1. Garnier guilty

Chris Garnier. Photo: Safety P.A.T.H.

“A jury has found Christopher Garnier guilty of punching and strangling Nova Scotia police officer Catherine Campbell, rejecting his claim that the off-duty officer died accidentally during rough sex,” reports Aly Thomson for the Canadian Press:

The 12-member Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury delivered its verdicts Thursday after 4.5 hours of deliberations, declaring the 30-year-old Halifax man guilty of second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body.

I only visited the trial once for an hour or so, and didn’t see firsthand the evidence presented or hear the arguments made, so take this with a grain of salt. But from other news coverage, it struck me that Garnier had a weak defence, which is surprising because his lawyer Joel Pink is the go-to guy for cases like this. Pink is intelligent, diligent and prepared, a wonder to behold in the courtroom, and has a long run of successful defences.

It may be as simple as Garnier being plainly and obviously guilty — the jury certainly seems to have thought so — so there was no better defence theory than, basically, “she asked for it.” But it was an offensive argument, and one that the jury obviously recoiled from.

I also wonder about the timing of the trial. Jury deliberation so close to Christmas could bring subtle pressure on a jury to wind up quickly. In the end, timing doesn’t seem to have mattered; the jury was out for such a short time that it doesn’t appear that any of the jurors were hesitating. But it makes me wonder why Pink didn’t ask for a delay until after the holidays so that such pressures wouldn’t be an issue.

Update: a reader points me to this, which I somehow missed:

Earlier today, defence lawyer Joel Pink asked for adjournment, based on the fact Christmas is this weekend and he didn’t want the jury to feel pressured to reach a verdict #Garnier #Halifax

— Natasha Pace (@NatashaPace) December 20, 2017

But really, what do I know? Garnier is guilty, and no one is second-guessing the verdict.

2. Most of us are getting poorer

Yesterday, the Department of Finance published a series of charts related to average earnings for Nova Scotians, noting that “Through the first ten months of 2017, average weekly wages have been growing fastest in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec. In year to date terms, Nova Scotia’s average weekly wages have averaged 1.4 per cent above the levels reported for the same period in 2016.”

A 1.4 per cent increase in wages is good, no? Well, no. In a separate release, the department noted that “In Nova Scotia November 2017, the consumer price index (2002=100) increased 0.3% from October 2017 to 133.2 and increased 1.8% over November 2016.”

The numbers were only slightly lower for Halifax: “In Halifax November 2017, the consumer price index (2002=100) increased 0.3% from October 2017 to 132.0 and increased 1.7% over November 2016.”

So while it’s not an exact comparison, where wages rose on average 1.4 per cent over the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period last year, inflation as measured from November 2016 to November 2017 took all of those increases in wages and then some. On average, we’re poorer.

And the “on average” matters. Here’s the chart showing Average Weekly Wages from January through October of 2016 compared to the same period in 2017:

Notice that in most categories, the increase in wages is below the 1.8 (or 1.7 in Halifax) per cent inflationary index. People who work in a factory, a newsroom, on a film production, in a hotel or restaurant, or in a government office have very likely seen a real decrease in pay.

Undoubtedly, our eagle-eyed readers see the outlier: “Management of companies” saw a 9.8 per cent increase in average weekly wages.

So yes, while the average worker — the person whose labour creates the wealth by getting the goods produced and the services rendered — is taking home less in real pay, the managers and owners are doing quite well. Inequality is increasing.

3. Dartmouth fire

From a police release early this morning:

At 1138 pm, East patrol members assisted Hfx. Fire Dept. with containment of a house fire at 15 Charles St. Dartmouth. The structure, a triplex, was fully engulfed in flames when units arrived. A female in her early teens was removed from the middle floor with the assistance of fire members and taken to the IWK by ambulance for smoke inhalation. Her mother, who was not home at the time, was reunited with her at the scene. An adult male, who resided in the basement unit, was evacuated without injury. The fire investigation is still active by Halifax Fire however, they do not suspect fowl (sic) play at this time. The NS Red Cross was contacted to assist with providing temporary shelter for the three residents.

The firefighters also rescued a cat, reports the CBC.

No “fowl” play suspected, but perhaps it was the cat.

4. Parking

The city this morning issued an Expression of Interest for Parking Technology and Management Systems:

The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is currently investigating parking technology options to replace its aging inventory of coin-only parking meters as well as its parking management systems currently in use to support parking enforcement, ticket management, permitting, payment and revenue collection.

