1. Food banks

Yesterday, Nick Jennery, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia, talked with the legislature’s Community Services committee. Robert Devet picks it up from there:

Meanwhile, the provincial government gives all of $12,000 to Feed Nova Scotia, a fraction of Feed Nova Scotia’s community-funded operating budget of roughly $3.5 million, Jennery told reporters after this morning’s meeting.  

Joyce Treen, couponer extraordinaire

If not money, MLAs had lots of helpful suggestions on how to run Feed Nova Scotia. Like inviting nutritionists to give talks, start more community gardens, hold more food drives, and yes, start couponing.

“For my own section of my riding, South Woodside, which has quite a bit of poverty there, and who have trouble accessing Feed Nova Scotia because of the distance, I created my own little food bank in my office. And somebody in my office has been couponing, and let me tell you, couponing gets you a lot of stuff for very little money,” Liberal MLA Joyce Treen told Feed Nova Scotia executive director Nick Jennery.

“You might want to think about finding some people who are good at couponing, it’s amazing the amount of food you can get,” Treen said.

That’s right: the entire Feed Nova Scotia budget is $3.5 million, a mere $12,000 of which comes from the provincial government, the Liberal government just gushed out $65 million (and counting) in pre-election promises to get themselves reelected, and they’re telling people on the front lines of helping those on the verge of starving to death to… coupon better.

2. Court Watch: the lies we tell ourselves

This week, Christina Macdonald looks at the ongoing murder cases of Christopher Garnier and Nicholas Butcher (who are accused of killing Catherine Campbell and Kristin Johnston, respectively); the refusal of Community Services to help a woman who has to live out of her van to ease her Multiple Chemical Sensitivities; and the case of a man who successfully petitioned to get his name removed from the Child Abuse Registry, in which the judge got philosophical:

What can we know about ourselves? What can others know of us? We humans do avoid admitting what we cannot face to protect ourselves. Often that self-protection does us harm because we are branded as liars and sometimes we are liars. We lie to protect ourselves and others as often as we lie to deceive. Unfortunately, the difference does not usually matter to those in authority.

Sometimes we humans we do not see what others expect us to see and they cannot believe that we have not seen what to them is obvious. Sometimes when we tell what we have seen we are not believed or are later accused of telling what we saw too late and are told we must only have done so because it suited our purpose. Those who analyze us and give us psychological tests find traits that explain us. So they believe. They use words like defensive, manipulative, in denial, angry, unremorseful. They tell us that because of our personalities we cannot be trusted. Without agreeing with their definition, we will never be allowed to escape the labels we are given.

Click here to read “Court Watch: the lies we tell ourselves.”

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

3. Ships Start As Far Away From Here as You Can Possibly Go

Irving Shipyard. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Australians could be the newest recruits to the Halifax Shipyard after Irving Shipbuilding began a recruitment campaign Down Under,” reports Francis Willick for Local Xpress:

A recent newspaper ad in the Sydney Daily Telegraph says, “We’re growing our team to help revitalize Canada’s combatant fleet” and encourages would-be Irving employees to apply for jobs online. The ad notes that interviews in Australia will take place in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in late April.


Steve Conrad, the business agent and financial secretary of Unifor/Marine Workers Federation Local 1, says the company has been known to recruit and hire workers in Europe and Korea, and it comes as no surprise that it is also looking for employees in Australia.

“They’re actively recruiting in these countries for Canadian jobs. Surely to God there’s people in Canada that can do these jobs,” he said.

Conrad admitted that certain positions, such as combat specialist engineer, may require global recruitment, since such employees would need highly specialized knowledge.

“I could see that, but not ironworkers and welders and just general shipyard workers.”

5. Argyle Street

“The Argyle Street streetscape project will be worth the wait according to Halifax Mayor Mike Savage and Halifax Downtown Coun. Waye Mason,” reports Anjuli Patil, who does that weird thing where a CBC reporter makes a separate news article for the web out of stuff people said on the Mainstreet radio program.

Anyway, let me just quote the politicians and yell out comments from the bleachers:

“I think everybody will benefit when the work is done,” added Mason. “Everybody around the Nova Centre is hurting, right? And it’s not just the ones where the streetscaping is going … we’ve never had a $500-million construction site happen in downtown, so it’s a big issue.”

Where are you getting this frickin’ $500 million, eh? As I reported Friday, EllisDon is calling it a $219 million construction project. Throw in a few million for digging the hole, and yeah, sure, you had to pay the architect and no matter what you paid him he was overpaid, but sure, and the city gets its share for the inspectors and whatnot, and Tim Merry got 200K for his bad rhymes and woo-woo music, but no way in hell is this project worth more than $300 million at best. So stop with the $500 million already, OK? That’s just some bullshit number thrown out to make it look like the governments were leveraging real money with their $161 million payout and not, ya know, subsidizing the entire ugly deal.

