1. Jerell Smith

A man with a beard, dark glasses, and a plaid shirt.
Jerell Smith, formerly an investigator with the Sexual Assault Investigative Team (SAIT), testified to the Police Review Board on July 13, 2023. Credit: Tim Bousquet

“The third day of the Police Review Board hearing Carrie Low’s complaint against a Halifax cop and the Halifax Regional Police started with a stunning statement from witness Jerell Smith,” I reported yesterday:

“I’m fearful of my safety,” said Smith. “I’ve been criminally harassed by members of the RCMP. I’ve been criminally harassed by members of the. Halifax Regional Police. And I’ve been criminally harassed by members of the Halifax Police Board. I’m fearful to be here today to testify.”

Smith also came to believe that Stienburg and others in the Sexual Assault Investigation Team (SAIT) were determined to squash any real investigation into Low’s assault, and then when Low started complaining about the police investigation, they lied to her:

At the time of the sexual assault of Low, Smith, an RCMP cop, was a member of the Sexual Assault Investigation Team (SAIT), which is staffed by officers from both the Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP. Smith was assigned to Low’s file. He was subpoenaed to testify before the review board.

Specific to the Carrie Low file, Smith testified that he was told by HRPD Staff Sergeant Donnie Stienburg that Low was lying about the assault and so Smith should close the file. Smith said that by taking just a few basic investigative steps — interviewing Low, watching video from the bar she had visited — he concluded both that the assault was real and there were good suspects.

Smith said he was told by his supervisor, Linda Gray, that he was not to contact or speak with Low. 

“She showed me a letter written by Halifax Regional Police, I don’t know his title, Jim Perrin… it was basically what I would call an attempt to mislead Ms. Low. She was told that this was not an HRP matter, and that it was an RCMP file, and she was to make her complaints to the RCMP.”

Gray told Smith that “Staff Sergeant Stienburg had had a conversation with Ms. Low, who had attempted to make a complaint about the initial officers that were involved,” continued Smith. “And Donnie [Stienburg] had told her again, this was an RCMP matter and that she could only make complaints against RCMP officers and directed her to make a complaint against me for the initial handling of the investigation. So that’s what I was told by Linda. And then she told me that there’s a public complaint. I was given a copy of it and told that I’m not to worry about it because RCMP handle complaints internally… it was for information purposes. It was not an actual complaint of our behaviour within the institution.”

I should note that the Nova Scotia Police Review Board has jurisdiction over Halifax and other municipal police, but does not have jurisdiction over the RCMP or its officers. From Smith’s testimony, this oversight gap allows the RCMP to bury complaints from Nova Scotians against its officers.

The article continues:

During his testimony, Smith was shown an exhibit book that included over 300 pages of police documents, including entries in the police Versadex system.

But Smith made a startling accusation: “The documents have been changed.” Smith said documents purporting to be entered into the system by Smith had other investigators listed as the author in the Versadex system, as seen by the metadata on the files, which had been printed out and were included in the exhibit book.

I haven’t seen the documents, although I’ll ask for them. But none of the four lawyers or three board members who had copies of the documents and were reading along as Smith pointed out the metadata disputed that the documents said what Smith said the documents said. I suppose there could be some other explanation for the facts Smith laid out, but that explanation wasn’t forthcoming, even from Ted Murphy, the lawyer representing the Halifax Regional Police.

Smith said documents in the exhibit book were documents he originally wrote but had been rewritten by at least two cops — Kevin Smith, a staff sergeant with the HRPD, and RCMP Sergeant Brian Fitzpatrick. And those rewrites happened years after Smith left the RCMP on medical leave, and crucially, when Low was stepping up her complaint against the police investigation.

“A person who wasn’t even in the [SAIT] unit at this time is somehow on this file,” said Smith:

One document listed Sergeant Brian Fitzpatrick as the “lead investigator” on the Carrie Low file, said Smith, but at the time, Fitzpatrick was working for the RCMP in another province. “I’ve never met Brian Fitzpatrick. At the time, he was not in our unit, and he was not the lead investigator.”

Fitzpatrick is now with the SAIT, and he is the lead investigator in Operation Headwind, the RCMP investigation into sexual assault at the Nova Scotia Youth Centre, which was made public by the RCMP yesterday. If Smith’s allegation that Fitzpatrick was inappropriately and retroactively changing Smith’s entries into Versadex, it will call into question the integrity of both Fitzpatrick and Operation Headwind.

