News

1. $450 million

Northern Pulp Mill during a shutdown in October 2019. Photo: Joan Baxter

“Three months before Mountain Equipment Co-op went to the British Columbia Supreme Court for creditor protection in 2020, Northern Pulp ⁠— a Paper Excellence company ⁠— together with five affiliates and its immediate owner 1057863 B.C. Ltd, had already done so,” reports Joan Baxter:

In June 2020, Northern Pulp et al. (identified as the “petitioners” in legal filings) declared themselves “insolvent” and sought creditor protection in the British Columbia Supreme Court, under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

The petitioners have been there enjoying creditor protection ever since, and the British Columbia Supreme Court has granted the seven Paper Excellence companies just about everything they’ve asked for.

They’ve had seven extensions on creditor protection, and the myriad court orders, motion materials and affidavits documenting those are all posted online by the court monitor, Ernst & Young Inc.

The most recent extension came at the end of April, when British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick granted the seven companies yet another stay — until October 31, 2022 — on their creditor protection.

Before that, on April 1, Fitzpatrick issued an order for Nova Scotia to go into mediation to settle “claims” Northern Pulp and its owners, Paper Excellence Canada and Hervey Investment BV (Netherlands), made against the province in December 2021 when they launched a lawsuit in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for alleged “losses” that could exceed $450 million.

Click here to read “The ‘weird’ legal mechanism being used by Northern Pulp in its $450 million lawsuit against Nova Scotia.”

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2. Death at Michelin

Michelin’s Waterville plant

“It’s been a month since a Michelin worker died at the Waterville plant,” writes Stephen Kimber. “Why don’t we know more about what really happened? Will we ever?”

It has been 18 years since the Westray Law — named after the 1992 Nova Scotia mine disaster that killed 26 coal miners — “established new legal duties for workplace health and safety and imposed severe penalties for violations that result in injuries or death.”

During that time, 429 Nova Scotians have been “killed at work or because of work in our province.”

How many charges have been laid as a result?

One.

Click here to read “When a worker dies, silence descends…”

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3. Homicide

A Halifax police release from yesterday:

Police are providing an update on the investigation into the death of a man that occurred yesterday in the area of Viscaya Place in Dartmouth and are releasing the victim’s name.

On June 11th, at approximately 02:08 Halifax Regional Police responded to a complaint at a residence on Viscaya Place in Dartmouth. When officers arrived they located an adult male deceased with injuries that were consistent with gunshot wounds.

The Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service conducted an autopsy and has ruled the manner of death to be a homicide. The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Nelson Tyrelle Beals.

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4. Moriarty and COVID deaths

Illustration by Callum Moscovitch for the Halifax Examiner. All rights reserved.

“The Nova Scotia government says there have been 421 COVID-19 deaths in the province since the pandemic began, but an infectious disease researcher says that number is likely understated by at least 200,” reports Richard Woodbury for the CBC:

Tara Moriarty, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, called it “a conservative estimate” and cautioned the number will grow.

“A lot of the deaths from Omicron are going to start coming in,” she said.

Moriarty looks at the “excessive death” numbers and draws a lot of conclusions about the underreporting of COVID deaths.

Maybe?

I’ve been aware of Moriarty for a good while. She tweets out a lot of numbers, but I can’t often figure out where the numbers are coming from. There’s probably some combination of her poor explanatory skills and my addled comprehension skills at work here, but it shouldn’t be this hard to understand her arguments.

Even if there are more deaths than one would otherwise expect, it doesn’t necessarily mean those are COVID deaths. These are stressful times — yes, the pandemic is a major stressor, but there’s a lot else going on in the world, including the rise of fascism, growing inequality, war, environmental crisis, and the general collapse of civilization. A lot of people are giving up.

Which is to say, I’ll continue to try to figure Moriarty out, but for now, I’ll read her with a grain of salt.

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5. Gum, weed, and space

Wrigley Spearmint Gum Pack, 1932. Photo: Made in Chicago Museum

Politico yesterday published an article chronicling the legal problems of a cannabis company called Parallel:

William “Beau” Wrigley Jr. envisioned building a weed empire that would one day rival his family’s legendary chewing gum business.

The former CEO of the Wrigley Company — which was sold to Mars for $23 billion in 2008 — led a $65 million investment in 2018 in Surterra Wellness, which primarily did business in Florida’s fledgling medical marijuana market.

