On campus
In the harbour


1. Yarmouth ferry


“The Portland government has asked a senator for help finding an old navy vessel to salvage the Yarmouth ferry ,” reports the CBC. Maybe the USS Arizona?


“Multiple sources confirm that the company has set its sights on a high-speed ferry that once served the Hawaiian Islands and is now owned by the United States navy,” reports Michael Gorman:

The USNS Puerto Rico, formerly known as the Alakai, is a 106-metre ship that allows for roll on-roll off transfer. According to Wikipedia, the ship has a capacity of 866 passengers and up to 282 subcompact cars and was christened in 2007.

The former RSNS Puerto Rico, which now belongs to the US navy, may be acquired by Bay Ferries for the Yarmouth to Portland ferry service. Photo: Polihale at Wikipedia
The former RSNS Puerto Rico, which now belongs to the US navy, may be acquired by Bay Ferries for the Yarmouth to Portland ferry service. Photo: Polihale at Wikipedia



Tomorrow at noon, I’ll be publishing the next instalment of the DEAD WRONG series.

Part 3: If Glen Assoun Didn’t Kill Brenda Way, Who Did? shows how Assoun was the likely victim of a combination of circumstance, bad luck, improper legal procedure, and conspiracy, and profiles the astounding number of violent men who preyed upon women in Dartmouth, any one of whom could’ve been the actual murderer.

The DEAD WRONG series is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

3.  Mealymouthed nonsense

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

Peter Kelly tells Remo Zaccagna that he’s thinking about running for mayor. Of course, Kelly can’t just say “I’m thinking of running for mayor”; instead, in typical Kelly fashion, he mangles the language and spews out some mealymouthed nonsense:

“I will be taking all aspects into account before my final decision is made in terms of possibly going back into that direction,” he said.

Who talks like this? For the DEAD WRONG series I’ve been talking with a lot of former crack addicts and people with little or no education. For the most part, I like them. They’re straight shooters who speak in simple declarative statements that make sense. Kelly, on the other hand, speaks with so many conditional words and with such lack of precision that you need a white board, a pack of multicoloured markers, and a bottle of whisky in order to parse his sentences and make something like sense of them.

Zaccagna continues:

Almost exactly four years ago, in February 2012, it was revealed by journalist Tim Bousquet, formerly of the Coast, that Kelly took $145,000 from Mary Thibeault’s estate, which was on top of the five per cent he was given as executor of the will.

Kelly, who eventually reached a settlement with five of the other heirs of the estate, said that controversy will not factor into his decision on whether he will run for mayor again. 

“That issue has been fully resolved,” he said. “And there were certainly many lessons learned, and one learns from those mistakes and moves forward.”

Sigh. I’m not going to get into it, other than to say this: I spent a year of my life investigating all things Peter Kelly. Through the course of that investigation I learned all about the Thibeault estate, yes, but I also learned about a lot of other things too. I didn’t write about those other things, but I still have my notes.

I’m so done with the Peter Kelly story. I’m onto other and frankly more interesting things. I don’t want my legacy to be about reporting on the lack of accountability for a mealymouthed politician. I wish Kelly well; he’s moved back to town for whatever personal reasons he has, and good luck. But please, stay out of politics. I don’t want to go there. You don’t want me to go there.

4. Metro’s “sexiest city” article is fucked

Newspapers across the continent are failing as advertising revenue collapses, and yet for some reason Torstar, which owns Metro, every year gives a sex toy company free advertising. (The Halifax Metro website links to a Toronto story; I assume it’s in the local dead tree as well.)  Go figure.

There’s absolutely no news value in this. One company’s “What city buys the most sex toys online?” list likely doesn’t match competing companies’ sales — Company B might sell more in the cities low on Company A’s list. Further, online sales of any product likely reflect regional per capita use of the internet, and not some more titillating city-defining quality like per capita “sexiness.” And is use of sex toys really a measure of “sexiness”?

Is this just simple titillation? Maybe, but Torstar is supposed to be in the news business, not the titillation business. If Torstar wants to go down the titillation route, it should go all the way down and simply publish porn and be done with it. There’s more profit to be made from porn anyway.

