On campus
In the harbour


1. Who’s (probably) behind Draft Kelly

Peter Kelly. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Peter Kelly. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Jesse Ward compiles convincing evidence for who was responsible for the now-aborted Draft Kelly website.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.

2. Pedestrians struck

A police release from yesterday:

Halifax Regional Police is investigating a vehicle/pedestrian collision that occurred today in Halifax.

At 2:45 p.m., police responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision on Dutch Village Road at Alma Crescent. A 19-year-old man crossing Dutch Village Road in a marked crosswalk was hit by a car that was travelling eastbound. He suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to hospital by EHS.

The collision is still under investigation at this time.

And, the CBC reports:

A man was found unconscious and bleeding at a Dartmouth crosswalk Wednesday evening. 

Police say the pedestrian was hit by a vehicle around 8 p.m. It happened at the intersection of Caledonia Road and Gourok Avenue. The vehicle stayed on the scene until help arrived. 

Emergency responders found the man bleeding from the head and determined he was in the crosswalk when he was struck. 

The man was taken to hospital, but we have no word on the his condition.

3. Jobs Fund

The CBC’s Jean Laroche gives a quick, but frustrating, overview of the $700 million the provincial government “invested” in private companies via the now-defunct Nova Scotia Jobs Fund.

It’s not Laroche’s fault the overview is frustrating; as he notes, “confidentiality clauses or rules, agreed to by previous governments, make it hard to determine which of those investments are paying off and which are not.”

The Chronicle Herald’s Michael Gorman has more details here.

It’s not completely impossible to get at least a ballpark figure of the total value of past investments. For the past six months, as I’ve had time, I’ve been working on a spreadsheet to track equity values, write-offs and write-downs, and new “investments” as reported in annual reports and news releases, with the idea that that information could give us a sense of the performance of each of the government’s economic development agencies. But building the spreadsheet is a tough slog and requires more attention than I’ve been able to give it. It’d be a good project for a journalism class, or maybe a business class.


1. Tomatoes

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald has, of course, a collection of vintage canned tomato labels.

2. Demographics and immigration

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.00.31 AM

Mike Turner has published his latest quarterly newsletter, where he takes a look at the demographic challenges the Maritimes face. As Turner is an appraiser, his interest is in how the unfolding demographic collapse of the Maritimes affects the real estate market, and specifically the commercial real estate market. The short of it: it ain’t good.

I like Turner, and I respect his analysis. That said, I think he makes unnecessary and, frankly, red herring attacks on organized labour. If he thinks the outlook for real estate is bad now, just wait to see what happens when the best paid sector of the workforce is downsized, their pay cut and pensions disappeared. (I’m also put off by the headline comparing the Maritimes to Greece. That’s just plain stupid. But as the article doesn’t make the comparison, I’ll assume Turner didn’t write the headline.)

In any event, Turner makes an excellent case for increasing immigration, and especially immigration from foreign countries, albeit he notes:

The Ivany Report placed great emphasis on meeting population shortfalls by promoting immigration from outside the country, instancing Prince Edward Island’s success as evidence that such was possible. The Atlantic Region’s working age population peaked in 2011. Stats Canada’s Medium Growth Scenario predicts that it will lose 20% of its workforce during the period 2011 to 2036. Immigration to the Region would have to quadruple its 2001-2014 rate to combat that shortfall. This appears unlikely.

I agree that quadrupling immigration appears unlikely. There are lots of reasons why the Maritimes aren’t attractive to potential immigrants: a broad distrust of “CFA”s; the lack of existing immigrant communities that can provide support for newcomers, and the absence of a large urban centre in which immigrants can most comfortably start a new life, to name a few.

But had the $700 million that was wasted on the Jobs Fund (see above) instead been spent on immigrant support, maybe the situation would not now look so bleak.

There are good moral and humanitarian reasons to take immediate action to help address the colossal crisis facing refugees from the Syrian civil war. But morality and humanitarianism aside, the refugees present an enormous opportunity, especially for places like the Maritimes. Many of the refugees are highly educated and they include a good mix of professionals who could immediately contribute to our economy. And all of them — desperate people who value peace and stability — will make excellent future citizens. Moreover, they have children, something we very much need if we’re going to ward off economic collapse.

