1. Submarine

A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine arrives at Shearwater. Photo: Chris Lambie

“A U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine slipped into Halifax Saturday afternoon,” reports Chris Lambie for the Halifax Examiner.

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

2. Private prosecution

Marlene Brown. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

Frustrated with provincial inaction over contaminated wells in Harrietsfield, Marlene Brown is embarking on an unusual private prosecution of the companies responsible.

Jennifer Henderson reports.

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

3. Examineradio, episode # 113

Three candidates, three debates. Why are we having an election, again?

Former NDP Minister of Finance and CBC commentator Graham Steele joins us for the hour to unpack the parties, the policies, the leaders, and why, quite frankly, it probably doesn’t matter if you vote in this election or not.

[iframe style=”border:none” src=”//″ height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]

(direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

4. Debt

In an analysis piece written for the Canadian Press, Michael MacDonald addresses an issue I’ve been raising for some time: the federal and provincial Liberal parties are at odds with each other over deficit spending:

Less than two years ago, Nova Scotia voters enthusiastically embraced Justin Trudeau’s plan to spur the economy through hefty deficit financing, handing the federal Liberals every riding in the province.

The free-spending approach appears to be getting little traction, however, as Nova Scotia’s provincial election campaign draws to a close.

The Liberals under Premier Stephen McNeil are seeking a second consecutive mandate by pledging four deficit-free budgets, having already tabled two consecutive balanced budgets during a term marked by a tight-fisted approach to public spending.

MacDonald interviews political scientist Tom Urbaniak and pollster Don Mill, but I wasn’t particular satisfied with either’s take on it. MacDonald does note, however, that:

Since 2000, Nova Scotia’s debt-to-GDP ratio — a key indicator of economic health — has been declining. The province now sits in the middle of the pack when its ratio is compared with other provinces.

But the Nova Scotia government is still paying an estimated $850 million annually in debt-servicing charges on a $10.5-billion budget — and the McNeil government seems determined to reduce that cost.

As Richard Starr has written, we are nowhere near dire straits in terms of the provincial debt, and anyone comparing Nova Scotia to, say, Greece, is either incredibly stupid or trying to pull one over on uninformed people, or both.

Debt isn’t a four-letter word. (See what I did there?) With enough economic growth, any debt incurred today becomes inconsequential in the long run (as Krugman points out, even “World War II debt never got paid off, it just eroded in real terms to the point where it was trivial.”) And with interest rates at near zero, borrowing to address important social concerns is not crazy.


1. Baillie’s appeal to progressive voters

Jamie Baillie

“During last week’s CTV leaders’ roundtable, Jamie Baillie issued a direct appeal to voters: ‘For those people who are undecided or leaning to the NDP, I am asking them to take a look at us because we share the same goal,’” notes Stephen Kimber. “The same goal, yes… The same values?”

Kimber goes on to parse the options available to progressive voters: Abandon their principles and vote for Baillie, vote NDP, or find some route to strategic voting.

Click here to read “Since none of the above is not on the ballot…”

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

2. Hospital

“Banner Page Hospital in Arizona, an example of what the defunct CDHA aspired to,” writes Bill Turpin.

“[I]f we want see the Halifax’s hospital and outpatient services upgraded to modern standards, we will have to wrestle the project away from our political class,” writes Bill Turpin:

The QEII redevelopment project involves hundreds of millions, which presents both an opportunity and a problem for Nova Scotia partisans. The opportunity is obvious: the  budget estimate starts at around $714 million … The problem is, no sane politician campaigns on a promise to spend that kind of money in Halifax. You would win more votes by promising a mandatory puppy-cull.

Turpin goes on to detail the long history of QEII replacement projects, starting with a 2009 proposal in which “all the rooms would be private and have big windows, something proven to pay for itself in shorter recovery times, but nonetheless hard to explain to a certain class of voters.” He continues:

What happened, you ask? Here’s a clue — just a clue — from a subsequent draft report dated August 2013, two months before a general election, but likely never seen.

"To develop cost reduced scenarios within a fixed budget assumption, several major potential space/ bed capacities were explored ... Project budget is $360m."

In other words, Capital Health had been told to slash the project cost.

