1. How the Biodiversity Act was killed

A clearcut on private land in Colchester County. Photo: Joan Baxter

We’ve taken Joan Baxter’s April 20 article, “How the Biodiversity Act was killed,” out from behind the paywall. In the article, Baxter explains:

Forest Nova Scotia, which represents the biggest forestry players, gets an awful lot of public money — including millions of dollars to administer a forest roads program panned by the auditor general. It also has a paid lobbyist swaying the policies of the very government that funds it, and who started working on its behalf just as the Biodiversity Act was gutted.

Click here to read “How the Biodiversity Act was killed.”

While anyone can now read the article for free, this sort of reporting does of course cost money to produce. If you find this work valuable, please consider supporting the Examiner by subscribing.

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2. Noise bylaw

Argyle Street at night. — Photo: Credit:

“New bylaw amendments would allow downtown Halifax bars to be louder for longer outdoors — but only until 11pm,” reports Zane Woodford:

Currently, the city’s Bylaw N-200 permits “noise generating activities” like amplified music from 7am to 9:30pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm on Saturday, and 9am to 7pm on Sunday.

The proposed bylaw amendments would exclude Argyle Street from those rules, allowing noise seven days a week from 9am to 11pm.

Click here to read “Noise bylaw amendments would mean louder downtown Halifax patios — but only until 11pm.”

This article is for subscribers. Click here to subscribe.

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The daily new case count and rolling 7-day average for all of Nova Scotia since March 28, the last day of zero new cases in Nova Scotia.

It’s increasingly looking like the current outbreak in Nova Scotia has peaked, but there’s still a long way to go before we can say it’s been contained.

The daily case counts and rolling 7-day average for Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone, since April 22.

For the Halifax area (Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone), the numbers are especially promising. After peaking at 202 new cases on May 7, there’s been a steady decline, all the way down to 41 new cases yesterday, the lowest daily case count since April 23 (when there were 33).

The daily case counts and rolling 7-day average for Nova Scotia Health’s Eastern Zone, since April 22.

In contrast, in the Eastern Zone (primarily the Sydney area) figures aren’t coming down appreciably. Yesterday there were 15 new cases in the Eastern Zone, which has a much smaller population than the Halifax area.

On the very good news front, Wednesday was a single-day record for vaccination, with 20,991 doses of vaccine administered. Indications are that yesterday was another record day. Nova Scotia is still lagging, but the pace is picking up:

People with first and second doses as a percentage of the entire population.

Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang have scheduled a COVID briefing for 2pm today. I’ll be covering it on my Twitter account.

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4. Port of Sydney

Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator recounts the board shakeup — the second in as many years — at the Port of Sydney Development Corporation (PSDC), and provides the history:

The point of this nine-member, upright citizens’ board was supposed to have been to oversee a corporation with a much broader mandate than that of the Sydney Ports Corp, which it replaced.

Where the SPC had overseen the marine terminal and cruise pavilion, the PSDC would oversee the entire harbor — including the greenfield site which the CBRM hoped to develop into a container terminal.

During the two years (from April Fool’s Day 2015 to April Fool’s Day 2017) in which the interim board was in place, it spent over $1 million (monies left over from the harbor dredge project) on “business development.” You can see the breakdown here, but it was all about funding consultants and commissioning studies and entertaining port executives in the name of the container terminal project.

Months before the permanent board was installed, the interim board (remember, that’s the mayor and a few councilors) recommended the PSDC’s mandate be reduced to the cruise pavilion and the marine terminal and responsibility for the broader harbor (and the container terminal project) returned to the CBRM. Lawyer Jim Gogan presented these recommendations to council and as I’ve written before:

It would have been very interesting to hear Gogan’s rationale for this change, given the PSDC had been incorporated precisely to fulfill the broader mandate he was now proposing to strip from it, but nobody asked him to elaborate. (I mean really, it’s like going through all the pain and expense of hair plugs and then shaving your head.)

We’ve been left with an organization that does exactly what the SPC used to do — only with a high-paid CEO and a nine-member board.

Campbell rightly decries the secrecy of port operations:

Board members frequently stress the unpaid nature of their work and it’s true, they’re not paid, but they do get make decisions like these, which involve the expenditure of public monies and the use and development of public infrastructure.

There’s no excuse for not making their deliberations around these decisions public.

It’s hard to understand that secrecy. Running the port shouldn’t be a secret operation and the manager and the city should welcome public scrutiny. That kind of openness will create a bit of public buy-in, a sense of ownership and pride. As is, it just seems like there’s something to hide, which makes everyone suspicious.

Click here to read “Port In (Another) Storm.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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5. The Tideline

The Tideline podcast is now free for all to listen to.

A week ago today, Suzanne Rent started as an editor at the Examiner, and already she is doing an amazing job. The Tideline is just one of many things that I’ve dropped the ball on as I’m stretched entirely too thin, but I tasked Suzanne with cleaning up my mess, and she just ran with it and fixed it. I much appreciate it!

Also, listen to this week’s episode, as Tara Thorne interviews the delightful Terra Spencer.