It’s probably too late to put the support systems in place needed to immediately attract and retain a significant number of refugees, but the Syrian civil war will undoubtedly be just one of a series of mass migrations over the next years and decades caused by climate change and its attendant political, economic, and political disruptions. Welcoming those future refugees is the right thing to do, for them and for us.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

On Aug. 4, Halifax city council passed a bylaw for train whistle cessation at the King Street crossing in downtown Dartmouth. 

It was cause for celebration for sleep-deprived Haligonians tired of a whistle widely seen as unnecessary and antiquated. 

It was also the culmination of an arduous fight that began back in December and ended, we thought, with the implementation of safety requirements deemed necessary in a safety study demanded by CN, and with the passing of a bylaw.

Residents have been losing sleep for years, unnecessarily it turns out.

After the King’s Wharf developer installed crossbucks, flashing lights, bells and barriers at the crossing, city council was to introduce an anti-whistling bylaw. 

This did not happen and residents of downtown Dartmouth have been enduring a loud and obnoxious whistle, often several times in the overnight hours. 

Now they have their anti-whistling bylaw. And yet CN is persisting with the whistle. 

CN is coming up with new “safety concerns” that have no bearing on the crossing in question.

Halifax taxpayers are being held to ransom so that CN can extort yet more money to fix yet more infrastructure and get away with thumbing their nose at a bylaw that threatens to take away its power.

Agnes Malouf, Halifax



Appeals Standing Committee (10am, City Hall) — the most obscure of city committees has recently come into the spotlight, first when allegations of a conflict of interest on Gloria McCLuskey’s part were validated by a judge (behind paywall), and secondly when the committee voted to allow alleged sexual predator Bassam Aladin Al-Rawi to continue to drive his cab while the allegations are tested in court. Today, the committee goes in camera to discuss a taxi licence appeal, but the agenda (improperly, I think) doesn’t mention the appellant.

Accessibility Advisory Committee (4pm, City Hall) — the committee will discuss “Options to Improve Winter Sidewalk Clearing Outcomes.” Good luck with that, eh?

Design Review Committee (4pm, City Hall) — the committee starts its five-year review of the land use bylaws wrapped up in Halifax By Design that created the committee in the first place.

Harbour East–Marine Drive Community Council (6pm, the fancy new Harbour East Meeting Space, Main Floor Alderney Gate) — the only thing on the agenda is “housekeeping amendments” to the Dartmouth land use bylaws.


Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (9am, Room 233A, Johnston Building) — BGen (Ret’d) Gregory C.P. Matte will give an overview of the Helmets to Hardhats Canada (H2H) – Program, of which he is the national director.

On campus



Unconventional instruments (Thursday, 1:30pm, Room 111, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Quebec artist Jean-François Laporte begins his series on unconventional musical instruments with a lecture. Over the weekend some demonstrations will be held.


Nanodiamonds (1:30pm, Friday, Chemistry Room 226) — Jean-Cyrille Hierso of the Institute of Molecular Chemistry at the University of Bourgogne will talk on “From Palladium Chemistry exploiting Chloroarense and C–H functionalization in C–C and C–X bonds formation (X = O, S, F) to the emergence of nanodimanods organohybrid CVD materials.”

Saint Mary’s

Propaganda and Canada’s clash of cultures (Thursday, 6:30pm, Halifax Central Library) — military journalist and ex-soldier Scott Taylor will speak:

“We don’t go to war against people, we go to war against stereotypes,” Taylor has said. Whether used to justify foreign military excursions or simply to boost morale on the home front, increasingly sophisticated propaganda continues to perpetuate a simplistic narrative about the people and nations in which Canada is entangled, creating an unnecessary us-vs.-them divide.

Toxic Legacies (Thursday, 7pm, CCEPA, 630 Francklyn Street, Atlantic School of Theology) — Ingrid Waldron will speak on Environmental Racism in Mi’kmaw & African Nova Scotian Communities. I interviewed Waldron for Examineradio; you can hear that interview here. Space at tonight’s event is limited, and CCEPA asks that people register via or 902-428-1416.


Brasil as shown in relation to Ireland on a map by Abraham Ortelius (1572).
Brasil as shown in relation to Ireland on a map by Abraham Ortelius (1572).