“The businesses on Argyle Street have every opportunity to take advantage of the dividend of having the convention centre but also having this beautiful new streetscape which I think people are going to be blown away by when it’s done,” Savage said.

Interesting choice of words, “blown away.”

YouTube video

“We’re talking about making it as easy as possible and limit the long-term pain and maximize the long-term gain,” [said Savage].

Tell the people at Inkwell you’ve been making it at easy as possible and limiting the long-term pain, why don’t you, and see if their normally peaceful artsy selfs don’t smack you upside the head with four years of pent-up rage. I’m surprised they’ve been able to hang on as long as they have. Tell that to the bars and restaurants who have lost millions. You really could not be more insulting, with your “making it as easy as possible” bullshit.

Mason said other businesses are seeing the potential of the street when it’s finished. He said the Economy Shoe Shop being sold last week is an example.

Yeah, right buddy, just as like how when the scrap dealer buys all the garbage people leave in storage units because they can’t afford the rent it proves just how much potential the storage junk has, or just like when a drunk tourist drives a BMW off a cliff and it explodes in a fire ball and the scrapyard sends a tow truck to haul the mess back up the cliff and they squeeze it into a little metal box and ship it to Indonesia to be made into a tiny part of the next supertanker, it proves just how much potential that BMW has.

Here’s what’s going to happen on Argyle: the Toothy Moose, not exactly the exemplar of upstanding bar operations, is going to control the entire mid-block stretch of bars on the east side of the street, flanked on the north corner by whatever The Carleton turns into and on the south corner by the idiotic Irish bar out of a box, and the west side of the street will be entirely absorbed at street level by a gigantic Bier Market outlet, which will sell overpriced booze to people who now go to the Dome because they think they’ll be stepping up in sophistication. Meanwhile, anyone with any sense will have long ago escaped to the north end hipster joints. Argyle Street is going to be “happening” in the same way that Disneyland is “happening.”

6. Disappearing languages

I worry that like Cumbric or Beothukan, the language of Nova Scotia may one day disappear, subsumed into the monolithic North American bland, and we’ll never again hear such turns of phrase like this, uttered by cab driver Pat McGowan after an otherwise unimportant hit-and-run in the north end:

“Buddy made a wide right turn and creamed me,” said McGowan.


1. Burnside Expressway

The red line shows the approximate route of the original proposal, the yellow line shows the current alignment referred to in the 2017 twinning/tolling study.

Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler provides a good detailed explanation of what the proposed Burnside Expressway is all about, and raises some interesting questions, including one about why the proposed routing of the highway has been changed.

Click here to read “Should we build a Burnside expressway?”

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

2. Health promises

I don’t have time to parse it, but Richard Starr has written a blog post on “Reality shreds Liberal health promises.”

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the New Glasgow News:

Congratulations Pictou County on demonstrating the utter lack of intelligence and common sense you so obviously possess in regard to conducting yourselves properly around wild animals.

I understand the draw and appeal of a moose in the vicinity, the excitement of searching for and seeing it. I, myself, was thrilled to have seen him, from a safe and respectable distance.

But when you conduct yourselves as abhorrently as you have during this latest occurrence, I could only wish there were some form of punishment, a large fine perhaps, for the way you’ve behaved.

I’m referring to the individuals who have flocked to the area and felt the overwhelming urge to approach the moose, to allow their children to try to approach it, to chase it, to trespass onto other’s properties to get closer to the moose.

Have you forgotten that this is a large wild animal? That it does not fear humans and that it will charge you if provoked? That it has the potential to cause you serious harm?

The worst part of this is that if one of you overly intelligent individuals got hurt, it would be the innocent moose who would pay the ultimate price.

I’m disgusted with your conduct and with the fact that you will not face any punishment for your behaviour.

Whoever said human beings were an intelligent life form obviously hasn’t paid much attention.

Sarah Norris, New Glasgow




Special Events Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 9am, City Hall) — changes to bylaws that will interest no one except for grant-seeking orgs.

Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee(Wednesday, 1pm, City Hall) — a pop-up soccer stadium on the Wanderer’s Grounds.

Special Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Prospect Road Community Centre) — the committee is reviewing Chapter 6 of the Western Common Wilderness Master Plan:

In Chapter 6, the Master Plan is presented in five phases, with an outline of park amenities, waterways and trail systems to be developed. The Plan also includes cost estimates and an implementation timeframe. Wilderness Common’s development as a regional park will be phased over a period of twenty years, with the exception of areas currently occupied by the Otter Lake Solid Waste Management Facility, which will likely require a sixty-year operational and closeout monitoring period to enable it to be fully incorporated within the park. [emphasis added]

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, the four-pad arena named for a fucking bank, Bedford) — more zoning changes for the ever-evolving Bedford West.


Environment and Sustainability Committee (1pm, City Hall) — the Blue Urbanism Project will be discussed.

