1. In praise of rich people

When you think about it, Alex MacLean is just like Joseph Howe.

I’m running out of time so can’t get to what I really want to write about today — I think El Jones will write about it tomorrow, but if not I’ll return to that subject Monday — but as a sort of prelude to that, I’ll just quickly point out that the Museum of Natural History has a new exhibit called “Vanguard: 150 years of Remarkable Nova Scotians.” Notes the “virtual exhibit“:

In case you’re wondering, yes, it was a challenge to select only a few dozen Nova Scotia difference-makers for this exhibit — considering there have been several million Nova Scotians since 1867.

Our picks were guided not by celebrity but by the impact, legacy and worthy example we felt these individuals made. With these selections, we aim to reflect Nova Scotia’s history, identity and diversity. 

And yes, there are many remarkable people not presented here. We had only so many spots. We would be delighted if this exhibit sparked further conversations about the past, present and future of our province.

Fair enough. Selecting a handful of people to celebrate is necessarily going to miss all sorts of worthy candidates. The exhibit, however, lauds important and noteworthy Nova Scotians: Mi’kmaq chief Peter Wilmont; the artistic siblings Annie, Minnie, and May Prat; architect Andrew Cobb; education advocate Eliza Ritchie; and… Alex MacLean?

Nothing against MacLean, but his one achievement in life is taking some cheap clipart and pasting it on T-shirts to make the “Nova Scotia Lifestyle” brand. I mean, yah capitalism, I guess, but a “vanguard”? Of what, exactly? And is this museum-worthy? The museum explains:

How old do you have to be to become an entrepreneur? Alex MacLean proves there is no such thing as an age limit. Rather, the trick is to have a good entrepreneurial idea and to get it out into the world; then work hard and cleverly to make it a success.

By now Alex’s story is well known. Three years ago, he was a student at Acadia University, an undergraduate in business. One of his courses was called Venture Exchange, with a requirement that each student come up with a project. In Alex’s case, he envisioned a new clothing line, one he called East Coast Lifestyle. He borrowed $800 from his father and with it developed a line of T-shirts and hoodies. It was a small production run, sold to friends.

However, the initial products generated a lot of buzz on the Wolfville campus and beyond. The quickly growing demand was not something Alex ignored. As an entrepreneur, he understood the importance of timing. So, he responded, coming up with more of his distinctive product. Yes, there was a bit of luck, when celebrities were photographed wearing the brand, but Alex recognized the value that publicity had and made sure his supply kept up with the surging demand.

Within a year, Alex had sold more than $1 million worth of his clothing. Not long after, he was the only Canadian in a group of about thirty young entrepreneurs invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. Since then, East Coast Lifestyle has enjoyed even more growth. The latest news is that Alex is steering his brand carefully into the vast market that is in the United States, and he has his eyes on Asia, Australia and Europe. Now at the three-year mark, Alex’s company has already sold more than 500,000 clothing items. It has annual revenues in excess of $3 million and employs nineteen. The projected future growth will see all numbers climb. It’s quite a leap from the initial class project, but then that’s what a skilled entrepreneur can do.

I… let me… well… ah, fuck it. And they wonder why I drink.

2. Warm water and whale deaths

Right whales. Photo: NOAA

“Ocean temperatures in the Scotian Shelf and the Gulf of St. Lawrence reached record or near-record highs in 2016, according to a Fisheries and Oceans Canada report on Atlantic Canada’s marine ecosystem,” reports Paul Withers for the CBC:

Federal fisheries scientist Dave Hebert said temperatures on Nova Scotia’s Scotian Shelf were up by 2 or 3 C in some places.


The warming water coincides with a shift in where zooplankton are residing. Known as copepods, this food source is eaten by the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

More of the whales are moving from their traditional Canadian feeding grounds in the Roseway Basin off southern Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy in search of food.

“Those zooplankton are now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That’s probably the reason the whales are going to where they are going because the temperatures aren’t quite as warm as they are in the Scotian Shelf,” said Hebert.

The question is whether the zooplankton are leading the whales into a shipping lane super highway.

Since June, at least 10 right whales have been found dead in the gulf. Several deaths have been attributed to ship collisions or fishing gear entanglements.

