1. Trudeau and Abdi

Abdoul Abdi as a child. Image from

“A 23-year-old former refugee from Somalia waited in a segregated cell in New Brunswick Tuesday night as about two dozen of his supporters called attention to his case at the prime minister’s town hall in Lower Sackville, N.S,” reports Emma Smith for the CBC.

I detailed Abdi’s plight in yesterday’s Morning File.

I don’t see any news coverage of it, but in the meeting, Abdi’s sister, Fatuma Alyaan, asked Trudeau directly about Abdoul Abdi. A Facebook Live video of the Prime Minister’s mealy-mouthed response is here.

2. Fracking

Shale gas potential in Nova Scotia, from the newly released Onshore Atlas.

“Fracking is a controversial political topic,” notes Graham Steele, stating the obvious:

So far the McNeil government has mostly steered clear of the controversy. It essentially banned fracking, without ruling out future development.

That may change now that the government has posted an “Onshore Atlas” of shale gas potential.

The Onshore Atlas is broken down into many sub-documents. For those who don’t want or need to read the technical reports, there’s an Executive Summary.

The Onshore Atlas puts some hard numbers on how much shale gas there is in Nova Scotia. TL,DR: Lots, and it’s worth billions.

This Onshore Atlas was quietly posted yesterday on the Department of Energy website. There was no news release. Even on the Energy website, you have to hunt for it. Remember that the provincial government issues a news release every time a Cabinet minister farts., a subscription-based news service, has been after the Onshore Atlas for a year. It turns out that yesterday was the deadline for responding to an freedom of information (FOI) request. That would explain why the document went up yesterday.

Because is a subscription service, I can’t link to its story in today’s edition. But compliments to them and reporter Geoff Bird for staying on top of the story.

The Onshore Atlas will surely re-open the fracking debate in Nova Scotia. There’s lots of gas out there. Fracking is the only way to get it. So should we start fracking?

Here’s the Executive Summary.

The entire Atlas is here.

I check the province’s Open Data Portal every morning, and the Atlas hasn’t yet been listed on it. The Atlas is sorta public, but sorta not.

3. Another CEDIF bites the dust

Yesterday, the Nova Scotia Securities Commission issued a cease trade order for West Nova Agro Commodities Ltd. A similar order was issued last year for West Nova Agro, but that order was revoked in March. After the 2017 revocation, West Nova Agro manager Jonathan McClelland told the Chronicle Herald that “We just need to get it filed and everything will be on track.”

Established in 1999, West Nova Agro was one of the very first companies organized to take advantage of the Community Economic Investment Fund (CEDIF), which gives tax breaks to Nova Scotians who invest through it.

Last month, I noted the failure of another CEDIF, Fundy Tidal, and wrote:

I’m skeptical that tidal power will bring meaningful returns either economically or in power generation any time soon. I’m happy to be wrong about that.

But I’m even more skeptical of the CEDIF program. I’m not aware of even a single CEDIF project that has succeeded, while off the top of my head I can rattle off three that have failed: Seaport Farmers Market, Unique Solutions CEDIF, and now Fundy Tidal. Surely there must be some successes, but I’d like to see a success rate for the program over all.

4. Blue Thunder

YouTube video

The things I learn from my google news alerts…. For instance, this morning I learned via the websites Dangerous Minds and Vice that, Victor Willis, the author of “Just a Gigolo” (above, before it was covered by David Lee Roth, who made it even more famous) and the cop in the Village People, was the inspiration for a 1990s-era Halifax police band called Blue Thunder.

Blue Thunder somehow made its way to Slovakia, where the band played before a bunch of Eastern European step dancers and teeny boppers and recorded a few videos, including “Let Me Tell you Something,” which seems to be about a 42-year-old woman working in a liquor store talking down a 16-year-old boy robbing the place:

YouTube video

Er, 42-year-old women working in liquor stores (and anyone else facing a shotgun-wielding robber)… DON’T DO THIS. Give the thief the money, let the cops and insurance companies deal with it later. Your safety is more important than the eighty bucks in the till.

Christ on stick, cops, don’t be telling people this.

5. Spitting on cops

On a much more serious note, a recent court filing illustrates some of the issues cops have to worry about on an ongoing basis. I’m withholding names in this account because the court filing contains personal health information.