A commenter on the mapporn subreddit draws our attention to Brasil, a mythical island in the Atlantic, somewhere vaguely west of Ireland. I’ve written before about Frisland, another mythical island somewhat east-southeast of Halifax.

It occurs to me that these islands would make a good setting for a novel parodying Nova Scotia.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Thursday. Map:

ZIM Virginia, container ship, arrived this morning at Pier 42 from New York; sails to sea this afternoon

Alpine Hibiscus sails to sea

The cruise ship Maasdam is in port today. It can carry up to 1,258 passengers, all of them wanting a K-dog.


We’ll be recording the next edition of Examineradio today.

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

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  1. Thanks all. That was an excellent debate. I like the comment that we in NS are not any more ignorant than others in BC, Etc. Pretty minimalist but useful challenge to negative thinking, I admit I have fallen prey to. Shaking that off and supporting increased migration and immigration will benefit this province. My prediction (no basis) is that within 5 years Halifax city and environs will be the place to live!

  2. Related to the immigration topic, some of you may be interested in attending this session next Tuesday in New Glasgow:—settlement-services-urbanrural-challenges.html
    Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
    Time: 11:00 – 3:30
    Venue: Pictou County Wellness Centre, New Glasgow
    Immigration is one of the most vital elements in moving our region forward. How do we encourage immigrants to settle in rural areas? What are the challenges and opportunities in settling immigrants in rural, and in urban areas, and what are the public policy implications? On Tuesday, September 15, the Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity will host a workshop at the Pictou County Wellness Centre in New Glasgow to explore these questions.

    Please join us for this free discussion, brought to you in partnership with the YMCAs of Nova Scotia, the province of Nova Scotia and the Immigrant Services Association of NS. Registration is required. For more information, visit and scroll down to the events listing.

    Dr. William Ashton, Director of Rural Development Institute in Brandon, Manitoba will be presenting results from his study on 29 rural and small centres in western Canada with implications for Atlantic Canada.

    Speakers from Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and the YMCAs of Nova Scotia will provide a Nova Scotia perspective.

    This event is free of charge for registered attendees. Follow the link above to register!

  3. Oh boy. Mike Turner’s newsletter piece on housing is typically extreme Nova Scotian defeatism, from the headline on down. Firstly, and tangentially, we don’t face “unique” demographic challenges; we face elevated challenges due to being ahead of the curve on aging. The challenges, overall, are basically the same as in the rest of Canada, they’re just more pronounced here. (And not everywhere: Halifax in recent years has increased its proportion of the population aged 25-35 more than most cities in the country).

    Anyway, it’s the bit on immigration that really bugs me. Why should it be impossible to quadruple immigration?

    Tim writes: “There are lots of reasons why the Maritimes aren’t attractive to potential immigrants: a broad distrust of “CFA”s; the lack of existing immigrant communities that can provide support for newcomers, and the absence of a large urban centre in which immigrants can most comfortably start a new life, to name a few.”

    A. Of course there are people in the region who resist newcomers. But as a CFA myself, I’ve never been convinced that such sentiments are more pronounced here than elsewhere, at least in the cities. I feel that we’ve simply affixed a label to something found in every city and region in the world, turned it into a cultural cliché.

    B. The lack of existing immigrant communities doesn’t have to be a deterrent. In fact, arguably the most significant trend in Canadian immigration in recent years has been movement AWAY from the traditional settlement centres and toward new communities. Why? I don’t know exactly—partially the high costs of living in large cities, couple with stagnating incomes. And weak employment prospects. StatsCan data shows immigrants have greater employment levels and incomes in smaller cities:

    We’re no different. Statistically, immigrants in Halifax have higher employment levels, and higher incomes, than those in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal. Haligonians assume the opposite, but as with so many of the negativity-tinged assumptions about our city, we’re dead wrong.

    C. Likewise, the lack of a truly big city isn’t a deterrent either. Check out the immigration numbers for Toronto and Vancouver in the past ten years. Then look at the numbers for Moncton and Charlottetown:

    Moncton has already quadrupled its immigrant intake. Charlottetown’s intake last year was SIX TIMES its level in 2005. Proportional to its population, Charlottetown probably now has the largest annual immigrant intake of any city in the country. Halifax’s numbers are syill stubbornly mediocre, partially due to an excessively low provincial nominee cap, but 2014 was still our best year for immigration in a decade.

