1. Steve Craig

Steve Craig

“It is way too early to read anything of significance from a single constituency byelection in the muddling middle of any government’s mandate,” writes Stephen Kimber. “But let’s give it a shot…”

Click here to read “The Sackville-Cobequid byelection: seeking meaning in the meaningless.”

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2. The Alakai has returned to Yarmouth!

A photo of the Alakai, the ship used for the Yarmouth ferry.
The Alakai. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The Alakai, which hilariously is the Hawaiian-named boat that is leased for the Yarmouth-to-nowhere ferry run, has returned to Yarmouth. The boat left the Detyens Shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina just before noon Eastern Time on Friday and arrived at the Yarmouth ferry terminal yesterday at about 2:45pm.

Presumably, workers are now stocking the vessel with tourist maps and didley didley music, with hopes that the thing might actually bring American tourists and their cash to town sometime in the coming decade.

3. Dal Student Union

People were trying to frantically contact me yesterday about this, but I try to take Sundays off… however, there’s a Medium post about it by Allie Jehle:

Staff and students are fearful for their jobs and the future of the Dalhousie Student Union after three “unjust” terminations, two of which occurred just one day after the full-time staff announced their plan to unionize.

Jo Castillo, the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Union, was terminated on June 14, just six weeks after she was hired. Craig Kennedy, the former General Manager who worked for the DSU for 20 years, was handed papers on June 20 informing him that he would be out of a job. Greg Wright, the Director of Licensed Operations and the Grawood and T-Room Manager who worked in the DSU for 15 years, was also dismissed that morning, just before the campus bar’s closure.

The dismissals occurred just two weeks after the Dalhousie Student Union announced on its Facebook page on May 28 that it had applied for “Prospective Membership with the Canadian Federation of Students and their provincial chapter CFS-NS.”

Jehle writes — wrongly in my view — that “The CFS has remained a controversial part of university politics due to its support and enforcement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policies, which have been acknowledged and condemned as anti-Semitism by the Canadian government.”

There is nothing anti-Semitic about calling the Israeli government to account or the BDS movement, and as I’ve written before, the complete silence on the part of the so-called “free speech advocates” on the efforts of the government to silence the BDS movement is, well, telling.

Regardless, I don’t see how the BDS movement threads into whatever is going on at the DSU. It’s a red herring.

Probably more to the point is that “Posters were placed on the walls in the SUB last week informing people of a vote for the full-time staff to unionize.”

I don’t pretend to understand campus politics. I’m sure there’s more to the story.

4. “Bullied”

Alana Paon had her lunch money taken away.

Last week, the legislature’s management commission denied funding for Alana Paon’s constituency office. Paon is the PC MLA for Cape Breton-Richmond; the commission had demanded that Paon make her office accessible by having the driveway paved, or at least putting in a concrete slab for people who use wheelchairs.

After the commission’s vote, Paon told the Port Hawkesbury Reporter that she was being “bullied and harassed” by the commission.

Remember when the schoolyard thugs would wheel over in their chairs and demand equal access to democracy and when you didn’t give it to them they gave you a wedgie? This is exactly like that.

5. Land titles

“Residents in five black communities across Nova Scotia are inching closer to gaining legal ownership of land they’ve claimed as their own for generations,” reports Sherri Borden Colley for the CBC:

Recent figures provided by the provincial government show 144 applications have been submitted to two community navigators since they started their work with the land titles initiative of the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs in July 2018.

However, one application could include many parcels requiring clarification. It means the total number of parcels involved is approximately 180.

After Nova Scotia’s earliest black settlers arrived in the late 1700s, the government gave them land without providing legal documentation.

Throughout the years, land was handed down to family members. Though many pay taxes on their property, they have never held the deeds.

The lack of deeds was highlighted by NSCC prof Erin Moore’s broadcast journalist class in 2017, in a project called “Untitled.”

6. Nazis

On Saturday, Halifax police issued the following release:

Protest and Counter Protest – Halifax

On the 22nd of June, Halifax Regional Police responded to planned rally/protest and counter protest at Grand Parade Halifax.  The National Citizens Alliance had a permit for a rally/protest and the Halifax Against Hate group planned a counter protest.

