1. PC Leader Jamie Baillie: the Liberals will save us

Jamie Baillie

The provincial Progressive Conservative Party held its Annual General Meeting over the weekend, and leader Jamie Baillie laid out his positions, including increasing funding to nursing homes, among others, reports journalism student Kieran Leavitt:

When pressed on how the provincial government would fulfill these promises, Baillie said he would take full advantage of the federal funds available for provinces

“There is money in Ottawa, and there’s more to come,” said Baillie. “Trudeau, God love him, he wants to spend money and he’s announcing billions more for infrastructure.”

Leavitt didn’t report if anyone in the room noted the irony of the provincial PCs looking to replace the provincial Liberals with promises of increasing funding for various programs by relying on the federal Liberals.

This isn’t a critique of Baillie, who is merely playing off the divide among the Liberals: in the last election, candidate Justin Trudeau (correctly, in my view) moved the federal Liberals to the left and outflanked the then-official opposition NDP by campaigning on a promise of deficit spending to stimulate economic growth. It was a platform that resonated with voters and in part led to the Liberals forming government and making Trudeau Prime Minister. At the same time, however, the provincial Liberal parties, including Nova Scotia’s, have moved to the right, embracing long-discredited austerity policies, slashing social programs, attacking unions, etc.

I don’t know how Liberals can live with that fundamental contradiction between their federal and provincial parties.

The Liberals may be confused, but Baillie appears to be abandoning the long-held PC anti-deficit position. Continues Leavitt:

On how he expected to deal with the issue of balancing the budget while funding programs, he was vague.

“Am I committed to balanced budgets? Yes. Is that the most important thing to me? No,” said Baillie, adding that health care, schools, and care for seniors are more important.

At this point in time — when the economy is faltering, the interest rate is essentially zero, and the cost of servicing the existing debt is at historic lows — it makes sense to go into deficit spending, especially if that spending can increase future economic growth, as spending on health care and education certainly will, and spending on seniors probably will.

Nova Scotian politics are weird. Arguably, Darrell Dexter’s NDP government was in many ways to the right of the old PC government of Rodney MacDonald. Now, the McNeil Liberals are to the right of both the former governing parties, but the NDP under Gary Burill has reclaimed its socialist roots, while the PCs under Baillie are trying to stake out the middle ground.

Truly, Baillie should be congratulated for his softening his party’s balanced budget policy. But I’m not sure PC party members will see it that way.

2. Examineradio, episode #99

Chris Parsons – Nova Scotia Health Coalition. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Chris Parsons – Nova Scotia Health Coalition. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The province is mulling over options to rebuild or refurbish the dilapidated Victoria General Hospital, and certainly isn’t ruling out a P3 (public-private partnership) option. This, despite the  boondoggle that resulted in the province paying way more for 39 schools across Nova Scotia than it should have. We speak with Chris Parsons of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition about saner ways forward.

Also, the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union reinstates work-to-rule ahead of its February 8 strike vote, the Sipekne’katik First Nation scores a legal victory against the province, and the Shittiest Newspaper in Canada looks to sit down with its striking workers for the first time in months.

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3. Seawalls

The Horseshoe Island seawall.

The city this morning issued a Request for Proposal for design work for the reconstruction of the seawalls at Regatta Point and Horseshoe Island:

Regatta Point is located on the shoreline of the Northwest Arm Drive in Halifax, NS. The Regatta Point shoreline and walkway is approximately 1000m long and extends from Purcells Cove Rd (near the St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church) to the end of Armshore Dr. The walls/revetment were constructed in 1986 and in comparison to the seawall at Horseshoe Island, the Regatta Point walls are built of relatively small stones. Portions of the wall/revetment are exposed to waves running up the full length of the Northwest Arm. Overtopping and drainage are both contributing factors to the relatively poor condition of these exposed portions of wall. Wave damage has destabilized much of the stone work on exposed portions and has lifted and shifted the cast-in-place concrete cap and eroded the walkway.

The Horseshoe Island seawall is located at Horseshoe Island Park off Quinpool Road in Halifax, NS. The wall is approximately 300m long and dates back to the 1920s. At Horseshoe Island the stones are relatively larger in size than Regatta Point. The damage at Horseshoe Island appears to be caused by wave overtopping and has eroded the landscaped area behind the wall.

Because the walls are on the waterfront, the reconstruction involves a lot of environmental review and permitting. Construction will involve three phases, and the project won’t be fully completed until 2021.


1. Schools, politics, and the thumb on the decision-making scale

Credit: CBC

“Karen Casey,” writes Stephen Kimber, “should not have been surprised when eyebrows were arched after Liberal MLA Brendan Maguire Facebook Live-announced — the ‘proudest moment’ of his political career — the surprising news that the McNeil government was going to replace J.L. Ilsley High School. We’ve been here before…”

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

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

Re: ‘Standing up for home owner,’ letter to the editor, Cape Breton Post, Jan. 27. 

It is very admirable for M. Monia MacDonald to stand up for Sylvia Dolomont and suggest she is being bullied, but one should have all the facts before writing a letter.

Dolomont, in my opinion, is no more being bullied than any other citizen in this town. The municipality is trying to help her and all the people who have to live in the vicinity of her houses.

Being eccentric is fine as long as your differences don’t affect entire neighbourhoods. When your houses and vehicles are crawling with unwanted animals and odors it can be very disturbing to a lot of people.

