1. Women in prison

“The number of women in federal prisons has jumped significantly in Canada in the last decade, and advocates say that’s evidence of what happens when community support programs are cut,” reports David Burke for the CBC:

There are 37 per cent more women behind bars than there were 10 years ago, according to Ivan Zinger, Canada’s correctional investigator, who serves as an ombudsman for federal inmates. He said women are one of the fastest-growing populations in the federal system.

Many have been victims of crime themselves, he said. More than two-thirds report being sexually abused at some point in their lives, and nearly 90 per cent were physically abused.

2. Northern Pulp

Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“A Nova Scotia pulp mill has been fined nearly $700 by the province after flunking a stack test in June, but the amount has the premier questioning whether it’s enough of a deterrent,” reports Keith Doucette for the Canadian Press:

[Environment Minister Iain] Rankin said the fine was appropriate, but he wouldn’t say whether he thought it was minuscule given the province is dealing with a large multi-national company. He said under current regulations, ministerial summary offence fines could run as high as $1,200.

Premier Stephen McNeil wasn’t as reluctant to question the amount.

“I think the first question, regardless of who it is, is $750 enough of a fine?” he said.

McNeil said he has asked the department to review its summary fines as a result.

3. World-class racism

“Owners of Halifax dance club The Dome are defending their decision to enforce a new dress code that bans items like hoodies, team jerseys, do-rags, baseball hats, joggers, backpacks and chains,” reports Anjuli Patil for the CBC, without bothering to mention that anyone at all finds the dress code racist.

“We are changing from the dirty Dome to a world-class service,” said Alex Elshimy, vice-president of the Grafton Connor Group, the company that owns The Dome.

4. Driver’s licences

We’re getting new driver’s licences, says a press release from Service Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia and the three other Atlantic provinces, are introducing a new, highly secure driver’s licence and photo ID card. Starting in November, the cards will be printed at a central facility shared by all four provinces and mailed to clients within 14 days.

“The main reason for this change is to protect Nova Scotians against identity theft and fraud,” said Lloyd Hines, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “These changes will help us keep pace with the latest security and technology advances, and bring us in line with the rest of the country.”

Now I’ll have to find which one of those mailboxes is mine. It’s been, what, two years?, and I still haven’t gone to my “community” mail box; I don’t even know where the key is. Might be some unpaid bills in that thing, but probably just a bunch of junk.

5. Meh

Some days there just isn’t real news to discuss.

Oh, there’s stuff out there. Like a press release from a pest control company that has been repurposed into free advertising for the company, but I feel a little icky even linking to it, and do I really want to waste my time arguing that one company’s call experience (even if reported honestly, as opposed to targeting customers in certain areas) isn’t a true scientific analysis of rodent populations? I think not.

Then there’s a couple whose dog was killed in a bizarre interaction with a passing dog walker. There’s a small personal tragedy there, and were it my next door neighbour’s dog, I’d go over and express sympathy. But even if I had the budget, I wouldn’t assign a reporter to the story.

A story I’ve been avoiding is the lobster boat-torching on the south shore, which, despite people on the ground insisting otherwise, appears to have racial overtones. I won’t get into it in depth now, but I once reported on an issue that affected a black family in the American south. The next day, the father of the family came in and complained to my editor, and I was called in. Was anything I reported factual incorrect? No. Did I get any quotes wrong? No. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. But I was younger then, and in retrospect somewhat naive. I now understand that simply reporting on race issues affects people where they live, their interactions with neighbours and coworkers. That’s not to say those stories should be avoided, but they require a sensitivity and an awareness that the subjects of the reporting live on with the story, while the reporter moves on to the next story across town, or across the state, or across the province. That’s not necessarily a criticism of the reporters in this instance, but rather an explanation for why I’m a bit reluctant to weigh in on it.

And Sidney Crosby. Crosby declined to join Donald Trump on the podium at the White House yesterday, reports Zane Woodford, but “[a]t the end of the ceremony on his way out, Trump walked back to Crosby for a successful on-camera handshake.” I’ve searched the internet for the photo of Crosby and Trump shaking hands, but as of this morning it’s not posted anywhere that I can find. My first reaction to the story is that this middling go-to-the-White House-but-don’t-go-to-the-podium is the epitome of moral cowardice — I mean, I don’t think Crosby should’ve gone to the White House at all, but if you’re going to go, go whole hog.

Lastly, there’s the “Supercluster.” Just the word sets my bullshit detectors ringing like crazy, and I simply don’t have the energy to parse it all. Did anyone catch how we’ve replaced the I-word with “newfangled”? Where practical, that will be an ongoing practice.

