On campus
In the harbour


1. Glyphosate

Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Northern Pulp’s plan to spray more than 1,300 hectares of woodland in Colchester and Halifax counties has some detractors stumped,” reports Francis Campbell for Local Xpress:

Northern Pulp has applied to the provincial Environment Department for a permit to apply VisionMax on 27 woodland sites in the two counties starting on Aug. 25 and extending into early October.

“No approvals have been issued,” Heather Fairbairn, a spokeswoman for the Environment Department, said earlier this week. She confirmed the department had received two applications from the Northern Timber Corp., an affiliate of Northern Pulp, to spray sites located in Tatamagouche, Upper Brookfield, Truro, Hopewell, Bass River, Debert and Burnside in Dartmouth with the silviculture herbicide.

The compound glyphosate constitutes 49 per cent of VisionMax, according to a 2011 data sheet from Monsanto Canada, the herbicide giant that produces glyphosate. The active herbicidal ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate has a long and controversial history in North America and Europe since its introduction in the early 1970s.

2. Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet
Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet

“The Alberta Department of Municipal Affairs says it’s begun a preliminary review into concerns raised by the council of Westlock County,” reports Kerry Campbell for the CBC:

The council of the small farming community north of Edmonton asked the province to conduct a review of its operations, including the conduct of its former chief administrative officer, who is now Charlottetown’s CAO.

The county’s former chief financial officer alleges that Peter Kelly, while serving as CAO, authorized development on county property for a lessee without receiving the required spending authorization from council. That lessee was to be the Horizon North project.


When contacted by CBC News this week, a spokesperson for the City of Charlottetown sent an email statement.

“At this point in time, the City of Charlottetown is awaiting the conclusion of the request by Westlock County to the Province of Alberta to conduct a review. If the review indicates any issues with Mr. Kelly, council will deal with the situation at that time.”

But Kelly’s six-month probationary period with the city of Charlottetown will likely be over well before the Albertan review is complete, so Charlottetown is probably stuck with him.

3. Fires

A water bomber at the Seven Mile Lake fire in Annapolis County. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia
A water bomber at the Seven Mile Lake fire in Annapolis County. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

“An Annapolis Royal firefighter says some of the recent wildfires across Nova Scotia appear to have been started intentionally,” reports Felicia Latour for the CBC:

Malcolm Francis, a fire chief with 37 years of firefighting experience, told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet in Halifax that his team has responded to multiple blazes in the past week, and that he noticed particular similarities that suggest not all the fires occurred by chance.

“I’m sure a lot of them are accidentally started by cigarette butts, but for the mass majority of fires we’ve been dealing with the past seven days, I believe they are deliberately set,” Francis said.

“The patterns seem to be the same. I don’t want to go into details, but all these fires had very close similarities,” he added.

I recall that when I reported on fires in California, most fires were started either by lightning or accidentally — a hot tail pipe touching dry grass or a mower striking a rock, for instance — but every now and then there was an arsonist at work. I remember one case in particular when a firefighter started a fire because he needed work. Other cases involved pyromaniacs who liked watching the huge firefighting response to their acts. These guys were almost always caught.

Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources has updated the status of all fires as of 8pm last night:

— despite the challenging weather conditions today, fire crews and aircraft held the line on all burning fires and gained ground on the fire at Seven Mile Lake, Annapolis Co.
— the fire at Seven Mile Lake, Annapolis Co., is still active but being held. Crews are making progress and the fire is 35 per cent contained
— the fire at Ten Mile Lake, Queens Co., is being held but continues to be very challenging
— the fire that started today at Round Hill, Annapolis Co. is 100 per cent contained and being patrolled. It was 0.1 hectares
— a new fire started at Coldbrook, Kings Co. It is out and was 0.01 hectares
— three new fires started in the Morganville area of Digby Co. All three are out and each was about 0.01 hectares
— there has been no change to fires previously reported on including Clyde River, Shelburne Co., Perch Lake, Pictou Co., West Dalhousie, Annapolis Co., Maitland Bridge, Annapolis Co., and Collingwood, Cumberland Co.
— as of Aug. 9, travel and activities within the woods are restricted. People can still access beaches and provincial parks, but trail systems are restricted and the fire ban remains in effect

In HRM, the following trails are closed:

• Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea (BLT) trail
• St. Margaret’s Bay trail
• Sackville Lakes Provincial Park trail
• The Musquodobit rail-to-trail system: Shearwater Flyer trail, Salt Marsh trail, Atlantic View trail, Blueberry Run trail
• Musquodoboit trailway and the associated trails — North/South Granite Ridge trails, Gibraltar Rock, Admiral Lake, Bayers Lake loop trails
• Cole Harbour Heritage Park
• Crowbar Lake trail
• Bluff Wilderness trail

The Chain of Lakes and Halifax Mainland Linear trails are open, as are all other city-owned parks and trails (Point Pleasant Park, Shubie Park, etc.).