Surterra was rebranded as Parallel, and embarked on an aggressive expansion plan across the US, and drawing the attention of Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation (SPAC) called Ceres Acquisition started by music mogul Scooter Braun. But a proposed $1.9 merger deal fell apart when Ceres investors had a look under the hood at Parallel and decided the company was junk. Continues Politico:

Now Wrigley and the company face a pair of lawsuits from investors who allege Parallel officials concealed massive debts, issued fanciful financial projections, engaged in self-dealing and committed various other misdeeds to defraud them.

This is a fun read, and involves the unlikely appearance of Lin Wood, the deranged lawyer who has been prominent in the stolen election fantasy (Wood says he wanted out of Parallel because he found Jesus, and evidently Jesus doesn’t get high; Jimmy Buffet (who has leaned into his Coral Reefer Band branding with a line of cannabis products); and a cannabis industry lawyer known as “Pot Daddy.”

The collapse of Parallel is at best tangential to the local story, but Ceres is now eyeballing Maritime Launch Services, the company behind the proposed Canso space port. As I’ve reported, Ceres has recently pushed back the deadline for a deal to December — acquiring rockets from a Ukrainian factory is a bit of a logistical problem right now.

But I’m waiting for those Ceres investors to look under Maritime Launch Services’ hood.

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6. Suspicious Packages bomb in Saint John

The Suspicious Packages played a reunion gig in Saint John, and got terrible reviews.

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7. Colin and Justin

Colin and Justin and their fake baby. Photo: Artem

I am pop culture illiterate, so I know nothing at all about home reno shows in general, or Colin and Justin in particular. Well, I didn’t know about them until Mary Campbell at the Cape Breton Spectator wrote about them, and now I’m valuing my previous ignorance.

Colin and Justin are the “Scots design gurus” Colin Lewis McAllister and Justin Patrick Ryan, who are bizarrely popular for doing things like raising an animatronic baby alongside a model named Caprice, who is apparently somebody people know, but I’ve never heard of her before.

Anyway, Campbell explains that “Colin and Justin bought the Point of View Suites in Louisbourg, which they’ve renovated, renamed the North Star and are preparing to open officially this summer.”:

The Scottish tabloid the Daily Record seems fascinated by the pair, and has been turning their Instagram posts into articles with headlines like:

Scots interior designers Colin and Justin red faced after being locked out of home in PJs in which the two apparently decided to put out the garbage and were locked out when “freak weather conditions ended up freezing their door lock within seconds.” Fans, we’re told “found the news of the duo’s predicament hilarious and others said it was a common occurrence in Nova Scotia.”

Scots design gurus Colin and Justin spend night in freezing van after power cut at Canadian hotel” in which the two lost power at the hotel and had to take shelter in their Ford F-150 in -14 degree weather, giving them an opportunity to shout-out @colbourne_ford  who had told them their “grey toned big guy would be a problem solver.”

And the latest, and my personal favorite:

Inside Colin and Justin’s stunning new Nova Scotia hotel which looks like ‘The Shining’ in which the two unload about the “years of blood, sweat and tears” they have put into the project:

“Mother Nature? Go stick this up your chilly, ice cold ass: we were NOT beaten. We’ve endured what felt like re living The Shining. Secluded and lost to the elements: our sub zero reno has been our toughest challenge to date.”

The designers said they had been “undermined daily” by “hellish” ice storms and the bitter, windswept winds of Atlantic Canada had “tried their best to ruin us”.

You remember The Shining, right? The Stanley Kubrick film based on the Stephen King novel in which Jack Nicholson buys an isolated hotel and slowly loses his sanity when the furniture he’s ordered from IKEA fails to materialize?

Of course, Colin and Justin are probably contractually obligated to ramp up the drama because their project is being filmed for their Great Canadian Escape reality TV series which will air on the BBC’s Channel 5. As the Irish Times explains, the show will:

…follow the couple as they become first-time hoteliers, after buying a tired hotel in a small town in Nova Scotia with the hope of overhauling the dated building.

The four-part series will not only charter the pair’s risky venture and their attempts to renovate the hotel, but will also document their personal journey as they settle into a rural Canadian community.

The show will see McAllister and Ryan trying to get the local town on board and hiring local tradespeople and suppliers, from lumber merchants to blacksmiths and hotel staff.

Viewers will also get an insight into what life is like living in remote Canada.

Ah yes, “remote” Louisbourg, a full 20-minute drive from Sydney.

Colin and Justin claim they are putting their life savings and “pensions” into this venture which I highly doubt but, you know, drama.

