1. Catie Miller

Catie Miller
Catie Miller

“The man who killed Catie Miller and dismembered her body was arrested early in the police investigation because his appetite for murdering women was so strong, officers feared he would carry out his fantasies again,” reports Susan Bradley for the CBC:

Jason James Johnson was captured on wiretaps talking “about his desire to become a notorious killer” and that he “would like to kill again before he gets arrested,” according to an agreed statement of facts presented Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Johnson, 31, and his girlfriend, Kelly Amanda MacDonald, 35, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Miller’s death.


The pair were both sentenced to life in prison. Johnson must serve 20 years in prison before being eligible for parole; MacDonald must serve 16. 

In a separate article, the CBC publishes the agreed Statement of Facts presented to the court. (This article is graphic.)

2. LNG

“The fiscal case for exporting liquefied natural gas from Nova Scotia to Europe continues to decline,” reports Aaron Beswick for Local Xpress:

There are three proposed multibillion-dollar facilities proposed for near or on the Strait of Canso in northeastern Nova Scotia. The leading contender, Pieridae Energy’s proposed $8.3-billion export facility for Goldboro, Guysborough County, has a looming final investment decision by its proponents.


However analysts are more willing and they say the odds of putting any LNG export facility on Canada’s East Coast are low.

“The world LNG market it is over-supplied and prices have plummeted,” said David Hughes, president of Calgary-based consulting firm Global Sustainability and Research Inc.

It’s great to see Beswick doing this kind of reporting. Too often “business reporting” consists of simply uncritically regurgitating press releases and playing the role of cheerleader.

3. Senators

“A Halifax professor and an Indigenous leader from Cape Breton are among Canada’s nine non-partisan senators named today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,” reports Cassie Williams for the CBC:

Nova Scotia social worker and educator Wanda Thomas Bernard said she got the call just after supper Wednesday night. 


Daniel Christmas, senior adviser for the Mi’kmaq First Nation of Membertou, has also been selected.


1. Cruise ship tourism

Crystal Serenity. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Crystal Serenity. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“I’ll say it again: we need to talk about the cruise industry,” writes Mary Campbell:

We need to talk about its actual impact on our local economy, its environmental impact on our coastal waters, its questionable labor practices and its crime problem. And we have to do it right now, before we pump 20 million crisp, beautiful, multi-purpose, municipal, provincial and federal tax dollars into a second cruise berth in Sydney.

Campbell goes on to interview Ross Klein, a sociologist at Memorial University and proprietor of CruiseJunkie, a collection of everything that is wrong with the cruise industry. Klein and Campbell unpack the self-serving economic impact claims generated by industry promoters, and especially the “indirect” impact claims — “which I picture as some sort of Rube Goldberg device involving croquet mallets and helium balloons,” writes Campbell.

2. How-to


“I have a fondness for step by step instructions told with simple illustrations,” writes Stephen Archibald. And guess what? Aisle 1,348, Section R(4), Shelves 4 & 5 of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse out at Cove 17 are committed to those very same instructions:

For example, over the last 30 or 40 years I’ve paid particular attention to the little diagrams attached to fresh pineapples. Let me show you a few examples I’ve saved.

Archibald has actually documented the evolution of “how to cut a pineapple” illustrations, from “ambiguous” illustrations in the early 1980s (shown above) to “a much more engaging style” in the late 1980s, through a “too clinical” stage and onto a current-day “refined” illustrative style.

And — no kidding — Shelf 3 in Section R(4), Aisle 1,348 of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse is devoted to… chopstick packaging. And Archibald even has a how-to illustration on “How to fold a cat”:


Archibald ends the post with a “how to tie a bow tie” illustration from the 1960s, which reminds me of the 2012 Michener Awards ceremony (the ceremony was in 2013 for articles written in 2012). Stephen Maher and I were both nominees — he for the robo-call story he co-authored with Glen McGregor, me for the PK thing.

This was a black tie event at Rideau Hall. I had rented a tux in Dartmouth, but somehow the tux rental place had forgotten to package the bow tie, so the afternoon of the event I frantically rushed around Ottawa and bought a clip-on bow tie from a surly French tailor at a formal wear place. But, hey, it all worked out. I was even a bit early for the event, and loitered around the entry way of Rideau Hall, looking at portraits of imperialists as the other guests arrived in limos, each welcomed by a footman with a ridiculous fuzzy hat.