    Granted, it’s much easier to dramatically increase small numbers, but these are still big accomplishments, about which we hear almost nothing. Instead we hear lots of bleak prognostications from the likes of Don Mills and Mike Turner. Realism is one thing, unmerited gloom is another. We’ve got way too much of the latter masquerading as the former.

    1. Hey Matt thanks for your contribution on immigration. It’s great when factual material is brought into the discussion. The immigration numbers for Charlottetown, Moncton and Fredericton are really eye opening. But their success raises the question of whether, aside from the nominee cap, there is something else contributing to Halifax and Nova Scotia’s mediocre (putting it mildly) performance.

      1. Good question–in PEI it was largely the nominee program. That province is small enough that the proportional change from just a few hundred or a few thousand people is huge:

        Not sure about Moncton though. Halifax has a more robust urban economy and better long-term prospects (in my opinion) than Moncton. I suppose one answer is that Moncton was hugely under-performing on immigration, even by Atlantic standards, until very recently, so it was relatively easy to boost the numbers.

        I do think that our tendency to under-sell our city has something to do with it, combined with a low nominee cap. (However, the cap was increased to just over 1,000 this year, from 700. We had decade-long best year for immigration last year, and with that PNP increase, 2015 may be better still.)

    2. Refugees are not immigrants, the difference is important. Fleeing the hell of war torn regions is far different from being an immigrant.
      In my experience many of the people brought in through what was MISA (now known as ISANS) quickly moved on to the big cities, and by quickly I mean within 10 days. Upon arrival they phoned relatives and friends in our major cities and arranged flights. There are no accessible statistics available to the public and therefore we cannot accurately understand why we do not retain those people who have agreed to settle in Nova Scotia but who were really planning to live elsewhere.

      1. There are stats here up to 2006, indicating our retention rate improved dramatically by that year, up to 75 percent, over 48 percent five years earlier :

        Given other demographic trends (i.e., unremarkable but steady growth in immigration, and a significant increase in visible minorities between the ’06 and 2011 census, among others) there’s every reason to assume the retention rate has remained strong or improved further. There’s really no data that suggests the opposite.

        1. MISA retention rate was so bad the federal government, Chretien time, threatened to pull their funding. The threat caused quite a kerfuffle. My experience of MISA and their staff and the refugees/immigrants is based on personal encounters. One of the most unusual was the experience of Iraqi refugees/immigrants telling me ‘George Bush # 1’ after the US invaded Iraq. Smiles all around the day the bombing started and for some time after.
          The immigrant retention data you link to includes all immigrants to the province, including people such as university staff and skilled personnel specifically recruited by a business. Dr. Akbari should ask ISANS to produce all their data from circa 1995.

    3. It isn’t “negativity” or “a cultural cliché” to state that there have been problems accepting people from different cultures and communities, particularly in areas of Nova Scotia outside of HRM. Just last week someone wrote into the Coast to complain that their friend was assaulted in Middle Musquodobit for being visibly gay.

      In the case of immigrants and refugees to Canada they can choose to live here around people who can be ignorant at best (serving hot dogs at Muslim community meetings, like one MLA did) or downright hostile at worst (spray painting NIGGER on their cars), or go join established communities of people of similar backgrounds. If we don’t try to address our very real problems we will always have the same results.

      1. All I mean, Martin, is I’ve never seen any data to indicate Nova Scotians in the 21st century are especially loathe to accept newcomers–all I hear are anecdotes, such as yours about the gay-bashing in Middle Muquodoboit. Anecdotes are meaningless as data though. You can find similar such anecdotes from anywhere, from teenagers flying confederate flags in Ontario, to cross-burnings in British Columbia, to homophobia-motivated murders in Toronto’s Entertainment District.

        Before I moved here, two separate Nova Scotians living in Ontario told me not to, because I’d A: Be unable to find decent work, and B: I wouldn’t be accepted because I wasn’t from here. Their warnings actually made me reconsider, but both of them turned out to be full of shit. And ever since I’ve been wondering what kind of message we send to newcomers, from Canada and internationally, about this province. We all but tell them they’d be better off elsewhere. I bet newcomers, including those doing just fine for themselves, eventually come to believe it.