Meanwhile, “[t]he U.S. government is launching an investigation into the recent deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales,” reports the Associated Press:

An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday it is declaring the deaths “an unusual mortality event.”

The agency says that designation triggers a “focused, expert investigation” into the cause of the deaths.

Representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and NOAA Fisheries are expected to provide more information about the investigation Friday morning.

3. Mako Sharks

“The Ecology Action Centre is calling for a ban on mako shark landings after a new international review showed the ocean predators are being caught faster than they can reproduce,” reports Tom Ayers for the Chronicle Herald:

A study using satellite telemetry — data collected remotely from tagged animals — published this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society found that North Atlantic shortfin makos are dying as a result of fishing at a rate 10 times higher than previously estimated.

The data was included in a recent stock assessment by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which found that mako shark landings in the North Atlantic could be three to four times higher than what would be considered a sustainable rate.

Katie Schleit, the Ecology Action Centre’s senior marine campaign co-ordinator, said makos are being overfished and the Canadian government needs to do its part by putting a halt to landings.

4. Women profs

The federal government yesterday released its survey of “Number and salaries of full-time teaching staff at Canadian universities.” I’ve played around with the data a bit, showing the numbers of men and women who are profs at Nova Scotian universities, and then what their average salaries are by sex:

Acadia University
Male 117; average salary: $111,800
Female 57; average salary: $105,500

Cape Breton University
Male 78; average salary: $105,650
Female 69; average salary: $101,100

Dalhousie University (Including medical / dental)
Male 594; average salary: $135,300
Female 390; average salary: $123,875

Dalhousie University (Excluding medical /dental)
Male 411; average salary: $140,300
Female 270; average salary: $128,600

Mount Saint Vincent University
Male 45; average salary: $112,025
Female 81; average salary: $110,450

St. Francis Xavier University
Male 120; average salary: $115,025
Female 108; average salary: $102,275

Saint Mary’s University
Male 156; average salary: $124,025
Female 99; average salary: $118,500

These figures are for full-time staff, including deans. I’d be curious to see sex ratios for sessionals and part-times.

5. Economic development and Business Cape Breton

Mary Campbell explores Business Cape Breton:

Why am I so interested in Business Cape Breton, the CBRM’s economic development “entity?”

Because I just can’t get a grip on what it’s supposed to be — it’s neither flesh, nor fowl nor good, publicly accountable municipal body.

It’s a non-profit society with a board made up of local businesspeople and yet it is funded by public monies and seems to be directing public policy in the area of economic development.

This is a perfect example of being able to confuse the public by slapping “economic development” on unwarranted or at least questionable expenditures of public money and then piping those expenditures through an unaccountable and inscrutable organization that seems to exist only for itself.

Click here to read “Economic Development: Who’s In Charge Here?”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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6. Kitch still owes

Tracey Kitch. Photo: Career Women Interaction

“The former CEO of the IWK Health Centre who resigned earlier this week has not fully repaid expenses that were deemed personal following a CBC News investigation,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:

In response to a series of questions from CBC News on Thursday, IWK board chair Karen Hutt said by email that [Tracy] Kitch has repaid “a portion of expenses identified as personal. The board … will be seeking repayment for any outstanding amounts.”

The hospital has not said how much Kitch has repaid and how much is outstanding. No one was made available on Thursday for an in-person or telephone interview.

7. The Ivany brand

Photo: @acadiaupres / Twitter

Jacob Boon at The Coast notes that:

[Ray] Ivany’s name is already attached to a less-impressive institution, having famously chaired the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy. In 2014, NS-COBONE released its game-changing Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotia report — commonly known throughout the land as the Ivany Report.

Though its lessons are still preached from the pulpit at Province House, over the last three years the Ivany Report has morphed from a dying province’s blueprint towards new life into buzzword fuel — a pamphlet of clichéd catechisms, spat out by every industrial grifter, political theorist and soulless PR drone hoping to rub two Bluenose-emblazoned government dimes together.

So the waterfront campus is a big step up for the Ivany brand.


1. Queer people of colour


Evelyn White discusses the new film, Whitney: Can I Be Me:

As the credits rolled for Can I Be Me, I was also transported back to a lecture hall on the Dalhousie campus where I was honoured to participate, earlier this year, in the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) conference hosted by The Youth Project in Halifax. The gathering brought together several hundred students from around the province in an effort to affirm and strengthen their bonds as young LGBTQ activists.

