On campus
In the harbour


1. Younger

Andrew Younger
Andrew Younger

After Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced a ban on fracking in Nova Scotia, he received death threats from a man upset about the loss of employment prospects, reports the CBC:

“You have made sure I have no job and I have time to wait for you,” the letter states.

The letter directly threatens Younger’s life. It ends with the warning, “Your time is done.”

There is a third page, received at Younger’s office the same day. It contains a crudely-drawn message: “DIE FUCKER.”

While police were investigating the death threat they learned of an earlier, unrelated alleged assault on Younger by former Liberal staffer Tara Gault. After Gault was charged, Younger took a leave of absence from his ministerial duties. She will appear in court on January 28.

2. Pedestrian struck by truck, killed

A man was killed at the corner of Mills Drive and Prospect Road, in Goodwood near Long Lake Park. Google maps
A man was killed at the corner of Mills Drive and Prospect Road, in Goodwood near Long Lake Park. Google maps

Details are still sketchy, but a man walking near Goodwood was struck and killed by a truck last night. The Chronicle Herald’s Davene Jeffrey has the most details:

The collision happened around 6:10 pm as the truck was turning off Prospect Road and onto Mills Drive, RCMP Cpl. Jadie Spence said.


A man who arrived at the scene just after the accident said that at first the driver didn’t realize he had hit someone,

“He thought it was a bad pothole,” the man said. “He stopped the truck and backed up and when he got out of the vehicle he saw buddy laying there.”

The driver hit the man with his back tires and not the front of the vehicle, said the man who asked not to be identified.

3. Otter Lake violations

The provincial Department of Environment is charging the city with violations of the Environment Act in the operation of the Otter Lake dump, reports the CBC:

Last month, an enforcement officer with the provincial Environment Department sought a warrant to seize lab results, data and reports analyzing the amount of total suspended solids in samples of surface water discharge.

The warrant says between February 2013 and January 2014, the municipality notified the department of 20 samples that exceeded approved levels.

The city is contesting the charges. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

4. Council meeting

Halifax council meets today. I’ve published a preview of the meeting, here.

This article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.

5. Dalhousie

Some members of the Dalhousie Senate want the investigation of the misogynistic Facebook group to be taken out of the hands of the Faculty of Dentistry and instead be conducted by the Senate. Philosophy prof and Senate member Letitia Meynell made a motion to that effect at yesterday’s Senate meeting. “There’s a real question of perception in the general public and whether it (the faculty investigation) will be enough to restore confidence,” she told the group. The meeting ended before a vote could be taken on Meynell’s motion, but it’s possible that a special Senate meeting will be scheduled to consider the matter.

6. Wild Kingdom

Photo: Katie Baker via the Yarmouth Vanguard
Photo: Katie Baker via the Yarmouth Vanguard


In yet another example that something is seriously amiss with our oceans, people on lobster boats and on beaches in southwest Nova Scotia are finding record numbers of a strange creature called a salp. Explains reporter Carla Allen, with the Yarmouth Vanguard:

The marine animals, called salps, are similar to jellyfish but with long, hollow, barrel-shaped bodies.

They feed on phytoplankton by pumping water through their bodies and are more closely related to vertebrates.

Salps are the fastest-growing multi-cellular animals in the world. Some species can grow as fast as 10 per cent of their body length each hour.


Scientists from DFO supplied more information on the species, saying they grow faster in warm than cold water, but food supply is probably more important than temperature in controlling their growth. They can rapidly deplete their phytoplankton food supply through overgrazing.

Salps have a complex life cycle, alternating between a sexually reproducing colonial stage and an asexually reproducing solitary stage. Under the right conditions, they grow very rapidly and can form dense blooms.

DFO scientists say there were several salp blooms reported in various parts of the northwest Atlantic in 2014, including an unusual bloom on the Burin Peninsula and several reports of salp blooms in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy.

In DFO’s ocean monitoring program for the Canadian northwest Atlantic, salps are seen occasionally in localized blooms, most often in the warmer parts of the region in the fall.

Warm ocean temperatures

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.32.47 AM

Via Kings County News:

Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Maine remained unusually high this fall, according to the newly released Gulf of Maine Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook. Warmer temperatures in the Gulf have ripple effects throughout the marine ecosystem, and the latest issue of Outlook describes some of the impacts that scientists are seeing on phytoplankton and fisheries.

Boa constrictor

A man travelling to Nova Scotia left a boa constrictor behind in an Owen Sound, Ontario hotel room. The one-and-a-half-metre-long creature was discovered five or six days later.


1. Flying carpets

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

In the latest instalment of his continuing series, “Noticing the Stuff Around You,” Stephen Archibald takes a look at the carpets under his feet.

2. Wong watch

Jan sides with Charlie.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

…I was shocked to read that the Salvation Army is changing its food bank policy from allowing people access once a month to every three months (‘It makes people too dependent,’ Jan. 9).

Even worse was the reason: People were taking advantage of the program and should fend for themselves. I thought the Salvation Army was a Christian organization which exists to give people charity, not judgment.

Lieut. Dennis Maybury said the Salvation Army is there for people in emergency situations every day, and that they just have to call. It must be humiliating for someone to have to phone the Salvation Army and explain their situation.


Charlene MacKay, Sydney



City council (1pm, City Hall)—I’ve published a preview of the meeting, here. This article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.


No public meetings.

On campus


Sea Ice (11:30am, Room 3655, LSC Oceanography Wing)—Martin Montes-Hugo, from the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski, will present.