At 10:00 a.m. the Halifax Against Hate group has set up in Grand Parade with approximately 150-200 people.  Shortly after noon, members of the National Citizens Alliance arrived with 4 adult males.  Police spoke with both sides in an effort to keep the peace between both groups.

The National Citizens Alliance was not able to set up in Grand Parade and while attempting to do so, a member was assaulted by an adult male from Halifax Against Hate.  Police arrested a 34 year old male from Halifax and he was charged with Breach of the Peace.  A large number of protesters took to the streets.  Multiple patrol officers responded to Grand Parade to restore order and separate the two groups.  Shortly after all involved left the area.

At 2:15 p.m., Halifax Regional Police returned to Grand Parade as the National Citizens Alliance returned and set up a speaker system and sign.  At 2:52 p.m., members of the Halifax Against Hate group returned (wearing masks) and swarmed the National Citizens Alliance members.  One male wearing a mask ripped a sign and took it with him, while other unknown persons assaulted the National Citizens Alliance.

Police intervened arrested the male that damaged the sign and left with the sign.  While in the process of arresting the male, the police officer was also swarmed and deployed Pepper Spray to disperse the crowd.  The protesters from both group eventually left without further incidents.

Police have charged a 28 year old male from Halifax with:

  • Unlawful Assembly,
  • Property Damage,
  • Theft Under $5000

The 28 year old male will be released with a Halifax Court date and an Undertaking with conditions.  No one was reported to police as being injured.  The male arrested and charged was treated by Paramedics for Pepper Spray.

People at the protest had a rather different take on events. The “assault,” says Sandra Hannebohm, was for knocking the Nazi’s hat off:

One arrested for knocking off NCA nationalist party leader Stephen Garvey’s hat at anti-hate demonstration. Lots of police came out, one paddy wagon and about a dozen police on foot/bicycle #nspoli

— Sandra Hannebohm (@SandraHannebohm) June 22, 2019

The National Citizens Alliance is the extremist anti-immigrant, “anti-globalist,” white nationalist group that rained on the Apple Blossom Festival parade back in 2017.

They pop up here in Halifax every few months with tiny groups of four or five people walking down Spring Garden Road or in downtown Dartmouth, and are countered by much larger groups of anti-hate activists.

I don’t know what the right response to Nazis is, but history has shown that we shouldn’t ignore them or think that they are just a fringe group.

7. The Icarus Report

“Air Canada says it is investigating after a passenger claims she woke up alone, still buckled into her seat, on a darkened plane after landing in Toronto,” reports Global:

In a post on Air Canada’s Facebook page, Tiffani Adams said the incident occurred on June 9 following a flight home from Quebec City to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

“I wake up around midnight, few hours after [the] flight landed, freezing cold still strapped in my seat in complete darkness,” Adams said in the post.

Adams said she attempted to call her friends and family but her cellphone died. She attempted to charge her phone but was unable to as the power on the aircraft was off.

Adams said she attempted to call for help using the radio in the plane’s cockpit, but it wouldn’t work without power. She eventually found a flashlight that helped her figure out how to open an exit door. However, as there was no gangway and she was left staring at a “40 to 50-foot drop.”

I want to say Adams found the keys to plane hidden on the door sill, started it up, and flew it back to Quebec, but the actual story is slightly less dramatic:

Adams said she used the flashlight to signal out the window and eventually attracted the attention of a baggage attendant who brought a ladder truck to the plane to rescue her.

I have to take my shoes off and let a teenager feel me up as part of the humiliating security theatre, but some random person can just wander around the cockpit of the plane?

h/t Philip Slayton




Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — something called MUVE Inclusive Technology Solutions is going to shill its software to the committee. MUVE claims to have “an integrated mobility alternative business model that includes accessible, on‐demand, pre‐booked transportation services solution through mobile, desktop, and kiosk applications.”

Grants Committee (Monday, 1pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — the committee will take up the Willow Tree development and that eight-storey building at Gladstone and Almon Streets.


Special City Council (Tuesday, 12:45pm, City Hall) — council is having a special summer meeting to finally approve the Centre Plan, which will be shelved and otherwise ignored by council at the very first opportunity.



No public meetings.


Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) —
Margo Riebe-Butt, the executive director of Nourish Nova Scotia, will talk about the School Breakfast Program.

Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — a bunch of people are going to make up bullshit about “Green Jobs and Economic Development.”

