Philip Moscovitch told me yesterday that I buried the lede when I announced a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been hired by the CBC to write and host a podcast series about the wrongful conviction of Glen Assoun. So here it is right in the lead (let the lede v lead wars begin): I’ve been hired by the CBC to write and host a podcast series about the wrongful conviction of Glen Assoun.

So I have two jobs now: managing the Halifax Examiner and working on the podcast.

I’m learning a lot about audio. My team and I are wandering around town with microphones and recording equipment, and I’m picking through hundreds of hours of archival audio to find the best bits. Additionally, new reporting on my part has uncovered new information that is quite, well, interesting. Somehow or another all this will come together in a multi-episode podcast series, one in the CBC’s “Uncovered” series. I’m quite excited about.

If all goes well, the podcast will go live in the spring.

However, I find myself stretched thin. I worked all weekend on the podcast, conducting one interview and plugging away at the archival audio. I found some great clips, and hope to incorporate them into the final product. I’m nearly finished converting the audio from one format to another (I won’t bore you with details), and now I feel I’m getting into the meat of the work.

In order to free up my time, we’re relying more on freelance writers for Morning File. For three days a week, I still get up at the usual 6am, but instead of digging through government procurements and all my Google News alerts, I dive into all things podcast.

On paper, this all balances out financially in the end, with income from the podcast covering the pay for freelancers. But there was considerable lead up to get to this point, so the Examiner is still in the hole because of the enormous legal bills we incurred related to the Assoun case. Basically, we gambled: we spent the money on the lawyer because we thought the Assoun story was worth it, and hoped that the money would work itself out later.

This is later. Now is the Examiner’s November subscription drive, and if you haven’t already, this would be an excellent time to join up. Subscriptions pay for the great work coming from the other writers, but in particular this month they additionally help us get out of this debt we find ourselves in. And, new subscriptions will free up more of my time (and relieve more of my stress), so I can do a better job of the podcast.

So, please subscribe.



1. Mining for (public) dollars

Touquoy gold mine at Moose River. Photo courtesy Raymond Plourde/ Environmental Action Centre

Writes Joan Baxter:

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS) has created a new organization called the Minerals Research Association of Nova Scotia (MRANS) with the aim of leveraging still more provincial grants to further enrich global mining companies — and their local operatives.

Baxter shows us the “cozy little club” of interconnected board memberships and the advisory council to the provincial Department of Energy and Mines, and then gets to the money part:

MRANS says that, “Nova Scotia’s mining and quarrying industry is seeking $19.5 million in government funding” for its “Minerals Play Fairway.”

The Minerals Play Fairway is a survey of the geology of Nova Scotia to better understand where best to dig for minerals. Baxter continues:

Why should the people of Nova Scotia foot the bills for geophysical surveys for the “global mining industry”? Surely the global mining industry can pay for its own damn surveys?

And why on earth would Nova Scotians entrust MRANS, not even one degree of separation away from the industry lobby group that created it, to “manage the funds” from government and “hire service providers” to do geophysical surveys?

Click here to read “Mining for (public) dollars.”

This article is for subscribers. Click here to subscribe.

2. Physician assistants

Not exactly as illustrated in Nova Scotia.

Writes Stephen Kimber:

The province has announced a pilot program to see if it’s safe to let physician assistants into our health care system. They already operate legally in much of the US, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and in the Canadian military. So why just a modest pilot project? We’re glad you asked.

Click here to read “Physician assistants? It shouldn’t be that hard. Really.”

This article is for subscribers. Click here to subscribe.

3. Northern Pulp loans

Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Northern Pulp and an associated company owe the province more than $85 million,” reports Aaron Beswick for the Chronicle Herald:

While the company and the Nova Scotia government have acknowledged the existence of outstanding debts to the taxpayer, neither have been willing to disclose the amounts.

The Chronicle Herald received the details on the interest-bearing loans via a Freedom of Information request.

Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation owes $20,093,700 on two loans dating back to 2009 and 2013.

Those loans, which bore respective interest rates of 3.3 per cent and 3.22 per cent, had a total initial value of $29,700,000 but the company has paid back $9,606,300.

Northern Timber Nova Scotia Corporation, a company affiliated with Northern Pulp, owes the province $65,384,837 on a $75-million loan made in 2010 so that it could purchase 172,000 hectares of woodland from a former owner of the Abercrombie Point Mill.  Like Northern Pulp, Northern Timber lists as its directors former premier John Hamm, mill general manager Bruce Chapman and Choong Wei Tan, who is associated with Northern Pulp owner Paper Excellence.

All three loans were announced publicly at the times they were made.

