1. Paper Excellence

“Nova Scotia’s NDP are planning to raise the issue of Paper Excellence and the findings of a recent media investigation into the company at an upcoming meeting of the provincial Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee,” reports Joan Baxter:

This follows a successful motion by the federal NDP natural resources critic, MP Charlie Angus, to invite Paper Excellence owner Jackson Wijaya appear before the Standing Committee on Natural Resources to “discuss the ownership structure and business relations of the Paper Excellence Corporation” and report the findings back to parliament. Angus expects the parliamentary investigation to begin in May.

In an interview with the Halifax Examiner, Nova Scotia NDP leader Claudia Chender said she had been following the media coverage of Paper Excellence that emerged from an investigation undertaken jointly by the ExaminerCBCGlacier MediaLe Monde and Radio France, which was part of the global Deforestation Inc. project led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

“The investigation is obviously very concerning,” Chender said.

Neither Premier Tim Houston or Liberal Leader Zach Churchill agreed to an interview.

Click here to read “Nova Scotia NDP to ask Natural Resources Committee to look into Paper Excellence.”

The other local news outlets are noticeably silent about the Deforestation Inc. investigation. I realize they aren’t in the business of promoting competing news organizations, but the investigation concerns one of the biggest resource industries in the country and has urgent environmental aspects. Besides, the national CBC was a partner in the investigation, but so far as I know CBC Nova Scotia hasn’t mentioned it.

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2. Police and Public Trust

A police officer in front of a police car.
Credit: Duk Han Lee/CBC

Speaking of CBC Nova Scotia, this morning it has published reporter Shaina Luck’s sprawling “Police and Public Trust” investigation, almost a year in the making:

Over the last 12 years, 55 Nova Scotia municipal police officers were repeatedly disciplined for misconduct following investigations in their own departments, CBC News has learned.

The numbers come from a CBC News analysis of more than a decade of data provided by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC), an arms-length provincial agency tasked with accepting, tracking and investigating complaints from the public about police officers.

The office’s mission statement is to “maintain public confidence” in municipal police through the complaints process.

The OPCC provided data from 941 files, which each represent a complaint against one or more officers. Some complaints contain multiple allegations against multiple officers.

The data has never been examined in such detail before, even by the OPCC. Seeking a better understanding of misconduct and discipline, CBC wanted to go beyond the annual statistics available from the OPCC and study the files — complaint by complaint.

The article includes a 143-page database that I’ll be sure to read through when time allows.

Congratulations to Luck for such detailed work.

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3. The pandemic and long-term care

A senior woman wearing a bright striped top, scarf and olive coloured jacket stands smiling broadly in front of a window beside a younger woman. The grinning younger woman is holding a phone in front of them, taking a selfie.
Credit: RODNAE Productions/

“When Caitlin McArthur began researching the pandemic’s effects on mental health in long-term care, she was surprised to find that it wasn’t all doom and gloom,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

“Certainly there were terrible things that happened (in long-term care). But we actually found when we dug into the literature that the results (regarding mental health) were very mixed. Some people did find that their mental health decreased. People became more anxious, more depressed, had a worse quality of life,” McArthur said. 

“But we also found that in some homes there wasn’t actually that big of a measurable change. Those homes had implemented some unique strategies. There’s two sides to the pandemic, and I think we’ve all experienced this in our life. There’ve been some good things and some bad things.”

Click here to read “Dalhousie researcher: pandemic’s effects on mental health in long-term care ‘very mixed.'”

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4. Auditor General report

A homeless encampment is next to a sign announcing the construction of a new Halifax Infirmary, which is now delayed. Credit: Jennifer Henderson

“Only 35% of recommendations made by the Auditor General in 2020 have been completed, according to a follow-up report issued Tuesday,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

The time frame for implementation is two years. 

“In the case of 2020, this is one of the worst follow-up rates in almost two decades,” said Auditor General Kim Adair. “Although government has completed 92% of 2018 recommendations, momentum has slowed to 61% and 35% in completing 2019 and 2020 recommendations, respectively.”