On campus



Thesis Defence, Chemistry (Monday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Luc Leblanc will defend “Development and Applications of Composite and Low-Cost Approaches in Molecular Crystal Structure Prediction.”

Impact: Updates from our 20142019 Strategic Direction (Monday, 10:30am, in the auditorium named after a bank, Marion McCain Building) — Comrades! The five-year plan was a success and lifted the nation to still further prosperity. Come celebrate our glorious leaders.

Irina Paci. Photo:

Modelling of Nanostructured Materials: Capabilities and Challenges (Monday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Irina Paci from the University of Victoria will talk.

Thesis Defence, Interdisciplinary PhD Program (Monday, 1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Kimberly Hernandez​ will defend “Exploring Food Literacy in Nova Scotia Public Schools: A Critical Analysis.”


MSSU NS Bridge Event (Tuesday, 8:30am, Bluenose Ballroom, Hotel Halifax) — info and registration here.

Board of Governors Meeting (Tuesday, 3pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building) — here’s the agenda.

In the harbour

07:45: 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
08:00: Elka Eleftheria, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
10:00: Budapest Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
15:30: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Palm Beach, Florida
17:45: Zaandam sails for Sydney
18:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
21:45: Budapest Bridge sails for Rotterdam

Where are the Canadian military ships?


We’re going to publish an article by Joan Baxter later today. I’m also meeting with my lawyer, sigh. I like the guy and all, but this gets pricey.

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  1. Tim,

    “I don’t know what the right response to Nazis is…”
    Yeh, you do. We all do. 1939 – 45.

  2. Tim, I guess I’m not surprised you picked one thing out of that article about the DSU that allows you to flog one of your favourite subjects. So, not criticism of the DSU for unethical behaviour, including terminating employees who are trying to unionize? If that had been HRM or even Dal management you would have been all over it.

    1. I thought I *did* criticize or at least imply criticism by saying that it was more likely that the unionization drive was the reason for the firings.

      1. Well yes, on a close look there is implicit criticism there. I still believe if this had been Dal management you would have addressed the actual issue of the article. If just seems odd to me given your stance on employment issues that you’d pick the free speech issue out of that article. You don’t bother with defending free speech when its the NCA, nor decry the political “violence” of the counter protesters.

        You can’t please everyone. 🙂

  3. Who is the guy in the burgundy shirt and red hat who intervenes while the police are handcuffing the miscreant?

  4. Ignoring Nazis is a bad idea. But just as I supported the right of the Nazis to obtain a parade permit, just like any other political or public group, and march in Skokie, Illinois, I think we need to allow the NCA to have their rally unmolested. Hatred and bigotry are better exposed when their purveyors are allowed to speak using forums that exist for all free expression in democracies. Forcing these offensive ideas underground is a sure-fire way to give the ideas and their proponents more power and to allow them to attract new followers. Assuming that Halifax Against Hate went through the same procedures as the NCA did to have their rally, Halifax Against Hate has the same right to counter-protest and speak out against hate and the NCA policies. However, knocking the hat off of the NCA leader is indeed an assault (intending to apply force to someone else in a direct or indirect manner, without that person’s consent) and not protected expression of speech. Just as we would not tolerate someone tearing a cross off of someone’s neck, or knocking a religious head coverings off of someone’s head, we should not tolerate someone knocking a hat ( even one emblazoned with hate speech) off of another person’s head unless the wearer consented.

    1. “Forcing these offensive ideas underground is a sure-fire way to give the ideas and their proponents more power and to allow them to attract new followers.”

      This is completely false. Forcing extremist views underground is exactly how you delegitimize them and stop their spread.

      Nazis and associated extreme right wing groups prey on the liberal, democratic value of open expression and “debate” in order to spread their message and recruit more extremists. They claim to be pro-free speech in order to dupe liberals into thinking it is good to allow them to spread their hateful ideology. The same right wing groups who claim to be pro-free speech would absolutely never give their opponents the ability to speak if they had the power to decide such things.

      This may be shocking to some, but besides being genocidal xenophobes, Nazis are also liars, and are lying about their dedication to free speech. Supporting their “free speech” is just support for anti-democratic bigotry.

  5. There is a proposal to hand over governance of planning issues within the boundary of the Centre Plan to juts 5 councillors – Claeary,Mason,Smith,Austin and Mancini.