I didn’t include it in the article, but the Low file was Jerell Smith’s last case. He said he was hounded out of the job, and has had health issues related to his treatment by RCMP brass. He says he has been threatened and worse, solely for raising concerns about the Low file.

Click or tap here to read “Carrie Low hearing: former sexual assault investigator Jerell Smith testifies the RCMP has ‘criminally harassed’ him, lied to Low, and forged official police documents.”

Dave Moore and Jerell Smith

Dave Moore, a man in his fifties, posing for a professional photo.
Dave Moore. Photo: Facebook

As Smith was testifying, I was thinking: I’ve heard this before. I mean that both figuratively and literally.

I’ve heard the same type of allegations — tampered police documents, commanders who resented a smart cop calling their investigation into question, and threats and retribution — from Dave Moore, the RCMP officer who realized that Glen Assoun was in fact wrongly convicted for the murder of Brenda Way in 1995.

What happened to Moore is documented fact. It’s detailed both in Justice Department documents and by my own reporting. When Moore raised his concerns, his evidence was destroyed, and he was transferred out of his unit, his reputation attacked. Police commanders — both at the RCMP and at HRPD — had secret meetings about how to cover up the wrongful conviction, and how to discredit Moore.

Moore further says police had his business burned down and attacked him through the courts, allegations that I haven’t been able to substantiate, but given the over-the-top facts that are substantiated, I tend to believe him.

So Jerell Smith’s testimony at first blush sounds incredible, but the same type of RCMP behaviour he outlined has in fact happened before, and like Moore, Smith apparently has proof in the doctored documents, which are now part of the public record.

It wasn’t just Moore’s and Smith’s allegations that sounded similar; it was also their voices. The two men have the same turns of phrase, and even the same cadence. Each came across as a broken man working to come to terms with a powerful police agency that worked to destroy them, and each found that telling the plain truth was a way to heal. I’m happy to report that Moore, further along in that journey, seems now to be living a joyful and rewarding life, although he is still fighting to regain some of what has been taken from him. I hope Smith can take the same journey.

It’s up to them, of course, but I think it would benefit both men if they met each other.

I’m doubtful that the Justice Department or even the Police Review Board will seriously consider how the RCMP retaliates against independent-thinking officers. As I say, the facts in Moore’s case are well-documented, and they led to no change whatsoever.

Moore’s personal losses aside, police destroyed evidence, resulting in an innocent man staying in prison for another decade, and there’s been no further investigation into police malfeasance, no criminal charges laid against any cop. The Halifax Police Commission hasn’t done a damn thing about it. The Nova Scotia Police Review Board hasn’t done a damn thing. The Nova Scotia Department of Justice hasn’t done a damn thing. The federal Department of Justice hasn’t done a damn thing.

So why would any organization charged with police oversight take any actions on Jerell Smith’s allegations seriously?

“These are profound allegations,” said Jean McKenna, the chair of the Police Review Board, after Smith outlined the allegedly forged evidence before the board. “These are very, very serious allegations.” And McKenna so far has left it at that.

Hybrid policing

Smith’s testimony underscores another huge problem with policing in Nova Scotia: the hybrid policing model in HRM.

Before the creation of the Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996, there were city police departments in Halifax and Dartmouth, and a town police force in Bedford. But the old County of Halifax contracted with the RCMP for policing in rural areas and suburbs like Cole Harbour.

When HRM was created, the city and town forces were merged into the Halifax Regional Police Department (which, incidentally, was a precipitating factor in the wrongful conviction of Glen Assoun), but the former county areas remained under the jurisdiction of the RCMP.

It makes no sense that one municipality has two police forces, and over the intervening years the problems became readily apparent. Think, for example, of a criminal operation that spans from Cole Harbour to Spryfield, or suspects in a Bedford murder residing in Eastern Passage.

To address these problems, HRM created a unique “hybrid policing” model in which the two police forces share resources. One component of this is the “integrated units” that comprise the Criminal Investigative Division (CID). The Sexual Assault Investigation Team (SAIT), in which Jerell Smith served, is one of those units.

But integration doesn’t solve the problem. Under cross-examination yesterday, Smith found it impossible to describe the chain of command at SAIT. On paper, his boss was Linda Gray, an RCMP officer, but when Gray was seconded for another project, she was replaced by an HRPD officer. And in his day-to-day work, Smith, an RCMP cop, responded to Stienburg, a Halifax cop. Such messy and unclear command chains necessarily lead to complex and uncertain investigative procedures.

