1. Pedestrian struck

A police release from yesterday:

Halifax Regional Police responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision in Dartmouth this morning. 

At 6:35 a.m., police attended a vehicle/pedestrian collision on Farrell Street near Victoria Road. A car on Farrell Street struck a woman in the roadway. She suffered what are believed to be at this time life-threatening-injuries and was transported to hospital. 

The 52-year old male driver was taken into custody at 6:43 a.m. and transported to Police Headquarters for questioning. The details of the incident are currently under investigation with regards to possible charges.

This stretch of Victoria Road seems particularly dangerous. Two blocks to the south, at the intersection of Albro Lake Road, in two separate incidents, one pedestrian died after being struck, and another was brought to hospital. A block to the north, at Primrose, a motorcyclist was recently killed.

I don’t know the particulars of these incidents, but my sense is that Victoria is too wide and too wide open coming down from its interchange with the Circumferential Highway, and then it’s right onto the residential stretch from Primrose to Albro Lake. (I find myself driving too fast through there.) I don’t know what engineering changes can be made, but I hope someone looks into it.

UPDATE, 2:30pm: Police have charged a man with attempted murder in relation to yesterday’s incident:

Halifax Regional Police responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision in Dartmouth yesterday morning.

On May 25 at 6:35 a.m., police attended a vehicle/pedestrian collision on Farrell Street near Victoria Road. A car on Farrell Street struck a 25-year-old woman in the roadway. She suffered what are believed to be at this time life-threatening-injuries and was transported to hospital.

The 52-year old male driver was taken into custody at 6:43 a.m. and transported to Police Headquarters for questioning. Officers located a quantity of crack cocaine on the man as well as a quantity of cash and drug paraphernalia. 

Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that the man and the woman, who are known to each other, had been arguing. The man assaulted the woman then got into his car. The woman approached the car when the man backed up striking her as well as a parked SUV.

Gerald Desmond faces one count each of attempted murder, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. He also faces a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking in cocaine. Desmond will appear in Dartmouth Provincial Court today.

2. Hurricanes

“Warm water temperatures and a weak or non-existent El Nino will contribute to an above-normal hurricane season this year, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said Thursday,” reports Aly Thomson for the Canadian Press:

Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist at the Dartmouth-based centre, said figures released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 11 to 17 named storms, with five to nine expected to become hurricanes and two to four expected to become major in force.

Robichaud said an average of 35 to 40 per cent of storms that form in the Atlantic Basin actually make it into the centre’s Canadian response zone, meaning anywhere from four to six storms could affect Canada this year.

But Robichaud stressed: “It only takes that one storm to make it a bad year, regardless of the number of storms.”

3. Jack Webb

“Health authorities will act on recommendations stemming from the case of a Nova Scotia man who languished for six hours in a Halifax ER hallway while dying from pancreatic cancer,” reports Michael Tutton for the Canadian Press. (You’ll recall that Tutton first reported on the “awful death of Jack Webb” in late April, just before the election campaign was called, helping to raise health care as a campaign issue.)

Dr. Mark Taylor, a medical director with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said Thursday the final recommendations regarding the treatment of 68-year-old Jack Webb will be provided to his widow.

“I have every confidence the recommendations that come out of this will be implemented and they will lead to positive change,” said Taylor in an interview.

4. The Trump Effect


“Universities and colleges in Nova Scotia say they’re seeing a spike in applications from American students,” reports Emma Davie for the CBC:

Mount Saint Vincent University, the University of King’s College, Cape Breton University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design have all seen the number of U.S. student applications double from last year.

But can it be attributed to the election of Donald Trump?

The evidence connecting the increase in applications to Trump is anecdotal, and Dal and SMU, the largest universities, aren’t seeing such an increase.

I would’ve guessed that the real Trump Effect would involve international students who fear becoming caught up in Trump’s travel ban and so opt to attend university in Canada instead of the U.S., but Davie didn’t explore that angle.

5. CBU

Cape Breton University is looking for a head hunting firm to find a new university president.


I’ve been travelling a lot lately; over the past four weekends I’ve gone to Sydney, St. John’s, Sackville, Moncton (I actually travelled through Moncton four times and stayed overnight once), Charlottetown, and Fredericton.

Somewhere in there I found myself in Pictou and for 10 minutes in the McCulloch House Museum, where I happened to pick up a little pamphlet titled “From the Associate Session of Pictou, under Rev. Dr. James Drummond MacGregor, 1786-1804.” Flipping through, I found this account (misspellings and missing punctuation are from the original):

A report being current among the people that Mrs. Alerdice was guilty of some indecent conduct about Capt. W. Glashens vessel, some night in the beginning of August last. The Session found it necessary to inquire into the matter. She being called and interrogated confessed that she was aboard Capt W. Ghashens vessel in the dusk of the evening of the day on which Mrs. Alpine Grant died. That she went on board for some tea and cheese for Mrs. Grant’s wake and that she had no order from Mr. Grant for going, but that she went out of kindness. George Brown, Thomas Brown and Mrs. Young having been aboard at the same time were called, deposed and interrogated George Brown defended that — that night (above mentioned) being aboard he saw the ship’s boat coming to the ship with two naked men sitting in the bow and other two swaying by the side of it and Mrs. Alderdice and Young in the stern.