Trupin’s proposed route to getting a decent hospital built is much the same as Kimber’s:

Well, the groundbreaking Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act was passed by a Conservative minority government. The power dynamics of such governments often produce creative results. The job of citizens is to persuade the party holding the balance of power that it’s in their partisan interests to force the winners into de-politicizing the hospital project if they want to stay in power.

3. St. Joseph’s Square

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald walked around the peninsula and, as he does, noticed a lot of things. I’ll just mention one:

My favourite new apartment building is St. Joseph’s Square on Gottingen Street. At street level there will be some interesting commercial (Kew and P’lovers), plus the townhouses have lots of curb appeal.

The photo Archibald used to illustrate it (above), however, is of the Russell Street side of the building.

You’ll recall that the St. Joseph’s Square building was controversial from the start because of how close it is to St. Joseph’s–Alexander MacKay School behind it. Remember the photos Brett Ruskin took of the ridiculous impact construction of the building had on the school?

My concern about the new building was that it would it somehow manage to be even uglier than the apartment building across the street, which is among the very ugliest buildings in, well, the galaxy. I haven’t taken a photo of that building because I feared my camera would revolt, but here’s the Google Street View:

Consider this: you’re going to build an apartment building directly across from the Hydrostone Market, a remarkable bit of post-Explosion urban planning focused on small retail spaces and walkability, complete with a pocket park, and you build this? The apartment building is like a black hole in the Hydrostone, managing to suck all street life out of existence by walling off the sidewalks. Any sensible developer would have wanted to capitalize on the street life and put in small retail spaces at ground level — as have the new buildings (hosting Getaway butchers and the Starbucks, etc.) to the west; those buildings add to the neighbourhood experience, but the pedestrian comes up against the black hole of this monstrosity, and I fear the Hydrostone won’t recover until some sane person takes a wrecking ball to the thing.

(Speaking of walling off sidewalks, can we please discuss the Johannesburgization of Maynard Street?)

Thankfully, however, my worst fears weren’t realized: the Gottingen frontage of the St. Joseph’s Square building is actually quite appealing, and the retail spaces work. (Too bad the workers and customers will have to look out at that piece of crap across the street, tho.)

But while the Gottingen streetscape works, the building is even worse than I think detractors expected in terms of the school behind. I don’t have pictures of it (I’ve really gotta start taking more photos), but the apartment balconies loom over the schoolyard in a leering, downright creepy manner. And, on the other hand, who wants to live somewhere where you can’t take a noon nap because the kids below are bellowing on?




District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4pm, City Hall) — Studio Works International wants to build a 13-storey, 49-unit residential development as an addition to St. Patrick’s Rectory at 2267 Brunswick Street, Halifax.


Halifax & West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

On campus



Graduation Exhibition (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Exhibition Room, Medjuck Architecture Building) — graduating students from the School of Architecture and the School of Planning show off their work.


Jane Girling

Endometriosis (Tuesday, 10:30am, Research Services Boardroom, IWK Health Centre) — Jane Girling, from the University of Melbourne, will speak on “Genes and Endometriosis: Informing Us About The Disease And Its Symptoms.”

Spatio-temporal Data Mining (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Luis Torgo, fromf the University of Porto, Portugal, will speak.

Innovation Exchange Series (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Dentistry 4117) — Jeremy Grimshaw and Monica Taljaard will talk about new ways of evaluating health innovations to improve uptake in “Innovations in Implementation Science.”

Again with the Innovation (Tuesday, 4pm, Room 1028, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — Steve Blank will speak on “Innovation vs. Entrepreneurship: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?”

RSVP here.

The Icarus Report

• Jazz Air flight 8374 from Fort McMurray to Calgary missed its approach to the runway because a passenger was in the toilet. Hey, we’ve all been there.

• Bells and whistles and alarms and such were going off in the cockpit of a Canadian North Boeing 737-300, which can carry up to 188 passengers, on flight 1402 from Edmonton as it approached Fort McKay, Alberta. The alert concerned an Aries Aviation Services Corp. Piper PA-31, which was flying where it wasn’t supposed to be flying, and the two planes could’ve slammed into each other with all those horrible dreams we all have becoming reality. The Canadian North zoomed skyward, avoiding that gruesome outcome, and we can all now try to sleep soundly again. Good luck with that, eh?

