1. Violence against Indigenous fishers

Inshore lobster fishery. Photo: Krista Fulton

This item is written by Tim Bousquet.

The violence from white fishermen in response to Indigenous fishermen claiming their “moderate livelihood” rights escalated sharply in West Pubnico Tuesday night, and I fear that unless there is significant intervention by government, this could very well lead to people dying.

The RCMP were evidently inadequately prepared for events. According to Maureen Googoo’s reporting, it took RCMP officers two hours to arrive in West Pubnico after Jason Marr called 911. Even then, it’s clear from video from the scene that the officers were overwhelmed by the violent crowd, estimated to be about 200 people. In any event, the officers weren’t able to stop the crowd from burning a van and releasing and destroying lobster. Even on Wednesday, the RCMP didn’t issue a release about the incident until 1:15pm.

It raises the question: Are the RCMP too under-resourced to respond to this situation? Are they, as some critics charge, not properly deploying the resources they do have?

Recall what Wade Parker, a councillor in Colchester County, told the Examiner after the Portapique massacre:

I know for a fact that we are not getting the proper policing that we’re paying for and this in turn has left the community very vulnerable.

Yesterday, I asked Premier Stephen McNeil if he thought the RCMP response was adequate. He dodged the question and said instead the federal government should immediately get Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers “talking at the same table.”

McNeil isn’t wrong about that. Anyone concerned about this issue should take the time to read Linda Pannozzo and Joan Baxter’s three-part series, “Lobster fishery at a crossroads” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). It provides the larger context of the current conflict; I came out of it understanding that the “moderate livelihood” matter is essentially inconsequential compared to the much larger concerns of predatory corporate aims and climate change. A cynic would suggest that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is purposefully using the moderate livelihood issue to foster an atmosphere that will allow the Clearwaters of the world to take over the fishery completely.

But that said, there is an immediate concern about violence. It’s all well and good to blame and fault DFO, but people are being threatened right now, and there doesn’t appear to be sufficient protective intervention.

Suzanne Rent adds:

Last night, Joan Baxter sent along this video shared on Facebook of a conversation between Sipekne’katik Chief Michael Sack and Acadian fisher Joel Comeau. Baxter interviewed both Sack and Comeau in part 2 of her lobster fishery series. This is an encouraging and peaceful dialogue between Sack and Comeau.

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2. Kayla Borden frustrated with delays in investigating her complaint against Halifax Regional Police

Kayla Borden — Photo: YouTube / Hanna Butler

Zane Woodford talks with Kayla Borden, who say she’s frustrated with the lack of urgency and transparency from the Halifax Regional Police who are investigating her late-night arrest last summer.

Borden, who’s African Nova Scotia, told her story to El Jones after it happened and chronicled the details of that night in Burnside.

The lights [on the wagon] were not on, which I thought was weird, so I waited about 10 seconds, and then about 5-6 more cop cars came out of nowhere and swarmed me in the intersection from all directions.

Two white officers approached me. I couldn’t see if they had their guns out or not. They yelled, “Put your hands on the steering wheel.” I was so scared wondering what was going on. After I put my hands on the wheel, the same cop immediately started yelling at me to get out of the car.

I had my window rolled down, and he grabbed open my car door. He pulled me out of the car and told me “You’re under arrest.” They put me in handcuffs. I was asking, “For what?” He told me, “We will see in a minute.”

Borden filed a complaint with the police department and says she was met with resistance, and told that incident wasn’t on file. Borden later contacted Dartmouth lawyer Devin Maxwell and they filed a complaint.

Borden did get to talk with an officer for about half an hour back in mid-August, but she nor Maxwell heard anything again until the end of September. That’s when Borden got a letter saying the sergeant had been granted a 60-day extension to the investigation. Borden says:

I just don’t understand how it could take them 30 minutes for the investigating officer to come speak to me, and to get me to replay what happened, but … they gave him … 60 more days to investigate his coworkers.

Maxwell says none of the officers involved have been interviewed yet. Borden and Maxwell have filed a freedom of information request for the file on the incident.

Click her to read Woodford’s complete article.

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3. The Tideline: Episode 1

Kathryn McCormack

This item is written by Tim Bousquet.

The first episode of The Tideline podcast is published! This week, Tara Thorne speaks with Eastern Front Theatre’s brand-new artistic director, Kathryn McCormack, about the state of the stage arts in Nova Scotia, Kat’s plans for the company (cue the digital noises), and what the future could look like on stage. Plus this week’s big art party, a new track by Sorrey, and gearing up for Miranda July’s Kajillionaire.