Suzanne explains how you get hooked up.

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It’s a movement! People are walking right into their local vaccination clinic, wearing their styling Halifax Examiner T-shirts, getting jabbed, and walking right back out again.

Jenny MacDonald

Aaaaaaaand vaccinated. 💉

— Jenny MacDonald (@jennykissedme) May 19, 2021

Megan LeForte
Tim Bousquet. Photo: Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

2 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, April 14

— Tim Bousquet (@Tim_Bousquet) April 14, 2021

Raymond Plourde

Just got my first COVID-19 shot today. A significant milestone. Big thanks to the nurses & volunteers at @IWKHealth. Just had to wear my @HfxExaminer T-shirt for the occasion in tribute to @Tim_Bousquet’s outstanding COVID coverage. Thank you Tim & Team Examiner. #vaccinated 💉

— Raymond Plourde (@EACwilderness) May 19, 2021

Pfizered, dose #1. Just four minutes left of my 15-minute waiting period before I can leave.

— Yvette d’Entremont (@ydentremont) May 20, 2021

You can join the movement, here!

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No meetings.

On campus


Online Physiology and Biophysics Research Day (Friday, 11am) — three online sessions composed of graduate student oral presentations and two keynote speakers: Ketul Chaudhary from Dalhousie University will talk about “Understanding Sex Differences in Right (-Sided) Heart Failure: Role of Angiogenesis”; Zamaneh Kassiri from the University of Alberta will talk about “Aortic Aneurysm: What Lies Beneath the Structural Degradation.”

In the harbour

02:30: MSC Brianna, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Barcelona
05:30: Siem Cicero, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
06:00: ZIM Shekou, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
09:30: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Montreal
12:00: Siem Cicero sails for sea

East Coast. Photo: Halifax Examiner

16:00: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
16:30: Nolhanava sails for Saint-Pierre
17:00: Ilios, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
17:30: ZIM Shekou sails for New York

Algoma Mariner. Photo: Halifax Examiner

21:30: Algoma Mariner, bulker, arrives at Pier 25/26 from Montreal

Cape Breton
09:00: Viktoria Viking, fish carrier, arrives at Osprey Dock (North Sydney) from St. John’s


Feels like Wednesday.

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

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  1. A noise bylaw dealing with ridiculous and obnoxious leaf blowers would be welcome.

        1. Absolutely! When I hear one nearby I have to run and shut all the windows against the fumes, and I live six floors up. It’s time those were banned.

          1. I’m with everyone on the leaf blowers. They are obnoxious and unnecessary noise polluters. When I lived in California, we tried to get them banned from Sacramento. Santa Barbara had already managed to ban them.

  2. Well if I HAD a Halifax Examiner t-shirt, I would have worn it yesterday when I got my vaccination! Any chance of being able to acquire one in time for my second shot (Sept 2)?

        1. Hi Pebbie! Go back to the home page, and on the black menu bar right below our logo you’ll see “Swag”, at the end on the right.

  3. Any stats on the % of each age category who’ve been eligible for vaccination and have done so? If getting 85% of those eligible, vaccinated is a requirement to end the lockdown, why aren’t we focusing more on that. Every day I speak with someone who has some excuse for why they haven’t gotten a shot. If they’re going to punish those who break lockdown protocols they should also start dealing with those refusing to participate in the solution. Carrot or stick.

    1. The shots are not mandatory for anyone in Nova Scotia, so what is there to punish? Each person has the right to make the choice they deem best for them and their situation and no one should criticize (or reward) the choice that is made.

      1. It is part of ending the pandemic. I feel they should be mandatory and if not, then without a valid reason, those who abstain should be responsible for any subsequent health care costs related to covid. That or they can remain in lockdown and the rest may resume activities. We have stopped traveling, isolated, home schooled, worked from home, etc etc etc for some un/undereducated fools to drag this out further because of something they read on Facebook. If we can’t get to 85% the easy way, then do it the hard way.

        1. I disagree with making these shots mandatory at this point in time. This virus is new and so are these shots. There is not enough data on the possible long-term implications of these shots or their effectiveness. Not everyone who is waiting for more data is an “un/undereducated fool” who wants “to drag this out further because of something they read on Facebook.”

        2. Covid-19 is in the ballpark of the 1968-9 “Hong Kong” flu pandemic in terms of causing excess mortality. There were no lockdowns. Woodstock and Apollo 8 went on as scheduled. The influenza virus travelled further than it ever had before, entering cislunar space inside the respiratory tract of an American astronaut, one of the three first people to orbit the moon.

          While I’ve dutifully worn my mask, obeyed other rules and have a vaccine appointment soon, the tremendous overreaction to this virus has been incredibly disturbing to watch. Our culture has lost the plot and we are clearly in the same sort of social territory that saw horses made senators and people complementing a naked emperor’s regalia.

  4. A new noise bylaw for Argyle street? First of all, who cares. Loud is loud and it already is loud so nobody even expects otherwise. There are lots of bylaws needing fixing. This was NOT one of them. They need to set some priorities.