McNabs Island is closed except for permitted commercial guided tours.

4. Facebook

“The Liberal government’s Facebook budget has nearly doubled since Stephen McNeil was elected Premier and now stands at $233,360.31, according to supplementary budget information released yesterday,” notes Mark Laventure, a former NDP staffer who now writes his own blog:

This is the same Liberal government that cut funding to dozens of community organizations in 2015-2016. So it would be interesting to know how the Premier can justify spending additional tens of thousands of dollars on social media campaigns while cutting $79,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association. 

The NDP government under Darrell Dexter didn’t buy Facebook advertising, but it did ramp up the PR budgets considerably, most notably with a untendered $303,000 contract with MT&L Public Relations for the “Ships Start Here” cheerleading campaign.

5. Yarmouth ferry


Passenger numbers on the Yarmouth ferry are trending upwards, but “Bay Ferries’ passenger numbers were 43 per cent below target between June 15 and Aug. 7,” reports Marieke Walsh for Global TV:

The numbers were released by Bay Ferries late Tuesday afternoon. The company released the numbers in averages over each week.

Based on the data, the ferry has had 18,014 riders. In order to meet the 60,000 passenger target for the season, it would have already had to see 32,079 passengers.


If the average from the first half of the season holds true for the rest of the season, the ferry could see roughly 34,000 passengers.

Meantime, if the ferry starts hitting its target — which the company says happened over the last weekend — it could see roughly 46,000 passengers. Either way, without a significant spike in passengers it’s not clear how the initial 60,000-passenger target will be met.

That could mean as much as a $5.2-million shortfall in revenue. The contract signed with Bay Ferries puts taxpayers on the hook for any shortfall in the company’s budget.

And in Yarmouth, Mayor Pam Mood is trying to convince business owners to stay open past the 9pm arrival of passengers, reports Michael Gorman for the CBC.

I’m going to go take a better photo of that boat.

6. Trolling

Metro is just trolling me.


1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

The definition in the dictionary of the noun “litter” is: “trash, such as paper, cans, and bottles that is left lying in an open or public place.”

It is not socially acceptable to drop such litter on the ground. On page 3 of the CBRM “Official Citizen Handbook” publication for 2016 they ask citizens to “Keep our community clean.” Within this publication, a detailed list of what is recyclable and what is garbage, is listed on pages 22 and 23. Nowhere on this very detailed list are cigarette butts mentioned. 

However, on pg. 27 under “Fire Prevention” it does say “Don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground or out of a vehicle.” This is not a smoking debate. This is a trash issue. If the streets were filled with thousands of empty beer cans, it wouldn’t take long for people to become verbal against that kind of trash. 

Why do far too many people seem to think its OK to throw this kind of trash on the ground? What does butt-out mean? To me the first thing that comes to mind is to extinguish the burning butt. Lots of people don’t even do that. 

It’s time cigarette butts are officially classified as trash and dealt with in the same manner as all trash. Next time you walk a main street in town or the front of a department store, take note of how many steps you take before seeing the next piece of cigarette-butt trash. 

British Columbia has taken a lead in this area, stating that the butts that get washed into the harbour kills the fish population. Congrats B.C. on being pro-active on this because that’s what it is, garbage.  

Terrance MacDonald, Howie Centre


Back when reporters covering the Olympics were a bit more opinionated:

YouTube video


No public meetings.

On campus


Thesis Defence, Neuroscience (1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) —  Matthew Stoyek will defend his thesis, “Autonomic Innervation and Control of Chronotropy in the Zebrafish Heart.”

“Downtown Milky Way” (7:15pm and 8:45pm, Room 120, Dunn Building) — The Halifax Planetarium’s latest offering. Reservations required: go to Families with children are given preference for the 7:15 shows.