Joan Baxter reported on the loans in February, noting that:

Between 2009 and 2013, the government of Nova Scotia loaned or granted Northern Pulp $111.7 million for land purchases, infrastructure, and environmental upgrades, among other things.

At least one of the loans to Northern Pulp — $75 million for the purchase of 475,000 acres of timberland in the province in 2010 — doesn’t come due until 2040. So who knows how or when that will be repaid? A Freedom of Information request for details on the terms came back with those details redacted.

Redacted document received from a Freedom of Information request for the status of provincial loans to Northern Pulp.

It’s interesting that the province responded completely to Beswick’s Freedom of Information request but redacted its response to Baxter’s Freedom of Information request.

4. Eddie Carvery

Eddie Carvery. Photo: Tim Bousquet / The Coast

“Eddie Carvery defied eviction orders over the course of 50 years to force him from his birthplace,” reports Elizabeth Chiu for the CBC:

Now the trailers and hand-painted sign, symbols of his fight for reparations for the destruction of Africville, have vanished.

Carvery, 73, has agreed to end his stubborn protest because he’s now also fighting a second battle against age, illness and poverty.

“I don’t think I’ve got that much gas left in the tank, but I’m still willing to go the nine yards,” he said.

Carvery’s on-again and off-again occupation at Africville, located on the Bedford Basin shore in Halifax, started in 1970 when he was 24.

That was the year the final home in Africville was bulldozed by the city, following years of the same thing happening to the other houses and the church that formed the tight-knit black community.

I first met Carvery back in 2008.

5. “Subject to…”

The Alakai, docked at Yarmouth. Photo: Suzanne Rent

“After a season of delays in getting the ferry terminal renovated and approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Bay Ferries is now expecting a spring 2020 start to international ferry service between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia,” reports Becky Pritchard for the Mount Desert Islander (the newspaper that serves Bar Harbor, Maine):

Captain Skip Strong of the Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association has been keeping up with the progress, and heard from Bay Ferries representatives earlier this month that service should begin around May 15. “That’s still subject to the terminal getting completed and approved,” he added.

The state of Maine is so certain that the ferry service will resume that it has invested in… a sign:

The Maine Department of Transportation did install a new sign last month on Route 3 in anticipation of ferry service beginning, said spokesperson Paul Merrill.

The sign says “Maine – Welcome Home.”

Merrill said it is a smaller version of highway signs on the Maine border.

I guess it’s settled, then. The ferry will be up and running in May.

6. Tsunamis

Graphic: Natural Resources Canada

“Ninety years after the deadliest earthquake in Canadian history struck the North Atlantic, researchers have found evidence that the region is more vulnerable than they first thought,” reports Emma Smith for the CBC:

The lower part of the Scotian Slope, located south of Nova Scotia, experiences massive underwater landslides at a rate 10 times higher than initially believed, according to a recent study published in Geology.

They’re happening about once every 1,000 years, instead of once of every 10,000 years, the study found. 

This may represent “a significantly underestimated hazard along the western North Atlantic,” the authors wrote. 

The researchers uncovered remnants of four underwater landslides in the past 4,000 years on the scale of the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake that led to the death of 28 people along the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland.

I want to hand it to whoever it was at Natural Resources Canada who drew the graphic. It’s simple and informative, and looks good.




Board of Police Commissioners (Monday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — there will be a presentation about Sexual Assault Investigations, but the slide show doesn’t really tell us much.

Grants Committee (Monday, 3pm, City Hall) — rescheduled from November 4. Here’s the agenda.

Public Information Meeting – Case 22519 (Monday, 7pm, Old School Community Gathering Place, Musquodoboit Harbour) — Bianca and Pierre-Luc Sevigny want to operate an abattoir in West Petpeswick.


Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.

Advisory Committee for Accessibility in HRM Annual Town Hall Meeting (Tuesday, 6pm, Multipurpose Room, Cole Harbour Place) — here’s the agenda.



No public meetings.


Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, One Government Place) — the committee will discuss Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada (VETS).

On campus



Informing the prevention of depression with health data (Monday, 10am, Room 3H01, Tupper Building) — JianLi Wang from the University of Ottawa will talk.

Thesis Defence, Computer Science (Monday, 10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Yoshimasa Kubo will defend “Learning Stochastic Weight Masking to Resist Adversarial Attacks.”

Noon Hour Woodwinds Recital (Monday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dal Arts Centre) — with students of Patricia Creighton, Christine Feierabend, Brian James, Suzanne Lemieux, and Eileen Walsh.

