of strict rules around political donations.

“I don’t know anybody in this house who is willing to sell their dignity for 750 bucks,” the premier shot back.

I dunno. How much do they really think they can get for that tattered and bruised dignity? It ain’t exactly a sellers’ market.

2. IWK defendants

Lindsey Hubley and her child. Photo: Facebook

Yesterday, I noted that Wagners law firm had filed a lawsuit against the IWK and five doctors on behalf of Lindsey Hubley, a woman who had contracted flesh-eating disease and had each of her four limbs amputated after giving birth at the hospital. Those doctors are:

Scott Mawdsley, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology who practices in Dartmouth;
Angus Murray, a senior resident in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the IWK;
Kaitlin Adare, a resident in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the IWK;
Angela Poirer, a general practitioner at the Atlantic Medical Clinic on Mumford Road;
Gilda Bowdridge, a general practitioner at 307-5880 Spring Garden Road

3. Convention centre

The Grafton Street Glory Hole. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Events East (which is the rebranded Trade Centre Limited) and the city held a press conference to announce, er, something about local food — honestly, I can’t make heads or tails out of it.

There are a half dozen public spaces within two blocks of the convention centre, including the existing convention centre and City Hall, but for some reason the presser was held at the privately owned Stubborn Goat, perhaps because Goat owner Joe McGuinness is buds with Nova Centre developer Joe Ramia (who wasn’t at the presser, but still). McGuinness also owns Durty Nelly’s; back in 2013, McGuinness was barred for a year from drinking in his own bar after the bar was fined for serving underage patrons. But bygones, I guess: if you’re in the connected group, all sins are forgiven.

Anyway, I didn’t go to the presser, but both Metro and the CBC report that Events East CEO Carrie Cussons — did I mention that Cussons didn’t have to apply for the job, which was never advertised in any event? — said 30 national and international conventions have been booked. I’m presuming that means for next year, and does not include following years, but who knows, really? (Why doesn’t Events East simply announce what conventions are coming when, like on a publicly accessible web site?) If just 30 international and national conventions are booked over multiple years, then the thing is already a flaming failure.

But let’s presume those 30 international and national conventions are for next year alone. Is it rude to point out that the old Trade Centre Limited projected 31 such conventions were to be held the first year of operations of the new convention centre?

Even I don’t think one missing convention is a big deal. What matters isn’t the number of conventions so much as the expected delegate count, which Cussons didn’t provide (or if she did, it wasn’t reported).

I’ve said all along that the first few years of the convention centre will probably meet anticipated targets, as there’s the lure of a shiny new convention centre for event planners to book. We’ll really understand the viability of the thing from Year 4 out — for which TCL gave absurd projections.

4. Icarus report

An RCMP press release:

Halifax District RCMP would like to speak with the operator of a drone that was in the vicinity of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport property. 

Just after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, RCMP responded to a complaint that a pilot had observed a drone outside of the airport property while taking off from the airport’s secondary runway. Upon arrival, RCMP observed the drone flying in the in the vicinity of the airport. Extensive patrols were made, however, the drone and the operator were not located. 

RCMP cannot stress enough the dangers involved with such actions. “Not only are you potentially jeopardizing the safety of all passengers and crew on flights, you are breaking the law,” says S/Sgt. Anthony Pompeo, Watch Commander – Halifax District RCMP. 

The drone report hasn’t yet shown up on Transport Canada’s incident list. But since we’re at it, here’s other stuff that has happened at Stanfield International recently:

• On September 27, Air Canada Flight 616 from Toronto to Halifax declared an emergency due to “significant amount of smoke” in the cabin. The smoke was coming from a galley oven, and the crew sensibly cut power to the galley. Firetrucks lined the runway and prayers were uttered, but all ended well.

• On October 1, soon after Jazz Air Flight 8637 from Halifax to Ottawa took off, a cabin crew member “noted an unusual noise coming from the rear of the aircraft,” which upon investigation turned out to be an issue with pressurization. The flight returned to Halifax, where it was discovered that the seal to the plane’s cargo door was damaged.


1. Ethical arms

I’ve created a Venn diagram to explain the uproar in response to the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline:



No public meetings.


Legislature sits (Friday, 9am, Province House)

On campus


Obesity Management in 2017 (Friday, 9am, Auditorium, QEII health Sciences Centre) — a conference focusing on the education of obesity as a disease and its management. Fee: $25, RSVP

Decolonizing Feminism: From Reproductive Abuse to Reproductive Justice (Friday, 12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Karen Stote from Wilfrid Laurier University will speak.

Industrial R&D (Friday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Doug MacLaren from Imperial Oil will speak on “Insights on a Career in Industrial Research and Design – Lessons Learned at Dalhousie.”

Slavery (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Jared Hardesty, from Western Washington University, will speak on “Empire of Slavery: Bound Labor and the Making of the British Atlantic, 1689-1775.”

Violin Masterclass (Friday, 4:30pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Giora Schmidt will perform.

In the harbour

5am: Brevik Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
6:45am: Seven Seas Mariner, cruise ship with up to 779 passengers, arrives at Pier 31 from Sydney
7am: Pearl Mist, cruise ship with up to 216 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Bar Harbor
7:30am: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,580 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John
10:45am: Brevik Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
11am: Malleco, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11:15am: AIDAdiva, cruise ship with up to 2,050 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Portland
2pm: CSL Tacoma, bulker, moves from Bedford Basin anchorage to National Gypsum
3:30pm: Pearl Mist, cruise ship, sails from Pier 23 for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
4:30pm: Seven Seas Mariner, cruise ship, sails from Pier 31 for Bar Harbor
6:30pm: Algoma Mariner, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
6:30pm: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Boston
7pm: Atlantic Sun, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
8:30pm: AIDAdiva, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Quebec
11pm: Malleco, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Sorry for the short Morning File. I’ve got a piece from Jennifer Henderson to publish this morning, and then the Examineradio podcast this afternoon.