The above paragraph is the blurb for the episode. Now my take: it’s fantastic to hear smart women discuss the arts, and it’s even fantastic-er to hear Tara’s unrestrained opinions. Truly, it’s refreshing to have informed arts criticism unmitigated by advertising concerns and the like. Tara and Kat simply spell out the history of Eastern Front, warts and all.

The Tideline is a subscriber-supported podcast. Those of you who have already subscribed should have seen Episode 1 show up in your podcast feed this morning at 7:30. For those who haven’t yet subscribed, skedaddle over to here and sign up for just $5/month — less than the cost of a pumpkin latte! — to support independent arts journalism in Nova Scotia.

The plan is to leave every other episode in front of the paywall so people can assess the podcast before dropping less than the cost of a pumpkin latte, but alas, I’m stumbling this morning on the tech side of the free feed. I’ll figure it out, and it’ll come out later today; if you subscribed to the old Examineradio podcast feed, it will be there, if not, check back to this page.

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4. No blanket closures at hospitals during second wave of COVID-19

Dr. Brendan Carr. Photo: Nova Scotia Health Authority

Jennifer Henderson was at the meeting of the Legislature’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday and learned that if there’s a second wave of COVID-19, hospitals won’t respond the way the did in the spring when all but emergency and cancer treatment appointments were cancelled. Dr. Brendan Carr, president of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), told the committee:

We showed we could do that but we also recognize it had unintended consequences and people were not able to access regular services. The very strict restrictions on visitations also had a huge impact on patients, their families, and our caregivers. So, for the second wave we are taking what I would call more of an incremental approach and instead of thinking of the province as a single unit we are thinking about it more geographically. We are developing a scaled approach depending on what is happening in a community. Our objective is to minimize the disruption to services while at the same time having a plan that would allow us to escalate in a particular zone depending on the conditions related to COVID.

How hospitals will respond in a second wave of COVID-19 actually wasn’t the reason the public accounts committee met. Henderson reports the committee wanted to talk about the concerns raised in the auditor general’s report from October 19. The auditor general made recommendations to help reduce the risk of fraud at the NSHA and raised concerns about cyberattacks, which could compromise privacy or involve breaches of patients’ health information. Henderson reports that Carr told the committee all the recommendations have been implemented and employees at the NSHA will take an online training course to learn how to identify fraud risks.

Henderson also got an update on when the electronic health records system One Patient One Record will be introduced in Nova Scotia.

Click here to read Henderson’s entire article.

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5. City Hall: A toxic workplace?

Halifax City Hall in August 2020. — Photo: Zane Woodford

Robert Devet at the Nova Scotia Advocate looks at old complaints about bullying and harassment at City Hall. The complaints resurfaced last week after Cathie Barrington, who worked as a manager with the HRM Council Support Office until last year, posted racist comments on a news story on social media about the SIRT reports on the arrests of Santina Rao and Demario Chambers.

Devet talks with an unnamed former HRM employee who worked with Barrington. The employee tells Devet:

For me the problem is that HRM knew about Barrington’s management style. When I complained they told me I was not credible. But now it’s in the Herald and we have screenshots. So many people went to Human Resources and complained that the department ordered a workplace assessment.

Devet reports that an internal assessment was done that included recommendations that were never followed up on. That former employee went on sick leave and was eventually fired by the city.

Some of the reports about the toxic environment at City Hall came from councillors, including Jackie Barkhouse, who was Councillor for District 8 (at that time, Woodside-Eastern Passage) from 2007 to 2012. Barkhouse spoke with Devet about the issues back in 2018 and says former mayor Peter Kelly dismissed her complaints and she felt “isolated.”

Devet reached out to the HRM for a response and spokesperson Maggie-Jane Spray says the municipality has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and harassment and that employees can make anonymous reports to human resources.

I don’t know all the details about the situation at City Hall. I wrote about working in toxic workplaces a couple of weeks ago. Many places that are toxic do have policies against bullying and harassment. Some places offer sensitivity training. But some workplaces are just rotten to the core. Toxic workplaces don’t get better until someone leaves.

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Living your best life with a life coach

I’m not sure what algorithms Facebook has on me, but I’ve been getting ads for life coaches for a while now. Maybe it’s because I’m a middle-aged woman and Facebook either thinks I need a life coach or I should be one. I’m not sure which is better.