Demographics and the Canadian economy (1pm, Horizons Room, Learning Centre Plus, Maritime Centre, 17th floor)—Professor Emeritus James D. McNiven will present. The abstract:

By the 2020s, the whole of Canada will be affected by labour constraints resulting from 50 years of a births deficit. Since 1971, Canada has had around 1.4 births per fertile woman, 2/3 of the 2.1 necessary for population maintenance. There are some possible ways to mitigate what will be a widespread labour problem, but the likelihood is that we will follow one of a number of existing ‘paths’ developed by some other countries and regions who have begun to experience this problem. Dr. Mcniven will briefly discuss 5 of these ‘paths.’


Yesterday, Canadaland’s Sean Craig revealed a string of apparent improprieties by the CBC’s Amanda Lang:

Amanda Lang lobbied aggressively within the CBC to undermine Kathy Tomlinson’s reporting on the temporary foreign worker scandal at RBC, the largest financial institution in the country and a bank that has sponsored Lang’s speeches or events where Lang spoke at least six times, for fees up to $15,000 per event.

CBC insiders told Craig that they were involved in a conference call with Tomlinson and Lang:

Lang, they recall, relentlessly pushed to undermine the RBC story. She argued that RBC was in the right, that their outsourcing practices were “business as usual,” and that the story didn’t merit significant coverage. She and a defiant Tomlinson faced off in a tense, extended argument. Two of the CBC employees we spoke to recall a wave of frustrated hang-ups by participants.

“I cannot emphasize enough how wrong it was,” said one CBC employee we spoke to. “That another journalist, not involved in a story, would intervene in the reporting of others and question the integrity of her colleagues like that. I haven’t seen anything like it before or since.”

Later in the day, Craig had yet more Lang news:

Sources close to Amanda Lang, who spoke to CANADALAND on the condition of anonymity, confirm that she has been in a romantic relationship with RBC Board Member W. Geoffrey Beattie since January 2013 at the latest. This relationship is ongoing, and the two were involved in April 2013, when Lang acted within the CBC to scuttle a colleague’s reporting on abuses of Canadian labour law by RBC.


CANADALAND has learned that in 2011 Amanda Lang was found by the CBC Ombudsman to have violated CBC’s conflict of interest policy. Kirk Lapointe ruled that in moderating a panel of experts, all of whom opposed Jack Layton’s energy policies, Lang was “vulnerable” to “perceptions of conflct” because her brother Andrew Lang was running against Jack Layton for office at the time.

“It was not possible to compartmentalize Lang’s reporting,” wrote LaPointe.

CBC has a serious problem on its hands.

I’ll be on a panel on media criticism with Canadaland’s Jesse Brown at the Canadian Association of Journalists conference in June.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 7:45m Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 7:45m Tuesday. Map:

Cento, oil tanker, Dartmouth, England to anchor
NYK Constellation, container ship, Rotterdam to Fairview Cove, then sails for New York
Grande Napoli, car carrier, to Autoport
Atlantic Compass, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove
SCF Suek, container ship, Hamburg, Germany to HalTerm

Maria Desgagnes sails for Sydney


I’ll be live-blogging the council meeting starting at 1pm, via the Examiner’s twitter account, @hfxExaminer. However, I have a conflicting appointment so will have to leave the meeting around 2:30, then return at 4.

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

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  1. Okay, that Salp thing is pretty darn gross to see over my breakfast. ICK. I know we should be all “save the environment” and everything but I’d feel an urge to smite those if I could.

    On another note, Gawd, Amanda Lang, too? Someone needs to fire all existing CBC employees and hire some perky young journalism grads (see note above about unemployed youth) who don’t have established links with everyone they interview. Everyone there seems to be on the take, or, if not, behaving badly. I am a faithful CBC listener but the joy is quickly fading. We need a reliable source for news.

  2. By the 2020s, the whole of Canada will be affected by labour constraints resulting from 50 years of a births deficit.

    This is a very good thing. Career advancement is stagnated for a lot of people. There’s nowhere to go.

    1. NO, «career advancement» is only a problem because we have a ridiculous surplus of people with university degrees who can’t replace a tap washer, nor put a meal on the table that didn’t come factory-produced and frozen out of a box.

      A the same time we have a ridiculous SHORTAGE in ALL of the «Skilled Trades». A little PLANNING on the part of our Trougher Leaders could remediate this wasteful imbalance. However, the Bleeding Hearts demand «freedom of choice» for our over-privileged youth so they continue to «graduate» with NO saleable skills, illiterate, and unable to make change without a calculator.

      It’s NO surprise — GREED we will always have with us…. and you can’t cure STUPID!

      1. because that same generation of people told us we had to go to university, and generally people that have to ask to go to the bathroom aren’t well suited to understand the macroeconomic implications of their choices.

        Your argument would seem to apply more to entry level. IE to getting into a job. I mean, both my grandfathers are over 70 and still working. No one can move into their positions until they retire. No one can move from the people below them, and so forth and so forth. One /is/ in skilled trades.

        I won’t disagree the system is FUBARed, but I am blaming it on the same people.

      2. There is no proof that there is a shortage of tradespeople (or for that matter, STEM graduates):

        There is a shortage of tradespeople and STEM graduates at the rates which industry would like them, which is why they are artificially trying to increase supply via foreign visas and increased enrollments in universities. Go ask an engineer who graduated in the early 90s or a computer programmer who graduated in 00-01 how accurate Chamber of Commerce projections are. Or any of the young fellows returning from Alberta.

        The idea that “kids these days are useless” is a populist myth that gets repeated over and over again to provide simple solutions to complex problems.