Just minutes before the witching hour, Maher pulled up in a taxi without hubcaps, a hole in the muffler. Maher was flustered and in complete disarray, his bow tie looking like a deranged poodle attacking his neck. “Do you know how to tie a bow tie?” he asked me. I did not, but I knew that my boss, Kyle Shaw, had the skill, so I connected Shaw and Maher, and the two went off to the subterranean washroom with golden fixtures (really, Rideau Hall is the shit), and after a spell the pair emerged, Maher’s tie perfectly, er, tied. A piece of art. He looked great.

And just in time, as the Governor General’s aides-de-camp and eunuchs were just then lining us up for a grand entry into the hall. We reporters were at the front of the line so that we could occupy the first row of seats. We walked in, the crowd applauded, we took our seats. A duke or viscount or some such welcomed us, and the each of the reporters was called to the stage to give a short explanation of their nominated piece. Maher was first.

Understand that not even five minutes had passed from the time Maher emerged from the subterranean washroom with the perfectly coifed bow tie to the time he took the stage. Five minutes. Three-hundred seconds. He had moved all of about 40 metres. And there he was, addressing the various dignitaries and His Excellency, the representative of the Queen herself, and the deranged poodle had returned to his neck. He was a mess. A slob. An insult to bow tie wearers everywhere. It was the damnedest thing. As Maher was explaining the intricacies of tracking down Pierre Poutine, I kept wondering, “how the hell did that poodle get back there?”

Stephen Maher, being attacked by a poodle. Photo: Michener Awards Foundation
Stephen Maher, being attacked by a poodle. Photo: Michener Awards Foundation

Maher won the Michener Award that year.

Me and the Governor General. Photo credit to Cpl Roxanne Shewchuk, Rideau Hall, OSGG
Me, three years ago when I was 20 years younger, my clip-on tie, and the Governor General. Photo: Cpl Roxanne Shewchuk, Rideau Hall, OSGG

I think I still have that clip-on tie I bought from the surly French tailor. I’ll look for it if I ever have another black-tie event.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

The moose slaughter in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is set to begin again.

Unlike nature’s natural selection of killing unhealthy animals, moose in our national park will again be killed indiscriminately on North Mountain.

Access to information requests reveal that of the 37 moose killed in the 2015 ‘harvest,’ there were nine calves, two juveniles and 26 adults which included 18 females. All of the adult females were pregnant so the dead count was even higher than the 37 quoted by Parks Canada, sadly due to at least 18 unborn babies.

What a sad state of affairs for the national park, allowing the slaughter of the very animals it is mandated to protect – calves and unborn babies among them.

According to a recent CBC news story, the Parks Canada manager of the boreal forest restoration project indicated there is no annual survey of moose in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, but that the forest is monitored regularly.

By that statement alone, it appears moose are predetermined as the only cause in the decline of the boreal forest. Where is the 15 years (according to the Parks Canada website) of scientific evidence showing that moose alone are responsible, especially when there is no annual survey of moose? How can anyone call this ‘science’ when they don’t even know what that part of the equation – the number of moose – is?

I fail to see how the success of the ‘cull’ can be determined when the number of moose isn’t known in the first place. How can 90 per cent of North Mountain moose be killed – 90 per cent of what number? Is Parks Canada deliberately not giving a number because they want to kill as many moose as possible in this year’s time frame?

Without knowing the actual number of moose in the park, and specifically in the North Mountain region, there is no way to determine when 90 per cent have been killed. Will the killing just go on and on until no moose are left?

As a taxpayer, I strongly oppose using my tax dollars to kill protected moose in a national park. Information obtained through access to information indicates that it cost Canadian taxpayers about $430,000 to kill 37 moose in the 2015 ‘cull.’ If similar costs can be expected in the next three years we could be looking at nearly $2 million.

The plan for forest regeneration includes various experiments: building fenced enclosures; tree planting; prescribed burns; reducing moose population.

For nearly half a million dollars, or as much as two million dollars if we look at the big picture, think how many kilometres of fenced enclosures could be installed. This is something already proving successful on North Mountain by keeping moose out of areas and allowing the forest to regenerate. Think how many moose could be relocated to mainland Nova Scotia or other areas of Cape Breton where they would at least have a fighting chance at life.

Now they are part of a shooting gallery in a 20-square km. killing zone on North Mountain where helicopters are used to spot moose, transport hunters and haul dead moose. It is more a slaughter than a ‘cull.’

I do not understand the reasoning of people who prefer to have moose slaughtered as a first option, rather than as a last one, especially when their own evidence shows that another option is working on North Mountain to help regenerate forest growth.

Rose Courage, Sydney



No public meetings.


Legislature sits (9am-1pm, Province House)

On campus


Early Earth (1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — James Brenan speaks on “Zircon chemistry Reveals Conditions on the Early Earth.”