There’s a coach for everything these days. There are coaches for executives, careers, dating, health, fitness, wealth, entrepreneurs, and spirituality. There are even coaches for the coaches. But the life coaches are the generalists of the coaching business. I always wondered who had their life together enough to coach others on how to live their lives.

For me, the term life coach reeks of optimism — too much of it, really. Does a life coach need to have a life before they start coaching? These life coaches on Facebook seem to love the same words like authenticity, abundance, and empowerment. They also love alliteration in their mottos. Some promise to help you live your best life (I think I’m already living mine?) Based on a lot of the ads, life coaches love positivity and inspirational quotes. And exclamation points!!! And emojis of hearts, hugs, and xoxoxo. All of this makes me very suspicious, so I decided to get off Facebook and learn about real-life life coaches.

Yesterday I spoke with Dr. Mandy Wintink, who’s the CEO at Centre for Applied Neuroscience (CAN). She has a PhD in psychology and neuroscience from Dalhousie. She’s also a life coach and started the training program at CAN about 10 years ago. She’s now in Toronto, but started her coaching practice in Halifax in 2006. Back then, there weren’t many life coaches in Halifax, but she connected with many more when she moved to Toronto four years later. While some of the ads on Facebook offer training for life coaching in a weekend session at a local motel, the training at CAN is more intensive and includes in-class training and a practicum. Anyone applying for the program needs an undergraduate degree. Many of her students are from across Canada or the U.S.

Wintink says there’s been a big surge in interest in life coaching in the last decade and says part of that may be because life coaching doesn’t have the stigma therapy does, although she says sometimes the outcomes are very similar. Says Wintink:

Strategy and planning are a big part of coaching and you don’t walk away from a therapist saying we’ve been strategizing on my life and my plan for going forward. The process of going through this can end up with a lot of benefits as therapy, but we just take a different approach.

Life coaching focuses on looking forward while therapy usually focuses on looking at a client’s past and dealing with issues like trauma or grief. Wintink says life coaches are also trained to know when they can’t work with a client, because they might need to work with a therapist instead.

Wintink says many of her clients are professionals have disposable income and some organizations and even school systems hire life coaches. She says many of the clients have a lot of demands in their lives and don’t know how to balance it all. Many are women, including mothers with careers who are struggling to balance everything (maybe these women need better partners?). Wintink says more men are working with life coaches, too.

She says she helps people figure out why people do the things they do and how they could do them differently. She may work with a client one time or over several sessions. Some clients come back after a while to work on new goals.

As for the training at CAN, Wintink says some of the students are managers who want to be better bosses. Some students are from specific fields like nursing who go on to coach other nurses.

The International Coaching Federation is a non-profit that represents all kinds of professional coaches. According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study commissioned by the federation and and completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), there are 77,000 professional coaches around the world with 24,500 of those practicing in North America. About 13% of those coaches internationally are “life vision or enhancement” coaches. That number is 11% for Canada.

Bobbi Beuree is a life coach in Halifax. Up until last year, she worked at Saint Mary’s University where she was doing academic and life skills coaching with students for about nine years. She also has a certificate in professional counselling. She got her life coaching certification from CAN in 2010 and was in Wintink’s first class. Beuree says she got into life coaching because it complemented the work she was already doing. Last year, she started her own private practice, East Coast Coaching and Consulting.

Bobbi Beuree is a life coach for her own practice, East Coast Coaching and Consulting.

Beuree says therapy and life coaching can complement each other. Sometimes clients do need more than what a life coach can provide, so part of her role may be referring a client to a therapist instead. She also does post-secondary life coaching, which includes guidance on self-management, resilience, how a client communicates, time management, and goal setting. She offers prospective clients a free “discovery call” to figure out if life coaching is a fit.

She works with clients who want to work on their stress levels, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, lifestyle habits, and self-care, but she says she also works to empower her clients. She says sometimes clients have goals that are very specific, but more often clients just aren’t happy with how their lives are going and they’re not sure what direction to take. But coaches don’t tell clients what to do. Says Beuree:

That’s the great thing about coaching — we know the right questions to ask on how to find their path. People don’t want to burden others and they don’t want to change the dynamics in their relationships. That’s neither healthy or unhealthy. It just is a fact. If you’re a good life coach, you’re not really giving advice. You’re guiding them to find their own conclusions.