HRM recently initiated a project to investigate and advance the procurement and implementation of new parking technologies across the municipality. HRM’s intent is to design and implement a parking solution that will support the needs of a wide variety of stakeholders as well as leveraging the municipality’s ongoing efforts to implement and leverage “smart” technologies. HRM anticipates that a Request for Proposals for parking technology solutions will be issued in the Spring of 2018. In preparation for this, the municipality is inviting vendors to share information specific to the following topic areas:
• Parking technologies such as multi-space pay stations, digital parking meters, mobile handheld devices, ticket printers, etc
• Parking payment solutions (e.g. mobile app, etc)
• On-line parking services (e.g. parking permit applications, ticket payment)
• License plate recognition technologies and pay by plate options
• Parking management and administration solutions (including revenue collection, payment processing, ticket management
• Experience deploying parking solutions in a municipal setting of similar size or greater (including name of municipality)

5. Deanna Conant

Deanna Conant. Photo: Conant Family / Arbor Memorial

This was a strange and sad release from the RCMP yesterday:

A death reported to police in February of this year has been ruled a homicide.

In February, 2017, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service contacted investigators with the Homicide Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division to advise of the death of a 77-year-old woman that resulted from injuries she sustained in a shooting 41 years ago.

The woman was a victim of a shooting in Upper Lawrencetown on June 23, 1976. She survived her injuries and died on February 16, 2017. Based on the investigation and completion of the autopsy report, it was determined she died as a result of the injury complications sustained when shot in 1976.

At the time of the shooting, a 34-year-old man, who was the suspect in the shooting, was found deceased at a business in Upper Lawrencetown. Both individuals were known to each other and did not reside together. The deaths have now been ruled a homicide-suicide.

The investigation is now concluded.

The CBC identified the woman as Deanna Mary Conant:

She was 35 when she was shot by Wesley Elvin Poole, 34, on June 23, 1976. Poole took his own life the same day at a business in Upper Lawrencetown.


In an email on behalf of the provincial medical examiner, Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Gillis explained the woman was permanently disabled as a result of the gunshot.

“The medical examiner’s autopsy found that the death was due to a complication from the permanent disability and would still attribute the death to the initial gunshot, regardless of the timeline,” Gillis wrote.


No public meetings.

On campus

No public events.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Friday. Map:

7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
10:15, Beryl, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Houston
11:30: Bess, car carrier, moves from Pier 27 to Autoport
2pm: Alice Oldendorff, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
9pm: Dalian Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka


El Jones says she might have a column tomorrow morning. I’m taking a few days off, and will return with Morning File on Wednesday.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday. Please remember the lonely.

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

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  1. Money may be the root of all evil.

    You cannot buy happiness.

    As long as you have friends you will never be poor.

    There are a bunch of other sayings along those lines; but it is nice to always have a few extra coins in one’s pocket.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  2. I haven’t gotten a raise since 2014.

    Our government has, in general, policies which are designed to make skilled work cheaper and housing more expensive, thereby increasing the GDP. Amen. All three of the major parties, federally and provincially, support these policies to varying degrees.

    Enjoy the holidays, everyone, and be grateful for what you have.

  3. The wage drop results look pretty dismal. The continuing effects of the Government’s huge mistake of cancelling the film industry tax credit still are showing as evidenced by the negative 3.4% decline in the information and culture sector. We would have seen massive growth and positive spinoffs had the government not made this incredibly bad decision to kill an industry which had such promise for the future.

    1. Just had a friend who used to work in the NS film industry in feature visual effects drop in the see friends and family for Christmas.

      He is flourishing now in Toronto, heading a small studio producing superb work. Having been forced to leave NS, to find work in an industry in a city where he was professionally unknown, and finally having begun to establish himself there, he made it clear there is no way he would ever move back to NS. He will be contributing to the vote of Best VFX for next years Oscars.

      Such is the class of talent Stephen McNeil and this Liberal government have driven out of Nova Scotia.

  4. It’s a willful distortion to say Garnier’s defense was, “basically, ‘She asked for it.'” His defense was that the death occurred accidentally during consensual rough sex. To call this offensive is to place an ideological frame over events that should be judged on the facts as adduced in evidence. We can only hope and trust the jury did a better job of this than you.

  5. I was under the impression that Pink did ask to be adjourned until the new year, and the judge declined. I only heard that second hand, though!