I was up late last night, talking wrongful convictions. Sorry to be so uninspired this morning.


1. Energy East

Richard Starr reviews how the business decision to kill the Energy East pipeline has been politicized beyond all reason, and along the way notes:

Of course, Irving Oil was a partner in the Energy East project, expected to refine some of the pipeline-delivered oil, while exporting the bulk of it through a new terminal. Although the hyperbolic Telegraph-Journal envisioned Energy East “making us a wealthy, self-sustaining province again” the proposed terminal was in fact a relatively modest $300 million investment, employing no more than 50 people in hard-pressed Saint John.

Unlike New Brunswick, Nova Scotia had nothing — however modest — to gain from the pipeline and would have shared with New Brunswick the environmental risk of significantly increased tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine. Nevertheless, some past and present Nova Scotia politicians lamented the lost opportunity for a pipeline extension linking the Maritimes to the national grid.

And while refraining from separatist talk, the Chronicle-Herald’s editorialist exhibited the same regretful tone, complaining that in the eyes of the federal Liberals Atlantic Canada is “At the bottom. Where it’s OK to be the only region not connected to the national pipeline… left to get its oil from such bastions of political stability and climate enlightenment as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.”

There is a two-word response to such concern. Offshore Newfoundland.

If it is so vital to the region’s interest to use Canadian oil, maybe we should encourage Irving and any other refiners selling into the Maritimes to purchase and refine the stuff from Newfoundland instead of those other awful places. Getting Irving to do that may not be as straightforward as it sounds. But it seems like a better plan than the expenditure of almost $16 billion so that we can hook up to the delivery system for a product we must drastically cut down on if we are going to survive.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

I recently viewed an exhibition at the Museum on Summer Street of Peggy Cameron’s photographic inventory of the housing on Robie Street in Halifax.

The problem is that we are going to lose this architecture. If you want to know why, and what we can do to save it, go to see this exhibition! It is truly an eye-opener, revealing what is about to happen to the city, and us.

Peter McCurdy, Halifax




Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (Wednesday, 5pm, Alderney Public Library) — the board will discuss a proposal to create a water quality monitoring program for HRM.

Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee Public Meeting – Case 20577(Wednesday, 7pm, Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum) — Abe Salloum, the owner of Tony’s Pizza and the now-defunct Tony’s Variety, wants to build an eight-storey apartment building at the southeast corner of Cunard and Robie Streets (where the variety store was), extending across the entire block to Compton Avenue. There aren’t yet any pretty pictures of the thing.


Appeals Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall) — people are upset with Christine Walker.

Volunteer – Info Session (Thursday, 6:30pm, Halifax Central Library) — you can be on a city board, committee, or commission. Well, probably not you, but somebody with better manners and more patience can. And if they want to do that, they should click here.



Legislature sits (Wednesday, 1pm, Province House)


Legislature sits (Thursday, 1pm, Province House)

On campus



Newfangled Tiny Imaging Devices (Wednesday, 8am, Weather Watch Room, 5th Fl. Dickson Building, VG) — Jeremy Brown from Dalhousie will talk about how he and his buds have made newfangled imaging doodads (not the technical term) and how they’ve monetized these newfangled things.

Design Science Research (Wednesday, 11:30am, MA310) — Sylvie Dore will speak.

Drug Delivery (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Marya Ahmed from the University of Prince Edward Island will speak on “Synthetic Biomaterials as Drug Delivery Carriers.”​

Halifax Explosion Commemoration Event (Wednesday, 6pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — opening of the Dal Art Gallery’s Halifax Explosion exhibit, with a panel discussion at 7pm composed of David Sutherland, Brian Lilley, Michelle Hebert Boyd, Ismael Aquino, Gloria Stephens, and Martha Radice.


Visualization of Bernoulli Numbers (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Lin Jiu will speak. The abstract:

Experimental mathematics is an approach through computation to investigate mathematical objects and identify properties and patterns. Due to the functions and commands of mathematical softwares, plenty of options for presenting and visualizing numbers and sequences can be easily found and applied. Therefore, the first part of the talk will present several of these methods from different problems, in number theory and combinatorics. Focusing on Bernoulli numbers and Bernoulli polynomials in the second part, combinatorial and probabilistic representations/visualizations follow, interpreting Bernoulli numbers/polynomials in terms of random variable, binary tree and lattice paths.

YouTube video

The Commissar (Thursday, 2:30pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Aleksandr Askoldov’s 1967 Russian Civil War drama, shot to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Revolution.

Clustering Via Mixture Models (Thursday, 3:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Paul McNicholas from McMaster University will speak.