Her taxes may be paid but her style of living has had a tremendous effect on two neighbours. When my property becomes devalued because of the way a person next to me is living then something needs to be done.

I do hope the people of Campbell St. can get some relief.

Marjorie Serafinus, North Sydney



Districts 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (4pm, City Hall) — first meeting of the committee, no real business.

North West Community Council (6:30pm, Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre) — a public hearing for a proposed eight-storey, 102-unit apartment building on the site of the Bluenose Motel at 636 Bedford Highway.`


City Council (10am, City Hall) — Damn 10am meeting… I’ll have more to say about this later; here’s the agenda.


Nothing today


Community Services (1pm, Province House) — the committee will ask about “Work and Education Rules for Income Assistance Recipients.”

On campus



Gene Mutations (7:30pm, Museum of Natural History) — Graham Dellaire will speak on “How to Edit a Genome.”


Predicting the Future (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) Travis Barlow, all-around smart guy, will speak on “Infosec Today and Tomorrow.”

Aerial Surveys (12pm, Room 3089, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) Dirk Werle, with the International Oceans Institute, will speak on “Setting the Sights on the Cities: Civilian Aerial Surveys in Canada During the Early 1920s.” His abstract:

This talk will examine and illustrate the civilian development and practical results of aerial photography in Canada immediately after the First World War (1914-1918). The collections of vertical air photos and their assembly in mosaic form, as well as the institutional arrangements of their creation under the Canada Air Board until 1925, represent an important part of Canada’s remote sensing and mapping heritage. Re-purposing military aerial reconnaissance for civilian applications took similar pathways in the United States, the United Kingdom and France by focusing on urban settings. The study uses as primary evidence the actual air photos and digitally re-assembled photo mosaics of several Canadian cities to reveal nature and spatial extent of urban landscape features prevalent at the time. The study also explores relationships to the present-day situation and to previous mapping efforts in Halifax. Urban surveys carried out over Ottawa, Halifax, London, Calgary! and Edmonton are highlighted. Annotated air photo mosaics are presented. It is argued that evolving format and detailed content of the largely experimental photography and mosaic compositions have retained significant scientific, heritage and educational value for comparative investigations involving more recent geospatial data and high-resolution satellite imagery of similar scale.

YouTube video

Miles Ahead (5pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — Don Cheadle’s 2015 film.

African People in Halifax: Embracing Our Diversity (6pm, Room 307, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — Veronica Marsman will moderate a panel discussion with Jason Chapman, Robert Wright, and Tyler Simmonds.

Saint Mary’s


China (11am, Library LI135) — Bill Sewell, manuscript editor of the book Seven Crucial Centuries: Changes in Premodern Chinese Society and Economy, 499bce-1800ce, written by the late John Lee, formerly of the Saint Mary’s Department of History.


Hidden Keys (7pm, Library LI135) — Andre Alexis will read from his book The Hidden Keys.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Monday. Map:

5am: Mary, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
10am: Hafina Crux, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Antwerp, Belgium
10:30am: CSCC, Tianjin, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Baltimore
11:30pm: Mary, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Cagliari, Italy


A short Morning File today because I’ve got to be somewhere at the ridiculous hour of 9:30am. Also, some sort of alien life form has infected me.

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

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  1. “Justin Trudeau (correctly, in my view) moved the federal Liberals to the left and outflanked the then-official opposition NDP by campaigning on a promise of deficit spending to stimulate economic growth.”

    Is there an example out there where this works(ed)?

  2. Unlike US politics, there is no required coordination or common policy platforms between federal and provincial political parties, Tim. Quebec and British Colombia are good examples for the Liberals, Alberta for the NDP and, well, the PC party doesn’t even exist at the national level anymore. Additionally, at the LPC meeting in Winnipeg last year, it was voted to completely sever the Atlantic provinces Liberal parties from the national party (prior to that, signing up for one entity got you immediately registered in the other). So, in addition to policy matters, there don’t even exist formal institutional relationships. Also, it is not uncommon to prefer different political parties at different orders of government. Ontario has been doing it forever.

    This is why it was so easy for the Prime Minister to exclude McNeil at the Sportsplex town hall, and Stroink was reduced to just another fan boy, slinking around,trying to get a photo with anyone who wanted one. And why the Mayor recognized all the Councillors in attendance, Trudeau did the same with the MPs, and no-one acknowledged the MLAs.

    Federalism. Shared rule and self-rule. It’s a wonderful thing.

  3. I think moving to the centre is Baillie’s only hope. The liberals in this province have moved so far to the right they’ve essentially stolen Baillie’s platform, despite the fact many liberals here either don’t realize it or are in some form of denial.

    I think the polls are more a reflection of the weakness of the opposition parties than the strength of the governing one. Hopefully one of them can emerge and produce at the very least a minority government.

  4. Jamie Baillie doesn’t appeal to voters. I am not sure the party faithful even like him enough to leave him in his seat in Cumberland South.

    1. The only time that I can remember that Cumberland South did not return a PC MLA was when Cumberland County was reduced to two seats from three, and Springhill became part of Cumberland South. Sitting Liberal MLA Guy Brown carried the new seat for at least one term, if not two, before he retired.

      It would take an exceptional Liberal or NDP candidate with a lot of personal popularity to win the seat. (Bill Casey carried the federal riding in just this way, IMHO.)