• A student flight from the La Prairie, Manitoba airport embarrassingly reported that the plane’s canopy had opened during flight.

• The pilot on Morningstar Air flight 7070 from Calgary to Winnipeg declared an emergency because the thrust lever was stuck on the Boeing 757-200, which can carry up to 239 passengers. Firefighters and morticians lined the runway in Winnipeg in anticipation of the worst, but the plane landed safely.

• A Cessna stopped at St-Mathieu-De-Beloei, Quebec to take on 15 litres of fuel, only to find on takeoff that the engine misfired and then quit completely. The pilot couldn’t make it back to the airport but instead, according to the Google Translation of the original French report, “touched the ground between the east and west lanes of Highway 20. The nose wheel was torn off and the aircraft completed its run at Center of the eastern highway lane, less than 400 feet from the threshold of runway 15. Both occupants sustained minor injuries while the aircraft sustained significant damage.” Turns out, the gas was put in the right tank and not the left tank, which caused the problem.

• Another Cessna took off from Lac Maxime, Quebec and, as the TSB describes it, “the device tumbled and stopped inverted on the surface of the water.” In English, that means “the plane careened like crazy and flipped over and slammed into the lake.” Anyway, there were two people on the plane and they swam to shore, more or less intact. The plane, not so much.

Not a good day for Cessnas.

In the harbour

6:45am: YM Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Norfolk
7am: Vega Omega, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from San Juan, Puerto Rico

Veendam. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Veendam. Photo: Halifax Examiner

8am: Veendam, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 with up to 1,350 passengers from Bar Harbor (see the wonderful history of the Veendam here)
10:30am: Columbia Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
3pm: Desert Serenity, bulker, arrives at Pier 31 from Baie Comeau
5:45pm: Veendam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Sydney


Mandatory puppy cull, eh?

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. What with the erection of all these ugly new buildings (I’m not a fan of the St. Joseph’s Square building- it’s trying too hard and comes out tacky), Halifax is losing much of its physical charm. GIven that so much of Halifax’s material heritage blew up in the Explosion I would have thought that city planners would be more mindful of preserving what’s left. I’m a sucker for good design, whatever the age, but I’m not seeing much of it around here. I look forward to my visit to Winnipeg next week when I will spend as much time hanging out in the Exchange District as my kid will tolerate.

  2. Icarus Report: Morningstar is a charter for FEDEX. Two people up front, bunch of stuff in the back.

  3. When granting a permit to allow a building to be constructed, HRM’s planning department should ensure that the street level facades, if not the whole structure, are appropriately matched to the existing streetscape. The only allowable deviation would be if the existing streetscape was going to be eliminated; in that case, their should already be a publicly accepted vision for the new streetscape. HRM’s Planning department needs to be more proactive in the area of aesthetic design aspects and the public needs to be front and centre in the decision making process.

  4. Hey Tim,
    Why don’t you have a Ugliest Building in Halifax contest? The prize: a free bus ride to the airport…….and back, if you choose.

  5. Couldn’t agree more. The St. Joseph’s Square building Gottingen maybe one of the ugliest in the galaxy with its various mismatched (and ugly) finishes. but it is only one of many ugly new buildings in Halifax (Quinpool Road, Young Street etc. etc.) Why oh why do they all have to be so ugly? And so detrimental to the streetscape, pedestrian experience?

  6. If you can stand being close to it and you go up to the Ugliest Building in the Galaxy personally, you may wonder how it manages to stay standing

  7. Tim, I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet but Google Maps now has a 3D feature. It’s pretty damn amazing. You may need to upgrade your browser to see it.

    I bring it up in reference to St. Joseph’s Square, as you can get a good angle on the school side using that feature.

  8. Next week I will be spending 23 hours in the air as I make my way to the other side (of the earth).

    Your Icarus Reports of the last week or two have been a little too eye-opening.

  9. Tim, hilarious that you called out that building (the Ugliest in the Galaxy). Only a couple weeks ago a firm was been contracted to completely redesign the facade.

    1. Any sense on whether they’ll be able to correct the ground-level condition? Seems like the builder cheaped out and didn’t excavate for a fully-underground parking structure, so we got 2 vertical metres of blank concrete wall above grade.