I will find a way to view this, I think watching them portray Louisbourg in winter as the frozen tundra will be funny—although it won’t do much for Destination Cape Breton’s winter tourism campaign.

Between the space port, the Oak Island hoax, and Colin, Justin, and the animatronic baby, Nova Scotia will soon be on the map!

Click here to read “Three Celebs and a Baby.”

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Government

City

Monday

No meetings

Tuesday

Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — agenda

Province

Monday

No meetings

Tuesday

Health (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) — agenda setting


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

One Chance To Be A Child: Child rights and well-being in Nova Scotia (Tuesday, 6:30pm) — online discussion with Sara Kirk, Laura Stymiest, Lisa Lachance, and Christian Whalen:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, attention and resources were placed overwhelmingly on protecting older populations. In doing so, the interests and needs of children and youth were sidelined. Disruptions to school food programs and a lack of access to safe places to play or gather, for example, have likely left some children in a more precarious situation than before the pandemic.

Children and youth continue to face complex barriers to realizing their rights and experiencing well-being. The impacts of poverty, trauma, and hopelessness are evidenced in the bodies and minds of children and youth. The causes of these problems, however, are rooted in systemic shortcomings of social policy, interventions for which are necessary at multiple levels.

In this panel, thought leaders will engage with the findings emerging out of a recent comprehensive report on the status of child and youth well-being in Nova Scotia. Panelists will highlight the most pressing issues facing young people in Nova Scotia which undermine their well-being and discuss policy shifts which could result in their experiencing the benefits of rights realizations during their one chance to be a child.


In the harbour

Halifax
08:00: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor, on a seven-day cruise from Boston to Montreal
09:00: USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, U.S. littoral combat ship, sails from Dockyard for sea
11:00: Polar Prince, tender, moves from Dartmouth Cove to anchorage off Devils Island
11:30: Vivienne Sheri D, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
12:30: John J. Carrick, barge, and Leo A. McArthur, tug, arrive at McAsphalt from Montreal
16:15: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Rio Haina, Dominican Republic
17:00: Vivienne Sheri D sails for Portland
17:45: Zaandam sails for Sydney
18:00: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea

Cape Breton
08:30: Seven Seas Navigator, cruise ship with up to 550 passengers, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Halifax, on a 94-day “Grand Arctic Adventure” out of New York, including stops in Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, among others
17:30: Seven Seas Navigator sails for Corner Brook


Footnotes

My big plan for the day is to go to the post office. Living large over here.


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Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. “Even if there are more deaths than one would otherwise expect, it doesn’t necessarily mean those are COVID deaths.”

    I’m all for skepticism, but we are in the midst of a once-in a century pandemic. We know that mortality from covid disproportionately targets groups you normally champion: the poor, racial minorities, the elderly.

    We have a socially regressive premier who has muzzled our Chief Medical Officer of Health and removed ALL pandemic related public health precautions.

    We know that people with covid succumb to a variety of organ failures that tend to get listed on death certificate as the proximate cause of death.

    A group of epidemiologists have studied the issue and concluded that covid-related deaths are under-reported here.

    Along comes non-epidemiologist T. Bousquet to say, nah, it could have been… what? Mass suicide? Non-specific despair? Earwigs?

    The pandemic is a grave public health problem. It is not over. The decision by many provincial governments to pretend that it is over has only made the problem worse.

    Respectfully, pooh-poohing expert commentary on this massive public health calamity is not a good look for you.

  2. > These are stressful times — yes, the pandemic is a major stressor, but there’s a lot else going on in the world, including the rise of fascism, growing inequality, war, environmental crisis, and the general collapse of civilization. A lot of people are giving up.

    I’m a bit baffled that you’d question the results and scientific analysis of a team of epidemiologists, even if they are making some speculative conclusions based on modelling, and instead offer the above “meh” to say, “Well, it might NOT be COVID!”.

    Does it seem plausible to you that during the last half of 2021, over 700 more New Brunswickers than usual just decided to “give up”?

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/excess-deaths-minister-shephard-1.6484641

    What I haven’t seen (and maybe just missed) is the discussion around excess deaths not specifically from people who have contracted COVID (whether they had underlying health issues or not), but rather those people whose care and treatment for other health issues were affected or delayed due to the immediacy of COVID in the health system.

    Are those COVID deaths? I guess not, but they definitely could be considered “COVID-related”.

  3. You made me chortle several times this morning, Tim. I, too, am fairly pop culture illiterate, and don’t care about celebrities doing anything but that section made me roll my eyes AND laugh.