And the integrated SAIT makes it impossible to conduct any real police oversight.

Low has appealed the HRPD’s disciplinary non-action against Const. Bojan Novakovic to the Police Review Board precisely to get the board to use its authority over the HRPD to order changes in sexual assault investigations. The Board hasn’t yet said if it will consider that broader issue, but even if it does, what does it matter if the RCMP can simply declare that SAIT is an RCMP agency that the board has no authority over?

If nothing else, Carrie Low’s persistence has demonstrated that the hybrid policing model is irreparably broken and should be ended.

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2. Where’d that rocket go?

A rocket stands on the floor next to a bar table.
The rocket created by students at the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University was displayed at AJ’s Pub in Canso. Credit: Facebook

This item is written by Joan Baxter.

As we reported here and here, las week students from the Arbalest Rocketry Club at York University in Ontario, launched their “Goose 3” high power rocket from the supremely unimpressive little concrete pad in Canso, which Maritime Launch Services (MLS) likes to call “Spaceport Nova Scotia.”

Before the launch, the federal government issued warnings for mariners and aircraft to steer clear of the area during the times on three days that the launch could take place. The Navigational Warning issued for the sea east of Canso cautioned that “potential debris may splash down within 7.5 miles” from the launch site, and showed the danger area as a purple circle southeast of Canso in the Atlantic Ocean. 

A purple circle on a map.
The Canadian government has issued a Navigational Warning for areas within 7.5 miles of a point east of Canso. Credit: NAVWARN

A Transport Canada spokesperson told us that the federal department had provided Launch Canada Rocketry Association with authorization for the launch on June 22. 

Asked how they could have approved a rocket launch from a pad just over three kilometres from a hospital, the Transport Canada spokesperson said only, “A rigorous trajectory analysis has been provided which shows that the launch will meet Transport Canada requirements for the minimum safety distance.”  

That trajectory should have taken the rocket southeast over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Incredibly, given that this was a student-made rocket and a very, very, very far cry from an Apollo Mission rocket carrying human beings into outer space or something of that nature, about 100 dignitaries — including former Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil (a member of the Maritime Launch Service strategic advisory board), former Central Nova MP and federal defence minister Peter MacKay, as well as the head of Canada’s Space Agency — showed up for the launch. 

Maritime Launch Service CEO Steve Matier was reportedly “notably excited” and called the launch “a wonderful success.” (In other words, nothing like the audited annual financial statements MLS submitted March this year to SEDAR, the filing system for the 13 provincial and territorial securities regulatory authorities in Canada.)

breathless article by Elizabeth Howell in SpaceQ about the event bore the headline, “MLS, space community celebrates debut student rocket launch at Spaceport Nova Scotia.” But Howell but did note that a search was ongoing in the ocean for the missing second stage of the rocket, while the first stage of the rocket had been found “close to the shoreline.” Howell didn’t mention which shoreline. 

Eye witnesses in Canso thought they saw the rocket fly right over Canso, as we reported last Friday:

Curtis Munro, a carpenter in Canso who was outside working on a house about four kilometres from the launch site yesterday morning, tells the Examiner that he and the others he was working with saw the rocket heading northwest when it should have been heading southeast over the ocean. “It also did a loop-di-loop before it disappeared into the clouds,” says Munro. 

Our emailed questions to Maritime Launch Services about the actual trajectory that the rocket took and whether the missing stage had been found went unanswered. 

So we asked Transport Canada, which is after all, the federal regulator on all things rocket-related and who approved the launch. 

On Monday morning this week, we sent these questions to Transport Canada: 

1. What was the actual trajectory of the rocket, and did it fly over Canso and Chedabucto Bay?

2. Has the missing stage been found, and if so, where? If not, where is the search ongoing? 

The questions were so straightforward, we figured we should get answers by the next afternoon, and said so. 

Late Tuesday afternoon Transport Canada media relations wrote to say they needed “a bit more time with it.” Asked how much more time, they replied that they hoped it would be “in the next couple of days.”

Yesterday, Thursday, we called Transport Canada and left a message asking when the answers would be forthcoming, and followed that up with an email asking the same thing. 

The Transport Canada media relations reply: “Thanks for checking in. Please note that we’re still working on a response for you, but need to take the time to make sure the information is verified/accurate. We thank you for your patience.”

