On campus
In the harbour


1. Matricide

Mother Canada™
Mother Canada™

“The Liberal government says the towering Mother Canada[™] monument will not be built in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, as proponents claim the controversial memorial has become a victim of politics,” reports the Canadian Press.

That’s rich: “a victim of politics.” Mother Canada™ was created as a political weapon. Its purpose was to glorify war and promote unhinged patriotism, with the aim of shifting the political rhetoric and advancing proponents’ own political agenda.


hat 3

On Saturday, we published DEAD WRONG, Part 3: If Glen Assoun Didn’t Kill Brenda Way, Who Did?

Part 3 explains how and why Glen Assoun was released from prison. Along the way, we meet an astounding number of bad characters and violent men who were living in Dartmouth when Brenda was killed.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall, and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

3. El Jones

El Jones
El Jones

This past weekend, the Idealaw Conference: Access to Justice in Contemporary Canada was held at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Because of the work I’ve been doing on the DEAD WRONG series, I was particularly interested in a panel devoted to wrongful convictions; panelists included Mi’kmaq lawyer Paul Prosper, Justice David Farrar, lawyer Sean MacDonald, and prisoner advocate and Examiner contributor El Jones.

MacDonald is profiled in Part 3 of DEAD WRONG; he is the lawyer with the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted (AIDWYC) who took an interest in Glen Assoun’s case and successfully appealed for Assoun’s release. Farrar sits on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, and will likely have to make some decision on how Assoun’s case should be handled.

Sean MacDonald. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Sean MacDonald. Photo: Halifax Examiner

MacDonald’s talk was stirring. He explained how wrongful convictions for major crimes are often the result of a person losing credibility having spent years caught up in the justice system. Defendants can start with minor charges for theft or drug dealing, and even if they are factually innocent of those crimes, the system is structured to get defendants to plead guilty.

The defendant has two options: plead not guilty and fight the charge in court, risking an extended jail term, or plead guilty and get less time or even no time with probation. MacDonald said he refuses to enter a guilty plea for a client who says he is innocent, but there are plenty of lawyers who will, and the practice of lining up multiple Legal Aid clients — A Legal Aid certificate earns a lawyer $800 or $900 — can be monetarily rewarding: “all he or she has to do is check a box [guilty], and that’s the end of it; you can make thousands of dollars a day like that.” Lawyers call the practice “the dump truck.”

It’s these minor convictions that years later are held up by prosecutors to question a defendant’s credibility, and the defendant is often denied bail, making it harder to be actively involved in the case. Then the earlier convictions are paraded in front of the jury to show that the defendant is a horrible person.

MacDonald continued, telling the students in the room that “if you do your job correctly, you’ll make less money than the person working the drive-through window at McDonald’s.” Lawyers should put in the many hours needed to defend people on the minor charges, said MacDonald. “That’s our job.”

When Jones spoke, she explained that she’s not a lawyer or even a law student — she’s working on a PhD in English — but she’s been working with prisoners and has come to understand their situations, and that prisoners, even guilty prisoners, deserve respect as humans. She then launched into a poem.

I’ve seen Jones perform poems before and they are always heartfelt and moving, but this one took it to a new level. People in the audience were openly weeping. Her co-panelists were staring mouths agape. When she finished, she got a standing ovation.

The conference wasn’t recorded, but I was sitting in the back of the room and was recording for note-taking purposes with my voice recorder. I gave a copy of it last night to Examineradio producer Russell Gragg, who cleaned up the audio as best he could… and here it is:

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4. Examineradio, episode #47


This week we speak with interim NDP Leader, Maureen MacDonald; Deputy Minister for the Department of Seniors, Simon d’Entremont; and Judy McPhee, the Executive Director of Pharmaceutical Services for Nova Scotia.

The question for each of them: Is the McNeil government attempting to line the province’s coffers with money from seniors’ drug plans?

Also, Liberal-connected billionaires get sweet tax breaks, and Bay Ferries announces their “Swim Your Own Goddamned Way to Portland” promotion.

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(direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

5. Film tax credit

Halifax film company Arcadia Entertainment is weathering the loss of the provincial film tax credit by taking its operations elsewhere, reports Michael Gorman. That means less work for Nova Scotians.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall, and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

Incidentally, Gorman will have an article later today that will raise more than a few eyebrows, and maybe some fists.

6. Weather

Weather is coming today.

YouTube video


1. Universal drug plan

“Since we’ve been talking about seniors’ pharmacare, perhaps it’s time to change the modifier and resume a long-standing conversation about universal pharmacare,” writes Stephen Kimber:

The reality, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, is that a Canada-wide, no-deductible prescription drug benefit program financed through personal income taxes would save rather than cost taxpayers, reducing public and private spending on prescription drugs by 32 per cent.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

Let’s have a new Cape Breton song contest like CJCB had back in the 1960s. The Nathansons back then provided a platform for local talent to show what they could do.

They seemed dedicated to the community.

Maybe it would inspire us to develop an industry using our natural resources owned by the workers with possible government assistance.

CBU might help student engineers to work out something economical. A package that could be sent by water transportation.

Robert H. Campbell, Kempt Head Road



Northwest Community Council (7pm, that four-pad arena in Bedford with the name of a fucking bank plastered on it) — there’s a public hearing on proposed zoning changes in Bedford West.


No public meetings.

On Campus


Supposedly the Senate meets at 4pm. If you’re thinking about going, you might want to check to see if there’s weather and if there is whether the meeting is still a go. Otherwise, there are no other university events I’m aware of today.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:20am Monday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:20am Monday. Map:

Primus, container ship, arrived at Pier 42 this morning from Lisbon, Portugal. It sails to sea tomorrow.

No other port traffic today.


Meet Tempa Hull:


Hull is the Examiner’s office manager. At least, I think that’s the title we’ve settled on. We don’t have an actual physical office, but if we did, she’d be managing it. Hull’s taking care of all the administrative tasks for the Examiner — bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, subscriber issues, website maintenance, and so forth — along with some research assistance and the like. She started work last Monday, and already has been tremendous help; I don’t know how I could have survived the last week without her. You can reach her via email at tempa “at” halifaxexaminer “dot” ca.

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

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  1. Tim, thanks for recording El Jones at the Idealaw Conference.

    I had the same reaction when I listened two hours ago: stunned.

  2. Re: Green Cove. I’m not for this project. Listening to the As It Happens interview with Sean Howard, who speaks about the potential loss to the environment and scientific community, is enough for me to oppose pouring concrete at this location. However, I’d recommend people listen to Lewis MacKenzie’s interview on As It Happens (posted July 7, 2015) as he discusses some of the false information spread about the project, and talks about one of the main funder’s reasoning behind his support for this memorial at this location.

    Also, have we canned the “Victims of Communism” (*puke) memorial in Ottawa yet?