A session with a life coach can be less expensive than a session with a psychologist. But the costs for a life coach aren’t covered by insurance, and the life coaching industry isn’t regulated in Canada. I contacted the ICF, and they do offer a credentialling program for coaches, who must follow a code of ethics.

Wintink thinks maybe it should be regulated, at least for the public’s benefit.

There are some excellent coaches out there who just put up a shingle and called themselves a life coach; they figured it out, they’re self-taught. As long as there’s some kind of mechanism for good life coaches to exist, I think it would be nice for the public to regulate that.

As for the term “life coach”, both Wintink and Beuree say they weren’t fans of the title at first either. Says Wintink:

I went through the process of asking, ‘What’s a different title I could use?’ I see a lot of coaches going through the training trying to pick other titles. The problem is life coaching as an industry has been moving and it’s an easy way to capture what we’re doing. Helping people plan and strategize in different aspects of their lives. I kind of see it as a general practitioner. I can help with most things in life, but when it’s a specific domain, you should go see someone else.

Beuree says when she first when into private practice, she was trying to think of any other name to describe her title.

But the more I kept circling around it, I kept coming back to, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is.’

Honestly, these interviews didn’t turn out how I expected. I thought I’d get one of those coaches with big sales pitches, telling me how they could help me live a life of abundance and make a seven-figure salary. Like Tony Robbins on stage yelling at people. I know they exist and I’ll never be a fan of Robbins, who just seems like a con artist. Maybe life coaching is one way of finding direction, and all of us are looking for that somehow. Maybe you get that guidance from a priest or a pastor or from a group of friends or from a bottle of wine. Some of those methods work better than others. I think it’s unfortunate there’s still a stigma around therapy, though.

Wintink says she’s not a fan of those Facebook ads for life coaching either.

All the typical claims like, “I’m going to make your life better!” or “You’re going to make this much money!” I’m always wary of that. The overpromising is a big sign.

For skeptics, be skeptical because not all coaches are like that. That works for some people. Maybe they do feel like they need to totally transform their life. There’s such a variability of life coaching, if you’re interested in life coaching, I wouldn’t turn it off because of one bad ad. I would wait for the right one to come your way. There are lots of people out there who are coaches in specific industries. Anything that gives you the heebie jeebies, let it go.

Beuree says client should do their homework, too. She suggests people check the credentials of a life coach, visit their website and see if they have processes for booking appointments and invoicing. Like Wintink, Beuree knows there are life coaches out there overselling their abilities.

I am very hesitant when I see someone lobbing out a bunch of promises about what they can offer. To me that’s a red flag.

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Yesterday, Dr. Robert Strang encouraged Nova Scotians to get a flu shot. As Emma Davie at CBC reports, Strang says the first shipments of flu shots have arrived, although Strang says getting a shot anytime over the next eight weeks is fine.

I’ve seen the signs at pharmacies for a few weeks now, probably earlier than in previous years. But I’ve also seen the same myths about the flu shot circulating on social media, such as the flu shot gives you the flu or people never get the stomach flu, so they don’t need the flu shot. It’s so frustrating to see these same myths circulate every year.

My kid and I have been getting flu shots every year since 2010. That spring we were both very sick with the flu and missed a week of school and work. Neither of us have been sick with the flu since.

Davie talked with a couple of pharmacists who said they are getting more calls from patients wanting flu shots this season. Robin Ogilvie, pharmacy manager of Guardian Rockingham Pharmacy tells Davie they have additional staff booked to handle the appointments for flu shots.

The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) has a list of myths about the flu shot. You can click here to read it.

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No meetings.

On campus



Reclaiming Power and Place Virtual Read (Thursday, 10:30am) — a group reading of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019). More info here.

Topos (Thursday, 12pm) — architecture lecture with Kristina Hill from the University of California, Berkeley, and Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo. More info and link here.

Recent progress in the understanding of the nodal structure of random functions (Thursday, 2:30pm) — somebody’s going to explain that

The nodal set of a nice function defined on a smooth manifold or the Euclidean space is its zero set. The study of nodal sets of Gaussian random fields has positioned itself in the heart of several disciplines, including probability theory and spectral geometry, and, more recently, it has exhibited connections to number theory. We are interested in the asymptotic topology and geometry of the nodal lines in the high energy limit.