BIO Technology (3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Michael Murphy, from the Gorsebrook Research Institute, will speak on “The Development of Technology for Oceanographic Studies at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography: The Early Years 1962-1986.”

Carolyn Cooper
Carolyn Cooper

The African Diaspora (7pm, MacMechan Auditorium, Killam Library) — Carolyn Cooper, from the University of West Indies, will speak on “Mek We Talk Bout De Bottom Of De Sea“:

Dr. Cooper, of Jamaican descent, will be discussing stories of freedom and heroism within African culture in relation to pervasive Eurocentric accounts of “discovery” and “conversion” of so-called “savage peoples.” She says these stories “inspire us to act fearlessly in the present to fight against systems of oppression that continue to diminish the lives of so many Africans in the Diaspora.”

Saint Mary’s

Compost Matters (12:30, Room 216, Atrium Building) — Matt Keliher, Manager of Halifax Solid Waste Resources, speaks in this latest installment of the Environment and Sustainability Research Seminar Series.

In the harbour

5:30am: Caribbean Princess, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Sain John

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
11:30am: AIDAmar, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Portland
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
6:30pm: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Boston


This has been a full week, and I seem to have gotten nothing done. I opened exactly zero emails yesterday, and so I’m incredibly behind. I’ll try to dig out over the weekend and get a couple of stories written besides. We’ll see.

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

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  1. The Saudis have spent billions trying to shut down US oil and gas and failed miserably.
    ” Opec’s worst fears are coming true. Twenty months after Saudi Arabia took the fateful decision to flood world markets with oil, it has still failed to break the back of the US shale industry.
    Scott Sheffield, the outgoing chief of Pioneer Natural Resources, threw down the gauntlet last week – with some poetic licence – claiming that his pre-tax production costs in the Permian Basin of West Texas have fallen to $2.25 a barrel. ”

    The Beswick article reminds me of certain CBC Halifax staff in the early eighties who consistently bad mouthed the Sable gas project as a proxy for slamming John Buchanan. At the time there was one good business journalist, Lyndon Watkins and he was he only person at a press conference who wrote shorthand. Watkins wrote for N American and British media. We have not had a credible business journalist since Watkins retired.
    Energy is a long term business and projects which offer a safe and secure long term supply are attractive to Europe which primarily relies on gas from Russia and the Middle East. Germany needs to get off coal and they and the rest of Europe are seeking gas from stable countries. Russia is not a reliable source, nor are mid east countries and African sources. In 2012 Iran threatened to cut off Qatar gas, the field is in Iranian and Qatari territory.
    In addition, India needs tremendous supplies of energy : ” In terms of energy consumption in 2015, India has overtaken Russia to become the third biggest consumer after China and the USA with around 5.2% (BP Statistics) of the global share. While the nation pursues ambitious targets for renewable energy use such as solar and wind power and increasingly LNG demand,India still remains very reliant on coal and oil imports.”

    Any article regarding oil or gas projects needs to place a project in a global context and the Beswick article quotes one ‘analyst’ who appears to have had a career in geology and earth science and now works in the field of renewable energy.
    If you wanted a long term secure source of supply would you sign up with Russia, the mid east or N America ?

  2. As with anything deemed within the economic orthodoxy of jobs, jobs, jobs we unquestionly believe that more cruise ships are good and naysayers are just dicks.

    Sorry I’ll belive the naysayer everytime over the sychophants. Good on Mary Campbell for the questions. Good on the Examiner questioning things like our judicial system and the glory that is our much delayed convention centre.

    I guess without questions all we would have for knowledge and opinion is our self absorbed Facebook posts and racist and misogynist twitters feeds.

    Ah the glory of the information age.

  3. I have it on very good authority that one super yacht berthing on the Halifax waterfront injects more money into the Halifax economy than an entire cruise ship. Why? Because the super yacht will stock up on gas, groceries and booze, and the folks on board will actually eat at some restaurants and maybe take in a little entertainment in the evenings. With the all-inclusive cruise ship providing all that, those tourists who disembark spend their money mostly on tchochtkes. This is why we’re seeing more super yachts here — that market is actively being courted.

    1. Last summer I had a conversation with a waterfront store owner. He told me that in the 7 or 8 years he’s operated his store, he very rarely made a sale to someone off a cruise ship. And he had some nice sh*t in his store IMHO.

    2. @Margo Grant…you are so right. As a former vendor at the Seaport Farmers Market on cruise ship days….very few visitors came through the farmers market. Most are herded through the Pavilion where made-overseas baubles can be found, and then marshalled directly onto the buses for tours. Meanwhile the port bills its vendors by the number of cruise ships docked, charges for parking and operates its own gift shop competing with the very crafters it tries to recruit!