Policing Black Lives: Is this too much Noise about Nothing? (Monday, 5:30pm, Room 1108, Mona Campbell Building) — panel discussion and workshop with Timothy Bryan, DeRico Symonds, Kate Macdonald, Connor Smithers-Mapp, Bria Symonds and JJ Wilson.

The Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) Conversation Series​ announces ​the first in our two-part series of discussions and interactive workshops on Policing Black Lives. The panel discussion seeks to interrogate how we look at, define and contribute to discussions on the Policing of Black Lives. Are Black Lives Policed? How, Where a​​nd When are Black Lives Policed? Is there one way of looking at and understanding the Policing of Black Lives? What are the effects of the Policing of Black Lives? Are the effects short-lived or enduring? Our panellists will address several questions revolving around the Policing of Black Lives and Bodies within their areas of experience, association and research. An interactive action-oriented workshop facilitated by panellists follows the panel discussion.

Light refreshments provided; please RSVP to help plan for food.

Chamber Music on Both Sides of the Bridge (Monday, 7:30pm, First Baptist Church, 1300 Oxford St., Halifax) — Fountain School students travel off-campus for two evenings of exquisite chamber music. In the fall, an all-instrumental concert in Halifax, with voice students joining in for the spring program in Cole Harbour. Admission for both events is by donation at the door.


How Relationships in Reality and Narrative Fiction Relate and Interact (Tuesday,11am, Room 3089, Rowe Management Building) — Raymond A. Mar from York University will talk.

How can imagined experiences in fictional story-worlds impact the way we think and feel in reality? Raymond Mar will summarize recent research from The Mar Lab at York University that explores the role intimate relationships have in shaping how we engage with stories:

Marina Rain’s research shows that adult attachment can predict how people engage with stories. Her results hint at how fiction satisfies different needs for those with different attachment styles.

Elizabeth van Monsjou’s research engages with the idea of “shipping,” in which people become strongly invested in the coupling of fictional characters. She investigates whether this is a unique form of media engagement, who is likely to ship and why, and the relationship between shippers and story creators.​

Not All Fun and Games: Tough Choices in Cultural Infrastructure Investments (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) — the tenth panel in the MacEachen Institute’s ten-week Policy Matters Speaker Series, featuring Darrell Dexter, Bill Greenlaw, Kevin Quigley, Åsa Kachan, and Gil Dares.

The decision to invest in Cultural and Recreational Infrastructure (CRI)—community centres, museums, music halls, swimming pools and ice rinks, for example—can help further important social, cultural, environmental, economic and health goals for the province.While the aspirations for these investments may be laudable and ambitious, there are limits to funding and capacity. As different orders of government are set to allocate funds for CRI in the coming years, decision makers must make difficult decisions that reconcile important but sometimes competing priorities, such social and environmental concerns, on the one hand, and financial and economic on the other. This panel will report on new research that examines the policy context for CRI decision-making in Nova Scotia and governance frameworks that can assist with difficult decisions and make values and trade-offs more explicit.

No reserved seating; live streamed here.

Saint Mary’s


No public events.


Accessibility Week Keynote Talk (Tuesday, 1pm, SB Theatre, in the building named after a grocery store) — MLA Kevin Murphy, Speaker of the House of Assembly, will talk.

Mount Saint Vincent


Annual MSVU Community Art Show (Tuesday, 10am, Art Gallery ) — with opening reception Wednesday at 12pm. More info here.

In the harbour

06:00: Pro Onyx, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Cape Canaveral, Florida
15:30: Glovis Countess, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from New York
17:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Palm Beach, Florida
21:00: Glovis Countess sails for sea

Where are the Canadian military ships?


We’re experiencing a technical issue with the website. The site seems to work normally for people just navigating about it, but people have reported problems with changing their subscription levels, and Iris and I are finding updates to pages get hung up. People smarter than me are looking into it, but even they have been flummoxed so far. They’ll figure it out soon, I’m sure.

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

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  1. On the 1929 tsunami, I hope everyone knows that Linden MacIntyre just published a fine book about the impact of that event on the communities of the Burin Peninsula — not just then, but for decades after. The book is called The Wake, and it’s on sale now. And Christmas is coming….

    1. Linden MacIntyre’s “story-telling” (his words) at the Newfoundland &d Labrador Historical Society:

      Communal Narrative as History on September 26, 2019

      “Much of the standard Canadian record provides too few voices of people in the front lines of daily, ordinary survival, whereas much of the NL historical record/consciousness is embedded in the story-telling tradition. Linden will speak about what he found in Newfoundland while working on his latest project – a wealth of material from eye-witnesses, victims etc., people with a gift for language, observation, in short, story telling.”

      The audio is available here: