1. Clearcuts

Recent drone shot of a clearcut located between Kejimkujik National Park and Lake Rossignol. Photo courtesy Jeff Purdy.

“The Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry (DLF) recently hired DG Communications, a public relations firm, to assess the department’s progress in meeting the recommendations of William Lahey’s Independent Review of Forest Practices, specifically in terms of Lahey’s calls for increased transparency and engagement with the public,” reports Linda Pannozzo:

The firm, headed by Pam Davidson, has also done PR work in the past for Northern Pulp, and the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia (now Forest Nova Scotia) an organization representing the province’s industrial forestry players.

DLF spokesperson Lisa Jarrett tells me that hiring the firm is part of the government’s “response” to Lahey’s Review and that the department is “committed to improve and demonstrate a culture of openness, transparency, collaboration, and accountability.”

How’s that “culture of openness, transparency, collaboration, and accountability” going?

Pannozzo walks us through the province’s Harvest Plans Map Viewer — “a tool the government introduced in the spring of 2016  to ‘improve public engagement on planned fibre harvests’” — and, using comparisons between the map viewer and satellite photos, shows us how the map viewer actually obscures clearcuts, eliminating them completely.

Click here to read “Truth Be Told: Nova Scotia’s forest department hires a PR firm with forest industry ties to help it with transparency.”

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2. Immigrants

Immigrants becoming citizens.

Reading articles like this one in the Chronicle Herald, in which business owners push for more immigration, is frustrating because there’s no discussion of wages.

We’re told there’s a “demographic problem” in rural Nova Scotia, but it seems obvious that the reason young people are leaving is because they can’t get good jobs with decent pay locally. I have no problem with increased immigration — in fact, were I king, I’d simply open the doors to anyone who wants to come. The business owners, however, don’t want increased immigration for all the good things immigrants can bring — interesting life experiences, a broader view of the world, cultural diversity, and so forth — but rather just because they view immigrants as a cheap work force.

“We have expansions to do,” Frank Anderson, the corporate affairs officer for Riverside Lobster, told writer . “We can’t do the expansions because we haven’t got enough employees to do what we’re doing right now.”

According to the Riverside Lobster’s employee handbook, “all employees begin at a set rate of $11.00 per hour.” Minimum wage in Nova Scotia is $11.55 per hour, although employers can pay “inexperienced employees” $11.05 per hour for the first three months of employment. Perhaps the employee handbook hasn’t been updated since the latest increase in the minimum wage law, but I think it’s fair to say that Riverside Lobster pays shit wages. If that’s the best or only job to be found in Meteghan River, it’s not a mystery why young people are fleeing the place.

Maybe immigrants are OK with taking shitty paying jobs as a leg up in a new country. But I can’t imagine they want those shitty paying jobs for long, and they definitely don’t want their children to be left with only shitty paying jobs. So likely, the immigrants will skedaddle soon enough as well; the shitty paying jobs in rural Nova Scotia are just a way station to better opportunity elsewhere.

We talk a lot about valuing immigrants. If we really valued them, we’d pay them better.

3. Floorball

It’s been interesting watching the floorball teams come in and out of the Dalplex for the international U19 championships currently underway. The national stereotypes abound: the Japanese with their tight, no-nonsense discipline; the Slovenians singing their Eastern European anthems; the Danes playing Europop on the boom box. It’s all great fun. The players seem to be enjoying themselves, and while I know nothing at all about the game, there appears to be a lot of mutual respect between the teams. It’s all very foreign to the rest of Halifax, as well, as here’s an international championship, and few spectators in the stands. The games are split between the Dalplex and the Sportsplex in Dartmouth, and go through the weekend; you can buy tickets here.

4. Polls

“A new poll suggests slightly more than half of Halifax-area residents support a ban on street checks, and six in 10 support a police apology for the past use of street checks,” reports Yvette d’Entremont for StarMetro Halifax:

The Narrative Research Poll released on Thursday shows that 53 per cent of Halifax adult residents support a permanent ban on street checks, with 28 per cent “completely” supporting a ban.

Narrative is the company that used to be called CRA.

While it’s useful to know what the public thinks about various issues, we shouldn’t let polling drive civil rights policy. Were you to base voter access rules on polling, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would have never been enacted, and Jim Crow would still exist in the American south. Not to pick on Quebec, but “survey published in October 2017 by the Angus Reid Institute measured public responses in Quebec to Bill 62, also referred to as Quebec’s “Religious Neutrality Bill,” which prohibits those with face-coverings from receiving government services. Over 62% of those surveyed ‘strongly support’ this bill, while only 4% ‘strongly oppose’ it.”

So it’s good that a lot of people want to see street checks banned, but that’s not the reason to ban street checks. We should ban street checks because it’s the right thing to do.


No public meetings.

On campus


Spring Convocation (Friday, 2pm, Langille Athletic Centre, Agricultural Campus, Truro) — for graduates in Agriculture and Graduate Studies; ceremony will include retirement of the Dalhousie mace and welcoming of Dal’s new “ceremonial object,” whatever that is. Watch it live here.