Could this be an advertorial relationship? I notice that while the article in question is distributed through the “Torstar News Service,” it is bylined simply “Staff.” Was some reporter too embarrassed to put his or her name on this schlock, or is it copy written in the ad department? If the latter, there’s a more disturbing issue at play here, as the article is not labeled as advertising.

Full disclosure: I once sold an op-ed piece to the Torstar-owened Toronto Star. It was about journalist ethics.


1. Leo Glavine

Health minister Leo Glavine shouldn’t resign over Geezergate, says Graham Steele.

2. Bear River

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald goes to Bear River:

The village spreads up steep slopes on either side of the river. It used to be branded “the Switzerland of Nova Scotia.” That confused me as a child. Actually it still confuses me.

3. Cranky letter of the day

Ralph Ferguson wants to chisel Frank H. Sobey's chiselled features into a stone face in
Ralph Ferguson wants to chisel Frank H. Sobey’s likeness into a rock face behind the Highland Square Mall. Once the carving is complete, tourists will flock to Mount Rushmore East and maybe buy stuff at the nearby Walmart, bringing prosperity forever, amen.

To the Pictou Advocate:

Recently, I gazed to the right while rolling in my wheelchair along the walkway that runs between the Highland Square Mall in New Glasgow and the Walmart store. As I stared at that barren rock face, a vision of Lincoln’s head came to mind as it is carved at the Mount Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore rock carving likenesses of famous people was conceived by South Dakota historian Doane Robinson as an idea to promote tourism in the region.

It was a great idea! Mount Rushmore has become an iconic symbol and now attracts over two million people annually.

Frank H. Sobey came to mind as I wondered whose face would be an appropriate rock-face art carving work to adorn that barren rock face in New Glasgow. Here is why.

In September 1986, my wife Anne and I were privileged as invited guests to the launching ceremony of Harry Bruce’s book, Frank Sobey the Man and the Empire. This event was held in Abercrombie at Crombie House the former home of Frank H. Sobey.

There, I was introduced to Sobey’s collection of 19th- and 20th-century art by Canadian artists and featuring works of art by Cornelius Kreighoff, the Group of Seven and other Canadian and Nova Scotian artists, with a diversity of style, subject and interpretation. Those present on that day received a free copy of Harry Bruce’s book which now occupies a treasured spot in my library.

Frank Sobey began that wonderful art collection found now at Crombie House. And his family has continued the tradition to become patrons of art through his son, Donald, who setup the Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation and continues today through Rob Sobey.

“Since its inception in 2002, the Sobey Art Foundation has aspired to enhance the role of contemporary art in Canadian culture,” said the chair of the Sobey Art Foundation, Rob Sobey in early December of 2015. “We are tremendously grateful to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia for its efforts in highlighting and celebrating the best of Canadian contemporary art. For over thirteen years, our founding partner helped raise the award’s profile to achieve remarkable success.”

Frank Sobey left a wonderful legacy to his family but as well a legacy without precedent to us all here in Pictou County. I think it would be very appropriate for the Sobey foundations to commission a rock carving of his likeness as a fitting tribute to this great man who stands out in the history of this area.

And yes, it would also be likely to become an attraction that boosts the interest of tourists and others in our area.

Ralph Ferguson, Pictou


No public meetings.

On Campus


No interesting events at Dal today.

Saint Mary’s

Religious and Theological Perspectives on Climate Change and Global Justice (11:30am, Loyola Building, Room 282) — Cathy Driscoll, from the School of Business, will speak. I don’t know Driscoll, and this is probably a bit unfair, but a cursory google search tells me she’s an apologist for capitalism.

Social Change, the Peasantry, and Agricultural Production in Turkey (noon, MM 227) — Mehmet Nuri Gultekin, from the University of Gaziantep in Turkey, will speak.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Friday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Friday. Map:

Selfoss, container ship, Argentia, Newfoundland to pier 36, then sails to sea
Aeneas, content ship, arrived at Pier 42 this morning from New York; sails to sea this afternoon
Dinkeldiep, Saint-Pierre to Pier 36, then sails back to Saint-Pierre

Oceanex Sanderling sails to St. John’s


If all goes according to plan, I’ll publish a new (to the Examiner) writer later today, with two important news stories. This is quite exciting.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. The prospect of a Kelly candicacy would and should be laughable but unfortunately, like Donald Trump, he has his constituency. Worse he probably feels there is unfinished business and vindication to be had.