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

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  1. It is not that people do not taking voting or elections seriously, or they don’t care, neither was the case in the last American election nor here in our last election. In both I know being disenfranchised was a part of the reason for not voting, but mostly the reason that the large minority of people (almost half) did not vote in either election was that the electorate looked at the choices they had, could not sanction either of the two choices that would get into power, and so walked away, giving neither their blessing. That is an active choice, and it is one that should be counted. Personally, I think if those that didn’t vote were counted as a rejection of the options posed, then what should happen is that the candidates rejected should step down and others be put forth instead. Those candidates, their agendas, or both do not appeal to the voters and should not be forced onto them – voters deserve the best representing them, not just someone maybe not as bad as another, both from the bottom of the barrel in those voters eyes. Their rejection should mean other options come to the fore, better people that the voters can believe in. Then again, I think that if the candidates who are elected do not represent their voters, but only their own concerns, there should be a method to eject them from their positions and elect another who will. I don’t think anyone should be forced to vote or else they will be fined, that is very undemocratic. It’s lovely that Australia has a 90% voting rate, but what does that really indicate, people forced into an action against their will, and maybe against their conscience. How many ballots are spoiled there, I’d like to know (percentage of) and also how many people voted for those they didn’t believe in, because they were forced to, and they gave their yeah to someone that did not deserve it, they didn’t believe in and if they had an active choice, would not want in power? (has anyone done an analysis on this?) We as people should ask for more, it’s our right to be represented to the highest level that can be attained in society, we deserve it.

  2. Stephen McNeil and his Liberal government have no moral authority to govern and Premier McNeil knows it. Election night was a squeaker, an election in which only 53.88% of eligible electorate voted in a skewed power-allocating system. That fact cannot and must not be forgotten, as much as McNeil and his regime would wish it. Yes, he’s legally and procedurally ensconced, but when 46.12% of your electorate deign to even cast a vote, something is radically wrong within the population. He can bristle, brood, exude his characteristic defensive arrogance with colourless haughty personality, but the inescapable fact is he occupies power on a base of sand. He has declared war on workers, stripping them of dignity and if successful, even their most effective legal labour rights. He has and continually demonstrates an ideological twinship with Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker’s contempt and hatred of organized labour. McNeil and his government have wrought untold damage to the Liberal party of Nova Scotia and most indelibly, to its traditional principles. His time, his ilk, cannot pass quickly enough. Given his proven ruthless, duplicitous governing style, close and constant policy monitoring are essential.

    1. It’s a problem everywhere – the 2016 US presidential election, for all the sound and fury that surrounded it, only got a 54% turnout.

      Of course, both systems disenfranchise many voters who then don’t bother to vote – if you wanted Clinton and lived in Montana or Trump and lived in California, why bother?

      I’ve voted in every election I’ve been eligible to vote in, but have never voted for anyone except the green party because I’ve never lived in a federal or provincial riding that wasn’t a safe riding for one party or another.

      1. It’s not a problem in Australia where a typical voter turnout is around 90%.

        That’s because down under voting in Federal and State elections is compulsory, backed up with a fine if you don’t have a good (e.g. medical) excuse. Actually, it’s not really voting that’s compulsory so much as going to a polling office, voting for all candidates in order of tour preference, and being marked off as having voted on the electoral roll. Many Aussies choose to express their views by scrawling obscenities on the ballot, which is then ignored.

        Compulsory voting here would see more people taking a moment to think before they vote. Young people who tend not to vote would have to. In my experience they have not yet been contaminated with the corrosive cynicism of older voters, and are likely to take their civic duty seriously. Such a big voting bloc could no longer be ignored, and all parties would have to offer policies to attract their electoral interest. Maybe issues like the high cost of university tuition, daycare or first home buyer support might actually see more than lip service?

        While there are folks here who would see being forced to exercise the one small duty asked of them to support Canadian or Nova Scotia democracy as being,…well…undemocratic, bear in mind that Australians who live under this system have repeatedly been strongly supportive of compulsory voting when surveyed.

        Frankly, something is seriously wrong when half the electorate chooses not to vote. Canadians have died trying to preserve our right to do this.

        1. I’m not so sure the Australian system really works – like you say people will sometimes just scrawl obscenities on the ballot – and as you say, these cases are ignored. It seems to me like the high voter turnout the fine (which is a small fine that most could afford to pay out of laziness or protest) creates is a little bit of a Potemkin village type act.

          If I got to make a change to the Charter, I would stipulate that all federal, provincial and municipal elections feature a ‘none of the above’ option on the ballot, and that the number of ‘none of the above’ votes is to be made public.

          Regarding democracy, well, it’s rule by the party gatekeepers and people who can buy media companies. It’s of course possible for insurgent parties – defecting elites in Turchin’s ‘elite overproduction’ concept – to stage peaceful coups via the ballot box, however.

  3. I think that Venn diagram is a little unfair – there are lots of people who don’t think those countries should have our money or our weapons. If you wanted to sell electrification, public transit, etc, you’d win a lot of hearts and minds across the political spectrum by pointing out that using less oil is the first step towards the end of Saudi power.

    Regarding cash for access, well, we’re a cash-for-access country – it’s at least consistent.