In the early morning hours of December 8, Cops A, B, and C. went to a home in North Dartmouth to arrest Mr. P for assault with a weapon. I know nothing else about the underlying charge.

According to Cop A’s affidavit, when the officers got to the house, Mr. P’s mother answered the door and told them that Mr. P was inside. The cops went in and found Mr. P hiding under the kitchen sink. They told him he was under arrest but he refused to come out. “He actively resisted our attempts to handcuff him,” wrote Cop A.

Cop A and Cop B finally got Mr. P out from under the sink and marched him out to a police wagon, and as they were placing him in the wagon, “before we closed the door, Mr. [P] attempted to exit the wagon. Mr. [P] spat on me at this time. His spittle went into my eyes and mouth, and onto my face and vest. Mr. [P] also spat on [Cop B’s] forehead and [Cop C]’s forehead and left shoulder.”

Under questioning at the police department, Mr. P told detective Kristen Bradley that he (Mr. P) was infected with both Hepatitis C and HIV. Bradley asked him to consent to take a blood sample, “However, as Mr. [P] was being taken back to his cell, he attempted to disarm Constable Ross Webb and was fighting him.” So, no blood sample.

A few days later, on December 14, while Mr. P was being housed at the Burnside Jail, he once again was asked to provide a blood sample, but “refused to leave his cell.”

Meanwhile, Cop A had immediately gone to the Halifax Infirmary and “started a course of prophylactic treatment consisting of a 28-day cycle of antiretroviral drugs.”

“I am unable to conclusively determine at this time whether I have been infected with HIV or Hepatitis C,” wrote Cop A in his affidavit. “This ongoing uncertainty is profoundly distressing to me and my family.”

No doubt.

Cop A’s affidavit was filed as part of a request to compel Mr. P to give a blood sample. But as soon as it was filed, Mr. P agreed to provide the sample.

The court document doesn’t say what the results of that sample were, or whether Cop A was infected. The allegations in the affidavit about Mr. P have not been tested in court.

6. The city’s website sucks

Have I mentioned that the city’s website sucks? It’s been taken over by demons this morning, and I’m getting various messages like this:

and this:

As a result, I can’t provide much info on the meetings listed below.




Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — council begins debating next year’s budget.

Halifax Explosion Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, Room B239, NSCC Leed Street Campus) — the committee will evaluate its grant program, just in case we have another Explosion and those people 100 years later wonder if we got it right.

Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (Wednesday, 5pm, HEMDCC Large Meeting Space, Alderney Landing) — just an organizational meeting.


FCM 2018 Conference Advisory Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — the agenda.

Public Information Meeting – Case 21076 (Thursday, 7pm, NSCC Leeds Street Campus) — the agenda.



Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — the committee will discuss funding for Ocean Innovation Centre: COVE (Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship). I was going to go, but I’m already too late.


Economic Development (Thursday, 10am, One Government Place) — about immigration.

On campus



Newfangled Rounds: GreyLit (Wednesday, 8am, Weather Watch Room, Dickson Building, VG) — Cora Cole and Lori Wozney, from the IWK Centre for Research in Family Health, will speak on “GreyLit – The Missing Piece in your Decision Making.” To register:


rDNA (Thursday, 10am, Theatre A, Tupper Building Link) — Marlene Snyder from Acadia University will speak on “The Hidden Signature of rDNA Evolution in Our Genome.”

Opening Reception: 64th Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition (Thursday, 4pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — Open until January 28, and includes folks from King’s. See here.

In the harbour

5am: Berlin Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
6am: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
8am: Damia Desgagnes, asphalt tanker, sails from MacAsphalt for parts unknown, at least to us
8:30am: Horizon Star, offshore supply ship, arrives at Pier 9 from Bay Bulls, Newfoundland
11:30am: Berlin Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4pm: Grand Pioneer, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
4pm: Hafina Daisy, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage for bunkers from Montreal
4pm: East Coast, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for Saint John
6pm: Hermitage Bridge, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John


I’m disappointed that nobody seems to have caught my Dead Dog Cafe reference yesterday.

I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. Here are the key figures needed to talk about fracking.