    Perhaps if he does run we could have a Draft Bousquet movement.

    Could you imagine the the head to head debate? I can’t stop smiling…..

  2. I love your work but for someone who is “so done” with Peter Kelly, you just can’t resist. I have to ask, why?

    I too am “so done” with him that my eyes glaze over.

    Why does he get the big headline? I had to force myself to scroll down the page. There I discover that the “news” about him is not news but an opportunity for another “bouquet” from Tim!

    Anyway, keep up the rest of your wonderful work.


  3. Regarding the Yarmouth ferry:

    Aside from the questionable economics of the whole idea (it made more sense when the land route through New Brunswick was a sketchy 2 lane highway, not a nice 4 lane (twinned?) one). Of course, a guiding principle of Nova Scotia economics is “if we act like it’s the 1980’s, the 1980’s will come back”. Maybe we can resurrect one of our defunct electronics companies to make gigantic cell phones and start Maritime Steel’s lawn dart division back up too.

    1. Er, let’s try that again:

      Aside from the questionable economics of the whole idea (it made more sense when the land route through New Brunswick was a sketchy 2 lane highway, not a nice 4 lane (twinned?) one), how effective is a ferry? It occurred to me that New Zealand has generated a huge amount of tourism because of Lord of the Rings. Maybe if we had a film industry still, tourists might want to come here to see the places some hypothetical future film was filmed in. The real beauty locations in NS are definitely in the more rural parts, so it would actually help rural communities – many of which are much worse off than Yarmouth. Of course, a guiding principle of Nova Scotia economics is “if we act like it’s the 1980’s, the 1980’s will come back”. Maybe we can resurrect one of our defunct electronics companies to make gigantic cell phones and start Maritime Steel’s lawn dart division back up too.

  4. Keep Glavine in Health and have him issue an apology for misleading the public. And then announce the dissembling Deputy Minister has been moved to another department.
    Was the issue not discussed at cabinet ?
    Who designed the content of the announcement ?

  5. To draw a fair comparison, the proposed monument to Sobey should be installed on lands expropriated from First Nations. If possible, the supreme court and the UN should declare the site a human rights offence to the indigenous people from whom the land was seized.

    Hey, I know a disputed piece of land in those parts and the good news is that a monument is already planned! Maybe we could toss in the face of Frank Sobey at the same time. If 30m is good, 30m x 2 is better! Bold, even.

  6. That is, in fact, entirely unfair. Cathy Driscoll is one of the most principled people I’ve ever run across. Ethics is her thing, and she teaches and lives it in a way most make lip service to aspiring to. She’s one of the good ‘uns, Tim.

    She’s also Scholar-in-Residence at AST currently (as an aside).

    Browse some of these – stakeholder theory is not something that is taught in every MBA class, but it is an opposition to the idea that profit trumps all… it supports the idea that business must be responsible to stakeholders, including protecting the natural environment and requiring social justice.

  7. The USNS Puerto Rico has been tied up as a reserve vessel in Norfolk, VA, since 2012. That is a long time for a vessel to be out of service. If timely turning of rotating machinery and ongoing regular maintenance were not kept up, it is possible that a significant refit maintenance period will be required to make this high-speed ferry operational. To operate the ferry without verification of the status of all equipment could result in unreliable operation due to equipment malfunctions. Other than those concerns, the next question is whether Bay Ferries’ business plan fits with the operating profile for this high-speed ferry and whether the estimated ridership and freight bookings will cover operational costs or will Bay Ferries be seeking a subsidy from the NS and Maine governments? It is said that it only requires 18 qualified people to operate this H-S ferry, but that could change if entertainment and other service enhancements are added to the vessel. All one can say is if Bay Ferries believes this is the vessel for the task, then they better get a move on, because the next ferry service season is about to begin and no schedules or fare rates have been published.