In the harbour

Halifax to Sable Island, 8:45am Thursday. Map:
Halifax to Sable Island, 8:45am Thursday. Map:

5:30am: Talia, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Bremerhaven, Germany
6am: Atlantic Star, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
8am: NYK Diana, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
5pm: Energy Patriot, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
5pm: NYK Diana, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Southhampton, England

7:15: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
11am: Talia, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


I’m interviewing Stephen Maher for Examineradio today. Buddy wrote a book, and I read it.

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

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  1. Glyphosate is only one chemical soup we are forced breathe. Thousands of smokers ensure we have a steady cocktail of poisons in our lungs by forcing us to smoke with them in public places.

  2. WRT Peter Kelly’s 6 month probationary period (PP), all contracts that contain a “probationary clause” should include a process to extend the PP if circumstances are deemed to warrant such action…. PPs have been around for a long time, but they must be amendable when required. The process to extend a PP should be clearly defined and pass the test of fairness for both the employer and the new employee.

  3. Glyphosate is frightening stuff. You should ask Lil MacPherson, who knows a lot about it. Note, too, that you as a citizen don’t get any say on whether your air and perhaps your land are filled with poisons like this. And don’t expect your government to protect you; they’re in bed with the company, not with individual citizens — even citizens as prominent as Paul Sobey.

    The only realistic form of resistance would be a class action lawsuit alleging that the citizens’ constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person is infringed by the fact that the air in Pictou is dangerous to breathe. That’s the main point of the Green Rights project that has absorbed my energies for four years. See

    The Pictou mill situation is dealt with at some length in our CBC documentary, Defenders of the Dawn: Green Rights in the Maritimes, which can be streamed at You’ll have to subscribe to the site, but the first month is free. (The price of free admission is that you visit the site and consider continuing the subscription.)

    In September, we’ll post the 90-minute documentary GreenRights: The Human Right to a Healthy World — same site, same admission charge. This film has an augmented Pictou pulp mill segment.

    The argument that the courts are the only realistic way of defending the human right to health in a world where governments have been captured by corporate despoilers is also at the heart of my accompanying book, Warrior Lawyers: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth, also to be published in September.

    Forgive what may seem like a self-serving rant — and is, to some extent — but I’d really like my fellow-citizens to understand that people all over the world are winning such battles by using the courts, and that the courts are almost the only realistic arena for resistance that’s left to us. Protest doesn’t cut it. Regulation doesn’t cut it. Petitions don’t cut it. Sue the bastards: that strategy works in other countries, and we should be using it here.

    1. Don, what is needed are consequences for what was done. If we can’t bring our government to lay charges under the Westray Act for poisoning the air, then what is the use of the laws?

      217.1 Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.

      “the criminal law must be reserved for the most serious offences, those that involve grave moral faults…”

      Is this not the gravest of moral faults by Leo Glavine, Randy Delorey, Robert Strang, Darrell Dexter, Sterling Belliveau, and Northern Pulp management just to name a few? It’s not even a question for me. I worked at Northern Pulp for 17 years. I asked the questions and saw what happened.

      1. Robert, your point is well-taken — but it really illustrates the point of my project, which is that it shouldn’t only be the government that has the right to sue for infringements of your right to a healthy environment. You (and/or other citizens or groups of citizens) should have the right to do that on your own initiative.

        I take it you’re quoting the Criminal Code, and I agree with you that it should apply here — but it would be much harder to make criminal charges stick than to get a judge to issue a ruling that the offensive behaviour must stop. Once s/he’s done that, if it doesn’t stop, the company’s behaviour constitutes contempt of court, which opens up the prospect of heavy fines and other penalties. If we had the same legal right to a healthy environment that’s available in 180 of the 193 countries in the UN, you could do that. But Canada is one of the 13 laggards.

        1. While a person might have the right to sue, at this stage of the game that’s a Phyrric victory from my view. The offensive behaviour of running with a malfunctioning precipitator has stopped. Fines would be insignificant. All there is left is criminal charges against government and corporate entities. And they are likely as winnable as what you are proposing at the individual level. But it brings up a more important issue. Going after government MLA’s would be much more effective for our future. Fear is a strong motivator. The corporation at this stage doesn’t care, they aren’t into this for much money. They can walk away unscathed from anything. I’m on an android or I’d be more elaborate, but knowing what I know, criminal code charges are the only choice.