Next Mrs. Alderdice asked — Is Capt. W. Glashen aboard? and was answered yes, but he is in bed. That she answered I’ll soon rouse him and that then she went down into the cabin. That defendant went down into the cabin some time after and saw Captain W. Glashen coming out of the state room with his waistcoat open. That he (Capt. W.G.) sat down and then Mrs. Alderdice laid his leg upon her knee and buttoned one of the knees of his breeches. That Capt. W. Glashen asked if they would drink and that Mrs. Alderdice refused. That Mrs. Alderdice told the Capt. that one of her neighbors died that evening adding maybe have you not some good cheese? and was answered yes. Next the cheese was produced and that the Capt. offered her a heel of it, which she refused. Next Capt. W. Glashen then said something which the defendent did not hear well, but which he thought meant beggars should not be choosers. Next Mrs. Alderdice said she did not want it for nothing. Next Capt. W. Glashen answered he had some to sell. That Mrs. Alderdice did not take the cheese.

Defence also that she said to the defendent are you not afraid that I shall ravish Capt. W. Glashen. Defence also that then she went upon deck and the defendent also that there she told one or both of the mates what happened between her and the Captain in the cabin and that some one answered pugh! pugh! never mind the Captain said you know his way to which she replied by heavens! I will not knuckle to ever a man that wore a head.

Thomas Brown defended that he saw a boat coming to the ship, with two naked men in the boaw and other two hanging by the sides and Mrs. Alderdice and Young in the stern and that when the boat came to the side of the ship Mrs. Alderdice and Young came on board. Reported that he heard Mres. Alderdice after she came up on deck from the cabin swearing by heavens. Mrs. Young defended that she went on board with Mrs. Alderdice from Mrs. Alderdices shore, that she saw no naked men in the boat nor hanging of the sides though possibly they might be there, but that there were no naked men in the boat when defendent Mrs. Alderdice went into it. That she went into the cabin along with Mrs. Alderdice, that she heard her say to the Captain get up for somebody was dead. That the Capt. asked who? and that she replied Alberdice. That she saw Mrs. Alderdice reach the Capt. a clean shirt and a little afterwards his cravat at his own request. That she did not know whether the Capt. had on his waistcoat that she saw Mrs. Alderdice button his breeches. Her evidence about the cheese was the same with George Brown’s.

The Session judged that Mrs. Alderdice acted imprudently and uncertainly in going to the vessel at all at such a time without a special friend or call, and that she was particularly blameable for lying and swearing. This sentence was intimated to her, she confessed the justice of it and was rebuked.

I thought this was an interesting instant of the policing of women, with the collected male religious leaders of the community passing judgment on Mrs. Alderdice for hanging out with naked men and buttoning the Captain’s breeches and spouting off a bunch of blasphemous “by heavens!”es.

But what’s this about cheese? I’ve always spelled it “Phew!” but tells me that the alternate spelling of “pugh” is an interjection “used as an exclamation of disgust, as at an offensive odor.” So, stinky cheese.

Eighteenth century Pictou seemed as foreign to my 21st century sensibilities as do the denizens of Angkor Wat, or Chaldean Babylon, or the Ferengi of Delphi Ardu.

So, I was curious about who these Pictouians were. I couldn’t find anything about Mrs. Alderdice or Captain Glashen. But Rev. Dr. James Drummond MacGregor has his own entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Much of the entry details the sectarian battles between the Burgher and Anti-Burgher Presbyterians in the Scottish Highland, which played out in Truro and Pictou in ways too complicated to get into here (MacGregor was an anti-burgher), but the short of it is MacGregor was brought to Pictou from Scotland because he was bilingual:

Upon arrival in Pictou, he found no town, no church, no school, and widely scattered settlers. He postponed celebration of the Lords Supper for two years while he preached to his parishioners — each sermon four times, in English and in Gaelic at two separate stations — taught in their houses, and catechized them, for he had to assure himself of the sincerity of the celebrants before he admitted them to the communion table.


In addition to translations of works from English to Gaelic, MacGregor wrote original works in Gaelic, primarily a series of spiritual songs published under the title Dain a chomhnadh crabhuidh. Inspired by the loneliness of the North American forces he traversed and by the works of such Scottish evangelical poets as Dugald Buchanan, which had been written to the tunes of familiar Highland songs, MacGregor completed about 25 long sacred poems. Their subjects are the central Christian doctrines such as faith, the Gospel, the Last Judgement, and the Résurrection, set forth simply not only for his Highland parishioners but also for the evangelizing of the Scottish North, where the tradition of reciting hymns for spiritual experience remained strong. MacGregor’s study of the Scottish secular poets Duncan Ban MacIntyre and Alexander MacDonald in the course of preparing his poems and his choice of secular tunes raised aspersions on his religious principles in Pictou, but his Dain became widely renowned in the Highlands.