Harbour East–Marine Drive Community Council (6pm, HEMDCC space, Alderney Landing) — here’s the agenda.



Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — Denise Perret, deputy minister at Health & Wellness, will be asked about “Emergency Room Accountability and Collaborative Emergency Centres.”


No public meetings.

On campus



“All Humans are Human” (Wednesday, 7pm, McInnes Room) — Roméo Dallaire will speak.

Smoke Signals (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Chris Eyre’s 1998 film.

In the harbour

Halifax Harbour, 9:15 Wednesday. Map:

2am: Palena, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Cagliari, Italy
3:30am: CSCL America, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York
3:30am: Vega Omega, cargo ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida
4pm: Pagna, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea

6am: ZIM Barcelona, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from New York
6am: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from Valencia, Spain


I’ll be on the Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

Tim Bousquet

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

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. Marieke Walsh reported the other bone-headed thing Treen had to say:
    “Asked if she would like the government to come up with a broader solution to hunger in Nova Scotia, she said she would like to see a special budget for individual MLAs to use at their discretion. She said the money could “help people” with food and other items.”

    Yes indeed, no need for broader solutions or addressing systemic causes of poverty or updating the income assistance program: just give MLAs more discretionary funds.

    It’s especially funny, because if you don’t follow NS politics closely, and only read the more popular news stories, it’s possible the last time you saw Treen in the news was about MLAs buying promotional items. It was a non-story in my view, but did have these great details:
    “The biggest spender, by far, is Joyce Treen, the MLA for Cole Harbour Eastern Passage. Since the rule change, she has bought $7,196.76 in non-traditional giveaways [>20% of total spending by all MLAs on promotional items]. The purchases include fly swatters, fans, cleaning cloths, tote bags, hand sanitizers, ice scrapers, beach balls, pens, travel toothbrushes, cutlery and bandages.

    “I have constituents whose children don’t even have a toothbrush, so you know what, yes, my address is on it but there’s a toothbrush for that kid to brush his teeth.”

    I’m just picturing branded cans of soup, proudly purchased with coupons, bearing her name and address.

  2. Thanks to Robert Devet for crystallizing how misbegotten government has become regarding those less fortunate in our society. Why put money into those slack assed and useless hungry people?

    Much more important to provide good money and jobs to enterprising PR hacks and tax credits so the executives at Irving can have taxpayer financed trips to Australia to hire for jobs that could go to Canadians.

    Where is the outrage? I won’t even bring up the Bombardier exec bonus scandal and the people who rationalize for the bonuses because the execs successfully lobbied for a government bailout and should be rewarded.

    Seriously where are our priorities as human beings?

    1. Irving would not be in Australia if there were Canadians with the requisite qualifications and experience, and were ready,willing and able to move to Halifax.
      Three years ago they were in the UK looking for people with naval defence related skills and I was in Scotland when Irving was in Glasgow looking to entice Scots who had worked on the construction of naval vessels at BAE. Irving is in Australia looking for the people who work or have worked on the Australian naval programme.
      Don’t fall for the union bleating, if the union had the members here they would have a job at Irving.


        ” We’ve recently delivered warships to Brazil and Oman, while here in the UK the future fleet flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has now been launched. Our combat systems are in operation with more than 20 countries around the world and this technology is vital in providing crew members with the information and capabilities they need to operate effectively, whether protecting the world’s shipping lanes or providing humanitarian relief.
        By joining us, you’ll be working on projects that will help safeguard our nation for generations to come, including the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels and Type 26 Global Combat Ships, while also being a part of our exciting transformation into a world class naval engineering business.”

  3. Re: foodbanks

    the MLA’s comments are right up there with Marie Antoinette’s famous line “let them eat cake”. So uninformed, so out of touch. presumably just like the rest of the Liberal Government caucus. Foodbanks are a daily reminder of the failure of government to effectively deal with poverty. If government social assistance was working properly, there would be no need for foodbanks. So in the meantime, how about moving the decimal point two spaces to the right for support to this absolutely essential service. You can deduct it from the IBM handout.

  4. Well there is couponing, and there is coupon clipping. The latter refers to the rich, the former to the poor. So the ‘deserving poor’ of the Eastern Shore can go to Joyce Treen’s office for a few food leftovers– and coupons.

  5. How does the traffic congestion for Burnside compare to that which exists the downtown Halifax core as a result of the container pier? From an economy point of view, which location would benefit the most from a new transportation routing solution? New expressway for Burnside, move the container pier, or build the third bridge across the harbour… which one gives the greatest economic benefit to HRM, in the long run?

  6. I wonder how the Bengal Lancer’s horses will feel about a soccer field and roaring fans next door? No one has mentioned the horses. I hope the stables are sund proof.

  7. The 2017 assessed value of the Big Blue Glass Monster is $65,000,300. The valuation date is January 1 2016.
    Prior years :
    2016 $42,279,300
    2015 $29,500,000