Adair flagged two recommendations from the audit of the QEII New Generation Project – Halifax Infirmary Expansion and Bayers Lake Community Outpatient Centre. The AG’s 2023 follow-up report says:

As of October 14, 2022, the Department of Public Works and Nova Scotia Health have not implemented a contract management process nor completed work to make sure the master plan reflects hospital system end user needs. That recommendation remains important now that the government has changed course in its delivery of the project.

The ‘changed course’ refers to the fact the government is now negotiating with a single P3 entity to design, finance, build, and maintain a larger version of a new Halifax Infirmary at the Bell Road and Summer Street site. An earlier competitor, Ellis Don Construction, dropped out last June. 

Click here to read “Auditor General: government is moving too slow on new hospital project.”

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Nova Scotia marks 3 years since the mass murders

the green roadsign to Portapique with a tartan sash tied around the post
The Portapique sign on Highway 2 was adorned with a NS tartan sash following the mass shooting that began there on April 18, 2020. Credit: Joan Baxter

It’s been three years since the terrible events that started in Portapique the night of April 18, 2020 and sprawled across the province the next day. There’s been particularly profound loss for the families and loved ones of the victims, but the rest of us have been unsettled as well. I don’t know that grief ever fades away, or even that it should. The trauma and loss and pain sits with us forever, part of who we are.

There are a number of small remembrances today. The province is asking people for a moment of silence at noon, and the buses will stop running for a minute at that time as well.

Beyond that, I don’t have much to say. Although there will be follow-ups, related issues, and commentary, probably forever, I’m likely done with the heavy reporting

It’s been exhausting.

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Following Jamelle Bouie‘s lead, I think I’ll start periodically telling you what I’m reading, listening to, and watching. Not that you should necessarily care, but maybe a few things here and there might interest a few readers.

Now reading

La relación de Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca — I’m fascinated by the early interactions between the Indigenous people of North America and Europeans, and this is one of the earliest.

Now listening

The Fall of Civilizations: Carthage — the latest in Paul Cooper’s series

Now watching

Lupin, on Netflix — who doesn’t like a heist story? And this one takes place in Paris, with lots of scenes in the Louvre and on the Seine and so forth (I keep yelling, “I’ve been there!”) and the charming Omar Sy playing Assane Diop, who is inspired by the fictional “gentleman thief” Arsène Lupin. A fun little romp.

YouTube video

This was a staged fight, not an actual fight, and from the end of George Dixon’s career, when he was way past his prime — but it’s still very cool. You can see the old-school bare knuckles style transitioning into a more modern style but with essentially no defence; they’re just pummelling each other. Dixon’s footwork is amazing, and man, that powerful punch.

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Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall and online) — agenda


Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall and online) — agenda

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, online) — agenda

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm, City Hall) — agenda

Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate and online) — agenda


No meetings

On campus



Racial capitalism and displacement/ dispossession in Black Africa: Parallels between Ghana and Canada (Wednesday, 3pm, Room 1009, Rowe Building) — Jasper Ayelazuno, candidate for Assistant or Associate Professor in Black and African Diaspora Studies will talk


Accelerating ocean research at Dalhousie (Thursday, 6:30pm, Atrium, Ocean Sciences Building and online) — panel discussion



Opening Reception (Thursday, 3pm, Point Pleasant Park) — Resonant Grounds: Site-Responsive Art in Point Pleasant Park; rain date April 22, more info here

Winter 2023 Sculpture Open House (Thursday, 5:30pm, Port Campus, Marginal Road) — more info here

In the harbour

02:30: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Hamburg, Germany
05:00: MSC Fiammetta, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Sines, Portugal
05:45: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
06:00: MSC Alyssa, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Montreal
12:00: CSL Metis, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea
14:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
14:30: MSC Alyssa sails for sea
14:45: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Baltimore
15:00: MSC Fiammetta sails for New York
17:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves to Autoport
21:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves back to Pier 41

Cape Breton
07:00: Phoenix Admiral, oil tanker, arrives at EverWind from New York


Nine years ago this week, I was in California. I had quit my job at The Coast, and took a vacation while contemplating my next career move. The Halifax Examiner turns nine in June.

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Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Last evening reading After Visiting Friends A Son’s Story by Michael Hainey, about his investigation into his father’s death, a newspaper man, I kept thinking this is a book that Tim B might find interesting.
    Linda Garber