Well, that’s interesting, but the biography also tells us something more about Nova Scotia:

MacGregor’s early experiences in Nova Scotia confirmed his decision not to join the Presbytery of Truro. Sympathetic to the anti-slavery attitudes emerging in Britain, he put his convictions to practical use by applying £20 of the £27 he received for his first year’s services toward purchasing the freedom of a slave girl from her Nova Scotian master, and he subsequently aided in the release of others. MacGregor extended this commitment when he confronted Cock, who was a slave owner, with the immorality of a Christian’s enslaving God’s children. The publication in Halifax in 1788 of MacGregor’s rebuke to Cock, and the Reverend David Smith’s reply on Cock’s behalf, formalized MacGregor’s split with the Presbytery of Truro.

Parson Cock was a Presbyterian minister in Halifax, of the burgher persuasion, who held a Black girl as a slave.

MacGregors 11-page letter to Cock was published in 1788 under the title “A letter to a clergyman urging him to set free a black girl he held in slavery.” It’s archived on the internet here, but the type is too small for my eyes to read.


No public meetings.

On campus

Nothing much going on.

The Icarus Report

• The TSB has updated its report on a crash in Plattsville, Ontario on May 13. Sixty-seven-year-old Raymond Taylor was flying a Monocoupe 90AF-100 tail dragger aircraft and “impacted terrain” in a ravine. “The aircraft was substantially damaged and the pilot fatally injured,” reads the report, which strikes me as backwards in order of concern. The plane crashed at 2:30pm on a Saturday, but wasn’t found until 6am the following Sunday.

• A pilot flying a privately owned Nanchang CJ6A aircraft was landing at the Cornwall Regional Airport in Ontario, but forgot to lower the landing gear. Whoops! “The pilot was not injured but the aircraft was substantially damaged,” says the report.

• Someone was flying a radio controlled aircraft 200 feet above the runway at Mooney’s Bay, Ontario.

• While flying at 9,000 feet, an Air Canada flight 410 from Montreal to Toronto came within 500 vertical feet of slamming into an RCMP aircraft about 15 miles east of Person International. Such a collision would not be pretty, to put it mildly; not for the cops, not for the 150 people on the Air Canada flight, and not for the multitudes in the metropolis below.

• A Cessna pilot taking off from Montreal reported being hit by a green laser light.

• A Cessna float plane landed at Sudbury; while taxing back to the dock the left float took on water, and the plane flipped over. “The two souls on board evacuated the aircraft and were not injured,” reports the TSB with an unusual theological narrative for the event, but this makes me wonder if the pair’s material bodies were lost to the deeps and their “souls” escaped to look down upon the disaster. Please, TSB! Tell us: Was this an out-of-body experience with the bright white light at the end of the tunnel thing, or what exactly?

But since the TSB brought it up, this got me wondering: can souls be harmed? In the Christian tradition, at least, I think, souls are immutable. The body dies, but the soul goes to heaven or hell or is kept on ice in Limbo or in the very full waiting room of Purgatory. There, they can experience either great joy, great pain, exasperation, or boredom, respectively, but the soul itself seems to stay intact. It’s interesting that the Christians think that the never-ending tortures of hell are a greater penalty than non-existence, having the soul evaporate completely. I think Sartre wrote about that, but it was all in French, so I dunno. (The early Christian theologians, mostly Greek themselves, seemed to have wanted to riff on the Sisyphus thing.) And then there are the Hindu, who think the soul turns into another creature in the next life. Still again, though, the soul lives on. Either way, the soul seems indestructible, and so in that sense all-powerful, as powerful as God himself. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

YouTube video

In the harbour

6am: Asteria Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Sagunto, Spain
8am: Brevik Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France


I interviewed Graham Steele for this week’s Examineradio. If all goes well, that’ll be published late this afternoon. We’ve also got a piece from Chris Lambie in the works.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. I expect “pugh” is pronounced pew (or pee-you, as some say). Surely “phew” is pronounced few, as in a gasp of relief at misfortune avoided?

  2. Tim, you might be interested in knowing that “Highland Shepherd: James MacGregor, father of the Scottish enlightenment in Nova Scotia”, the first full length biography of James MacGregor (my great great great great grandfather) was published in 2015 by Dr Alan Wilson, a sometime subscriber to the Halifax Examiner. The “Letter to a clergyman….” was the earliest published attack on the practice of slavery in British North America.

  3. The “souls” thing is peculiar. When flying, you include the number of souls on board as part of your flight plan. Same with sailing. Why we don’t just say “people” is beyond me. The various harbour radio frequencies can be entertaining when the sailing fleets are heading out for the Wednesday night races, lots of souls participating.