        But I’ve lived in BC, and Ontario, and in Alberta, and I’ll tell you this: People in Halifax are no more culturally ignorant than anyone in any of those places.

        1. I missed this as I’ve, ironically, been getting ready to go back to ON.

          I am originally from Toronto (of Jamaican descent) and would disagree, but we’ll have to leave it at that.

  4. That CBC article on the pedestrian accident is bizarre. “A man was found unconscious and bleeding at a Dartmouth crosswalk Wednesday evening … Emergency responders found the man bleeding from the head and determined he was in the crosswalk when he was struck.”

    As if the police just happened upon a man lying in the street under mysterious circumstances, but their detectives were able to solve the case.

    I thought it was a hit-and-run when I first read the article, but it clearly indicates that “[t]he vehicle stayed on the scene until help arrived.” From this we can only conclude that it was a driverless vehicle with enough self-awareness to wait for the emergency services.

    I’ve noticed that almost all police reports and news articles regarding these incidents are written in the passive voice such that a pedestrian “was struck” by a driver/vehicle, rather than the more logical phrasing, “a driver struck a pedestrian…” It seems to be a subtle way of shifting blame away from the driver. The Ceeb takes this to the next level by going out of their way not to mention a driver, only “a vehicle.”

    Obviously I realize that the driver is not always to blame in every instance, but it’s interesting that this awkward writing style is so common.

  5. Regarding the refugees, I do not understand how refugees would help the economic situation in Nova Scotia. I think we have a moral duty to allow a reasonable number of refugees into Canada and Nova Scotia, but I don’t think we should pretend that it will actually benefit us unless we fix the fundamental issues facing Nova Scotia. The reason there are so few young people in Nova Scotia is because there are so few jobs here. Simply importing young people from somewhere else isn’t going to change that, because what we need are employed (and not at Tim Hortons) young people. An unemployed Syrian refugee contributes exactly as little to the economy as does an unemployed Nova Scotian, and is just as likely – if his or her visa allows it – to move west to find work.

    The issue of a visa restricting the movements of potential refugees in Canada raises another point about why people might distrust those who advocate increased immigration on anything other than humanitarian grounds. If you increase the supply of workers, and especially if you add workers who are desperate, have no social safety net and might not be able to easily move to a more prosperous part of Canada, then pay and working conditions will be suppressed for everyone. This is obviously in the interest of the very wealthy, who have a very disproportionately loud voice in political conversations. These are people like John Risley, who complain that they can’t find people to work brutal, unsafe seasonal jobs in remote parts of the Maritimes for minimum wage and then import temporary foreign workers to fill the gap. People in the Maritimes are obviously happy to go thousands of kilometres from home to work dangerous, unpleasant jobs in the middle of nowhere – if the pay justifies it. I’m sure that John & his ilk wishes he had a supply of Nova Scotians as desperate as the Syrians and other future climate change refugees to work for slave wages in his plants and on his boats.

  6. Bloody statistics on demographics! Its high time Stats Canada changed their definition of ‘working age’ – that antiquated notion that once a person hits 65 they no longer work, no longer are part of mainstream, and instead are useless, over the hill and a drain on the economy is totally old thinking ! I turn 74 today and over the last 9 years since passing 65, have worked harder, with much more satisfaction and involving much more interesting and purposeful work than anything prior to 65! All demographics and statistics look at the world in the rear view mirror – not realizing that there is a huge shift (the longevity revolution) going on in the world – creating a new life stage between 55 and 85 where many people are learning new skills, growing personally in many ways, creating new businesses, exploring what else is possible and making huge contributions to their communities! This new life stage is called Novescence – meaning a time of renewal, inspiration, new challenges and rewards, innovation and growth. Stats Canada plus all provincial governments and the rest of the Canadian government are far behind in their thinking about the huge potential that those between 55 and 85 present to the world. Heads stuck in the sand as usual! It would seem that the author of the article is in the same boat! Immigration will help, yet a huge shift in thinking about the potential right under our noses would represent a huge boost to the province and the country.