In the first part of the talk I will give an overview of the classical results in this field, and the related methods. In the second part of the talk I will describe the more recent progress, related to percolation properties of the nodal lines, inspired by the beautiful percolation model due to Bogomolny-Schmit. Finally, I will describe the recent results obtained in a joint work with D. Beliaev and S. Muirhead on the relation between the percolation properties of the nodal sets and their connectivity measures, that were defined and whose existence was established in a joint work with P. Sarnak.​

More info here.

Concord Floral (Thursday, 7:30pm) — Ann-Marie Kerr directs Jordan Tannihill’s play in the Fountain School’s first online show of the season. Performances to Friday evening, matinee Saturday at 2pm. More info here.


Concord Floral (Friday, 7:30pm) — Ann-Marie Kerr directs Jordan Tannihill’s play in the Fountain School’s first online show of the season. Matinee and audience talk-back Saturday at 2pm. More info here.


Strength of the Human Spirit: COVID19 Isolation, Loneliness & Societal Change (Saturday, 12pm) — Zoom presentation and workshop with Terry Waite, humanitarian kidnapped and held in solitary confinement for nearly five years. More info here.

Anatomy of a Massacre: Cato Manor, South Africa, 1960 (Friday, 3:30pm) — Gary Kynoch will present this Stokes Seminar. Email this person for the link.

Saint Mary’s


Evaluating sources (Thursday, 4:30pm) — Learn how to evaluate search results, articles, websites, and more. Info and webinar link here.


Evaluating sources (Friday, 12pm) — description above.



Racism, Opacity, Ethics: the Role of Recognition in Racial Justice (Thursday, 7pm) — Eyo Awara from Loyola University will talk. More info and link here.

In the harbour

06:30: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
10:45: Grande New Jersey, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Savona, Italy
11:45: Skogafoss, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Portland
14:00: Tampa Trader, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
15:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
15:00: Pacific Constructor, offshore supply ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea
16:00: Spaarnegracht, cargo ship, sails from Pier 27 for sea
16:30: Grande New Jersey sails for sea
17:00: Acadian sails for sea
22:00: Augusta Unity, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for Rotterdam
22:30: Tampa Trader sails for Kingston, Jamaica


On Tuesday, I cast my vote via phone for the municipal election. It was easy and quick, although I learned yesterday some voters had issues getting a PIN number to vote (online and phone voting closed at 7 p.m. last night). I do miss going to a poll the day of the election and voting with a paper ballot. I also missed taking my kid with me. I have been taking her to election polls with me since she was a babe in arms. She’s almost old enough to vote now.

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Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent and on Mastodon

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  1. Thanks for the info on life coaching.

    It’s my understanding that, apart from things like psychological assessments for psychologists, in NS the titles of mental health professionals (counselling therapist and social worker, for example) are legally protected but their practices are not; meaning that people can literally do therapy as long as they don’t call themselves something protected (e.g. counselling therapist).

    That seems problematic to me in some ways, but I guess means that life coaches could be doing all the same things as therapists, theoretically?

  2. I too used to feel strongly about voting on Election Day. It seemed to be democracy-in-action — something of importance we all did together on the same day. And we took our son with us, from a very young age, so he would always understand its significance. At a certain point, I started to go to the advance poll — I just wanted to make sure I got it done. This year — Covid — I decided that online was my best option. It was very simple and uncomplicated. I can well imagine that voting numbers will be up.

  3. The ignorance and wanton disregard for the law by these
    settler fishers and the unwillingness of the RCMP to do anything to stop their mob mentality actions is nothing short of shameful and racist.
    Also, the CBC recently stated in an article that they were not allowed to attend a recent rally held by said settler fishers.
    Maybe so but that does not excuse their one sided reporting and superficial examination of the past and present issues regarding this ongoing issue.

    1. We are all settlers, all of us alive today. Settlers inhabited the world and moved around the earth spreading knowledge and being innovative and adapting to changing times and conditions. Humankind has not been static and we are better for the movement of settlers from one area of settlement to another area on earth. Been like that since humans walked the earth.
      And the federal government needs to settle this dispute ASAP by sitting down at tables and working out a solution that ends violence.

      1. The definition of ‘indigenous’ doesn’t imply that people never moved around or never same from elsewhere (to my understanding). It’s supposed to be that the ways of knowing, culture, and language came from this land. So Mi’kmaq are indigenous to this land and the rest of us are settlers, by that definition.