In the harbour

05:00: Brighton, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
06:00: Pictor J, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Argentia, Newfoundland
06:30: Lomur, cargo ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
15:00 Pictor J sails for Portland
15:00: Brighton sails for New York
16:00: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
16:30: Lomur sails for sea


Boy, this is the worst Morning File ever. I probably should’ve gotten a guest writer for today, but there’s not a lot going on in any event… I could’ve gotten into a big issue I’ve been working on, but it felt rushed. I’ll work hard on stuff over the weekend and hopefully Monday will be more interesting.

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  1. Immigration is not the solution to an aging population or Nova Scotia’s economic woes. Nova Scotia businesses would do better to hire or retain older workers or to hire the immigrants that are already here and want to be paid a fair wage for their skills and labor. Immigrants and others who are “from away” and who are skilled cannot find work in Nova Scotia with the usual employers. They have to start their own businesses and in some cases change what they do to create their own jobs.

    This is not a province that welcomes older skilled workers or older immigrants. When Nova Scotia thinks of immigrants, they think of young, well educated men and women from the Commonwealth, Asia or selected states in Africa. White Americans and Europeans and older men and women are not considered immigrants ( or at least immigrants who should be provided with immigrant services that might integrate them into the Nova Scotia economy and society.) If I sound bitter, well I am. Nine years of fruitlessly looking for employment in Nova Scotia have left their scars as has the complete lack of resources to counsel me on programs when my Canadian spouse disappeared from the scene and leaving me holding the bag. Nova Scotia is a beautiful province and blessed with many wonderful things; but it is a darned hard place to earn a living.

    But apart from my experience, Nova Scotia is living in la-la land if they think that there are hoards of young immigrants who can`t wait to move to Nova Scotia. Demographics show that the world population as a whole is getting older and is growing because people live longer, not because more babies are being born. The demographics of population by age is not a beautiful bell curve; but is a curve that droops to right ( older folks) The average number of children per couple in the world is just over 2. Check out the data at or take a gander at one of Hans Rosling’s videos. The pressures that cause folks to immigrate to Canada are war, famine, drought or persecution or family connections. Much of the world is middle class (maybe not as North Americans picture it) and there may not be the need to move to Canada. So Nova Scotia businesses and policy makers, it is time to work with the folks that are already here.

  2. As revealed in the story on immigration, what employers are really saying is that temporary foreign workers are cheap labour and it is easier to hire them than locals who because of being here as citizens need more than the less than minimum wages offered by places such as seafood plants. It has been an elephant in the room too long. We certainly need more newcomers, but that should not be equated to the temporary foreign worker program. Apples and oranges.

  3. Nova Scotia desperately needs people. Rural NS especially so. Young women and men have been fleeing rural parts of the province for decades. We write songs about it—dozens of ’em. Even prosperous Halifax retains far too few of the talented youngsters who come here to study. It’s hard to change this because our culture is so white-bread and inward looking. We look down our blue noses at Come-from-Aways, a detestable term. We celebrate Gaelic, for Chrissake, a language on life-supports.

    Immigration is one of the few ways we might dig ourselves out of this hole. In the last year, international students have transformed the face of Sydney. Thanks to Cape Breton University’s aggressive outreach, Charlotte Street is starting to look more like The Danforth than the Coal Town Road. Most of these students want to stay here. Many have. The new businesses starting up in Cape Breton are not run by MacNeils or Beatons but by Kassems, Wangs, and Sungs. Bravo!

    If you take the time to read the Herald story about the Immigration Summit, you’ll find the maligned representative from Riverside Lobster actually makes a series of thoughtful, nuanced, detailed, and helpful observations about Canada’s pathetic approach to immigration in Atlantic Canada. To deride Riverside as “big capital,” and blow him off because his company is one of thousands that pay some workers minimum wage, is myopic. Worse, it’s precisely the attitude that will consign our province and its workers to permanent backwater status.

    I’m all for increasing the minimum wage, but for the love of Pete, curb the ideological cant long enough to hear someone with actual experience bringing new residents to our province

  4. I’ve been watching the floor hockey crews come and go. They all look very professional in their shiny new kits. I never thought of floor hockey that way – retro, cotton sweat pants, hoodies, homemade headbands… that was the image I had.

    The new Sportsplex has been a revelation. Floor hockey, lots of dance events and pickleball. Pickleball! I’d never heard of it, but the new gym is full of pickleball players. I keep stifling the urge to make pickleball jokes, but all the players seem to be having fun. It’s sort of like table tennis without the table. Seems to me that it’s a great opportunity for old folks to hang with the grandchildren, while the parents can go downtown to drink craft beer.

    All this is to say that the new facility is great – well designed, well equipped and with the same friendly staff.

  5. Big capital has always been pro immigration because it is a way to lower wages, both by increasing the labor supply and decreasing solidarity among workers. Sometimes politicians will defect from this – most European and North American citizens want less immigration, after all.