My elation, as an elder out black lesbian, at the sea of eager, earnest and sublimely “I’m Gonna Do Me” faces was tempered by the scant presence of students of colour at the event.

For its abundance of heartbreak, Can I Be Me also offers potentially healing medicine for (especially) queer Nova Scotia youth of colour struggling to celebrate their identity. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: Silence equals death.

2. Hangar 51 is made of IKEA shelving

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Turns out, the gigantic warehouse where Stephen Archibald stores everything about everything is row after row of IKEA shelving. He writes:

We lived in a Victorian house without closets so IKEA’s storage cabinets were perfect for clothes. When we moved to a modern house they store our famous reserve collections.


No public meetings.

On campus

No public events.

In the harbour

7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
9:30am: Maersk Trieste, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from IJmuiden, Netherlands
11am: E. R. Tianping, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
8pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s


I’ve got nothing.

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

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  1. let your mountains dark and dreary be.

    I too, wish to project some things on to the side of this new trade centre thing.

    Playing Harmonica outside is entertaining for people, but I am playing the bankruptcy building blues; no donations please, this is a personal communication for the buildings.

    We have to grow around this, or escape. Rays of Innovation from the glorious business class bring hope to this land.

  2. Looked up Jacob Boon’s piece in the Coast and ran across an old interview with Andy Fillore regarding , amongst other things, the Nova Centre.

    “Broadly speaking, when this is all behind us and that building is built, for sure what we’re seeing is there’s still a market for large conventions in the world….”

    Any luck procuring an interview with the man? I’d pay big money for that.

    1. With you on Fillmore granting Tim an interview. If memory serves, Tim has tried, unsuccessfully, which surprised, given Tim is not a tough interviewer; Tim’s actually verbally soft, but factually rich and penetrating, allowing Q & As to speak for themselves. Over time and during his campaign, and especially post-election, Fillmore appears to have gone to ground, avoiding all media whenever possible.

  3. Re 7. Ivany and Ivany Report

    Yup, its content, one aspect of which I agreed with and said so [on collective intransigent regional attitude], and “blueprint towards new life” were irrefutably depicted in the 46.12% of eligible Nova Scotians who chose not to vote in the last election. Almost 50%! In conversation with my eldest voter-son who lives and works in Halifax, I asked whether this would concern politicians in general and, specifically, the McNeil government, and if so, in what aspects. While he hadn’t considered it, we discussed and both concluded the demonstrable absence of stated or inherent vision for the province say a loud and sad no. It will take more than Ivany, or any one man or woman, to change the current, stubborn trajectory. Government alone shouldn’t be expected to provide, even facilitate, economic and population growth, industrial creativity and innovation, but they’re primary in our system, and their electoral success or failure provide a measurable vector. 46.12% of eligible citizens who don’t even vote say more than all the propaganda government can publish via taxpayer money. Obviously, all parties have wildly succeeded in instilling apathy and resignation. Almost half of the electorate have tuned out.

    1. Often is is not the quality of the product, but rather it is the documentation that either does not detail the all important load limits, or the user that just ignores the limits and overloads the shelf unit. We have a 1970’s era IKEA bookshelf unit that is stacked with heavy books and the shelves have never bowed.

  4. Two questions. Why does excluding medical/dental from Dal raise the average salaries? Where can I buy an Ivany Lifestyle hoodie for my boomer parents?

    1. To question 1, I would hypothesize that it’s because there’s a higher number of “senior management” folks in the non-medical/dental group – the president of the university, for example.

      To question 2, That is genius. I need one.

      1. One other element to be considered in wage differentials is age. On the whole, women faculty are younger than males. Once the old farts disappear the differences might disappear as well.

    2. Medical/dental tend to be part-time faculty, part-time practitioners, so their funding through Dal would be less than a full-time faculty member from other programs.

      1. I suspect this is exactly it – the numbers likely include many cases where Dal is picking up 40% of compensation, or whatever. And the total compensation of an MD also on Dal faculty is not public data, since per capita public money paid to medical doctors is not included in the release of public accounts.