    1/ The amount of the proven reserve, meaning how much oil and gas is there.
    2/ The extraction ratio, meaning given the geology how much of the reserve can be extracted. That is defined as the technically recoverable resource using today’s best technology or the ultimately recoverable resources using any future technology.
    3/ The infrastructure cost, meaning the pipelines, roads, technology, systems and resources required to do the fracking.
    4/ The market value of the product. Since it is not part of this study few conclusions can be made. NS, by way of analogy is also filled with gold but since the extraction cost is higher than the market price there is little real gold mining in NS.
    5/ The opportunity cost… the amount lost by NOT pursuing another course of action. This could be anything from the cost of capital to the loss of forest and water resources, to the undermining of our NS brand and reputation.

    The new Atlas was meant to speak to question one, which it does, but readers MUST concern themselves with the statements of uncertainty expressed at all points throughout the document. A key weakness of existing resource estimates shown again and again in the literature and experience is the absence of a rigorous approach to handling uncertainty. While this study mentions uncertainty in passing and gives a range in final resource estimates it does not provide a thorough analysis of the sources and consequences of uncertainty or present their results in the form of a probability distribution. Studies using the geological approach are particularly poor in this regard.

    1. This, along with many other examples, is why I take the time to read the Examiner’s comments section. Thanks for the education on this John.

  2. The stadium scam supported by a left-wing mayor :

    ” The Liverpool mayor, Joe Anderson, has defended the city council’s decision to lend Everton £280m to help build a stadium at Bramley Moore dock, arguing that the arrangement fits in with an existing invest-to-earn strategy and will actually make money for the region over the next 25 years. …….“There is no risk to the city or the council from what we are doing,” the Labour mayor told the Liverpool Echo. “We are trying to bring in more revenue, and this should make a profit of nearly £200m over the next 25 years. It is estimated the city council could make £7m-a-year profit from interest charged on a loan of £280m over 25 years, plus extra revenue from business rates and related developments once the stadium is up and running.”

  3. Not sure why all the excitement over the Atlas. Perhaps it’s the big numbers but these numbers are actually lower than estimates in a report for the Wheeler committee, co-authored by Ray Ritcey. That report suggested a “low range” of 10 tcf recovered and royalties of $5.9 billion. The Atlas suggests only 4.5 tcf of recoverable gas and royalties ranging from $1.36 to $4.09 billion. So, if I understand the Atlas, its bonanza is smaller than the “low range” estimate contained in Wheeler. If anything the Atlas provides further support for the fracking ban, not a reason to revisit the decision,

    1. Thanks for that info, Richard. That would seem to be the most important takeaway from the Atlas.

    2. Perhaps if we developed our own natural gas resources we wouldn’t need to import gas from Gabon to Saint John, or from the USA.
      ” As the NEB toll and abandonment cases evolve, Enbridge Inc. is seeking approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a project called Atlantic Bridge to enable exports of Marcellus and Utica shale gas to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.”
      As an aside, why is the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board recruiting another PR person ?

  4. It is time to tell the fracking people to just go away and stop trying to push their greed-driven lust on this province. There is no need for the products of fracking anymore nor will there be in any reasonable model of the future. The geophysical effects of fracking are well documented now and the myth of it being environmentally inert clearly disapproven.

    1. Totally agree, Dartmouth Oldie. While we are actually starting to experience the first effects of climate change there are people out there who think it’s a good idea to produce yet more fossil fuels for us to burn, shattering the earth while we are at it. Honestly, I despair.

      1. To think that our learned leaders would be able to negotiate in the province’s favour regarding fracking is absurd.

        No doubt we would be saddled with fracking waste, environmental degradation, a useless royalty scheme and private sector drilling companies making off like bandits.

        Count me out.

    1. That’s of course true, but it’s easier to be sanguine about this sort of thing when it isn’t spit from an HIV and Hepatitis C positive person in your eyes. Hepatitis C is somewhat transmissible by saliva – and saliva can contain blood as well.

  5. What a horrible situation for that police offer. Thanks for telling us about it. It is important to have a balanced understanding of the challenges faced by police officers in performing their duties.

  6. It’s really something that we allow birth tourism but won’t grant citizenship to people like Abdoul Abdi.