Erika Dyck. Photo: University of of Saskatchewan

Psychedelic Substances (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall, University of King’s College) — Erika Dyck, from the University of Saskatchewan, will speak on “Who is Keeping Tabs? Psychedelics, Science, and Drug Policy in the 21st Century.” From the event listing:

Psychedelic substances fell from medical grace nearly half a century ago, but recent activity suggests that they may be making a return to research. The psychedelic renaissance, if there is one, remains plagued by competing interpretations of effective drug regulation, ethical experimentation, and the role of spirituality in medicine. Join Dr. Erika Dyck, Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, for a presentation on the political and medical history of psychedelics and how those past lessons might apply to medical research in the age of evidence-based science and drug policy.​

Dr. Dyck is the author of Facing the History of Eugenics (2015), Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD on the Canadian Prairies (2012, Managing Madness (2017) and The Uses of Humans in Experiments (2016).

Canada’s Fisheries (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Theatre, McCain Building) — Julia Baum from the University of Victoria, Stephanie Boudreau from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Susanna Fuller from the Ecology Action Centre, and Coilin Minto from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland, will speak on “25 Years After the Cod Collapse: The Future of Canada’s Fisheries.”​

Gunther Hasinger. Photo:

Black Holes and the Fate of the Universe (Thursday, 8pm, the auditorium named after a bank) — Günther Hasinger from the University of Hawaii, will speak. Bring your own black hole.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9:30am Wednesday. Map:

5:30am: Clover Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Bremerhaven, Germany
6am: ZIM Alabama, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Algeciras, Spain
9:15am: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,446 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Saint John
10am: Carnival Sunshine, cruise ship with up to 3,000 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Portland
11:30am: Clover Ace, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
1pm: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Saint John
2:30pm: Algoma Mariner, bulker, arrives at Pier 25 from Montreal
4:30pm: ZIM Alabama, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
5:30pm: Carnival Sunshine, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Saint John
7pm: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Baltimore


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

Tim Bousquet

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

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    1. Gemalto, which is a big multi-national company. Its two Canadian offices are in Ontario. They don’t have a registered lobbyist in Nova Scotia.

      1. The licences are designed in conjunction with NB and I think PEI. If there was porkbarrelling, it would have had to have been divvied up to all three troughs. We will have identical licences. Surely a step forward on the road to Maritime Union and One World Government….

  1. Like many refiners Irving uses different sources for crude oil to obtain different products. Heavy crude produces asphalt. Irving uses crude from offshore Newfoundland, Caspian Sea, Angola, Saudi Arabia and Angola.
    Crude oil spills from tankers are very rare these days
    ” The total amount of oil lost to the environment through tanker incidents in 2016 was approximately 6,000 tonnes, the majority of which can be attributed to the large spill (>700 tonnes) recorded in September. ”
    The level of ignorance of marine transport of oil is astounding.

    1. Since when is 700 a “majority” of 6000? Ignorance can be found everywhere, it seems, even at

      1. I thought the same thing, but in the link the “>700” just refers to their categorization of a “large” spill. The spill in question was actually approximately 5500 tonnes. So it’s just bad English, not bad math.

      2. It means ‘greater than’.
        The link assumes that readers have interest in the subject and therefore understand the symbol.

  2. Northern Pulp
    The premier’s unhappiness with the fine issued to NP is misdirected. NP was issued a Summary Offense Ticket (SOT), which is similar to a traffic ticket. The Environment Department had the option of issuing a “long form information,” which brings the miscreant organization to court and can result in a fine of $1 million. So, the huffing and puffing about the size of the fine is, um, misleading. The real question is, considering NP’s record, why NSE didn’t opt for prosecution.

  3. Ultimately when determining a fine for a business/corporation, it should be calculated based on the offender’s ability to pay, if it is truly intended to be a deterrent. Yes it should be also reflect the severity of the infraction, pay for clean up if possible, and whether it is a repeat offence; but if the fine is not substantial enough to get the offender’s attention, then it fails in its purpose.

    Crimes like excessive emissions are crimes against the local community, as well, so some form of obligatory compensation should also be assessed against the offender; the compensation amount would be used by the local community for a community beneficial purpose to be determined by the residents of the community. It is time to start recognizing that when emission crimes occur it is the local community that bears the greatest risks.

  4. I wouldn’t have called something a supercluster simply because of the description that will inevitably follow if it is unsuccessful.

  5. Doesn’t matter. The CTI project is looking better now. The ships serving the CTI oil project will be sailing through the Strait of Canso from the tank farm at Belledune to wherever they are shipping that stuff, and there isn’t a damned thing Nova Scotia can do about it. The difference is that unlike the Energy East oil, this oil won’t be refined in Canada but in refineries overseas.