Our reply: “How much time, please?”

Transport Canada media relations reply: “I’m hoping today, but it’s not within my control.” 

Finally, late yesterday, we received a reply from Transport Canada. They said the rocket “did not fly over Canso or Chedabucto Bay,” but did not tell us the actual trajectory of the rocket, saying only it was “as expected and planned” without specifying what that was. 

Nor did they answer the question about whether the missing rocket stage had been found and if so, where, painstakingly formulating their reply this way: 

Transport Canada understands that all recovery systems worked as planned, and both rocket stages landed safely under parachute well off-shore. For further information about the recovery please contact MLS or Launch Canada.

So round and round and round we go. MLS didn’t answer our questions about the “recovery phase,” and Transport Canada merely “understands” that “all recovery systems worked as planned.” 

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3. ‘Green’ hydrogen

This aerial view of the Point Tupper site shows a rendering of EverWind's project facilities in phase one and phase two (imagine contributed by 3D Wave)
Rendering of EverWind’s Point Tupper hydrogen project (contributed by 3D Wave)

Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator discusses ‘green’ hydrogen development in Newfoundland:

The Port of Argentia is jumping on the green hydrogen bandwagon—or more precisely, the green ammonia bandwagon.

Everything about this story is dodgy, beginning with the notion that building wind turbines to generate electricity to extract hydrogen from water to convert to ammonia to ship across the Atlantic Ocean makes anything like sense.

I’ve long wondered: why can’t Germany make its own ‘green’ hydrogen?

Consider offshore wind in the Baltic Sea. Just yesterday, Germany announced the sale of development rights for four offshore wind zones, with a wind generation capacity of 7GW, the first part of a larger wind generation goals established last year by countries around the sea, as explained by WindEurope:

The 8 countries have now committed to increase that to 19.6 GW by 2030. And they plan to consider a 2040 target at a later stage.

Germany and Denmark are the only Baltic countries with large-scale wind farms in the Baltic Sea and they are determined to further increase their capacity. The other countries are eager to follow soon. Poland wants to have 6 GW by 2030 and 11 GW by 2040. Finland wants to have its first large-scale wind farm online by 2026-2027 and another one by 2028. In Sweden 15 GW of projects are currently applying for permits. Some could be online before 2030. And Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all want to commission their first offshore wind farms before 2030 too.

To reach climate neutrality by 2050 offshore wind needs to grow from 15 GW in the EU today to 300 GW by 2050. Over the same period the EU wants onshore wind to grow from 173 GW to 1000 GW. The European wind industry will continue to ensure the expansion of offshore and onshore wind goes hand in hand with the protection of biodiversity and in dialogue with local communities and other stakeholders.

By comparison, Nova Scotia’s Offshore Wind Roadmap envisions a capacity of 5 GW by 2030 — impressive for a small province, but that assumes a) that it actually happens, and b) that the wind generated isn’t mostly going to produce green hydrogen and ammonia for export.

But the point is, there’s lots and lots of wind potential in Germany. There’s nothing that makes the wind in Atlantic Canada special.

So how does it make sense to use wind power in Atlantic Canada to extract hydrogen from water and then supercool it to put it into tankers to cross the ocean that take it to Germany, when you could just as easily skip the “supercool it to put it into tankers to cross the ocean” part and just do the whole process in Germany?

The more I think about it, there’s only one answer to that question: Canadian governments (so by extension, the Canadian people) are going to subsidize its ‘green’ hydrogen industry by amounts much greater than Germany is willing to subsidize its own ‘green’ hydrogen industry.

In effect, the hydrogen isn’t being mined from water; rather, the hydrogen is being mined from the Canadian public. And along the way, a lot of rich people are going to extract wealth from Canadians and get a lot richer still.

And once you understand that basic economic fact, the rest of the equation makes sense, including the inevitable corruption and backroom deals that necessarily come with it. Continues Campbell:

Former premier Dwight Ball pops up in the story as chair of Argentia Capital Inc, a joint venture between the Port of Argentia and a Halifax-based investment outfit called Torrent Capital. Argentia Capital Inc was established in September 2022 to focus “on the the construction of port infrastructure, the provision of services and equity ownership in businesses that support aquaculturerenewable energy, and oil and gas sectors, as well as other port developments.” It’s always good to see a former premier entering the private sector and immediately entering into negotiations with the government for the use of crown lands and whatnot. Makes you feel all’s right with the world.

There’s also a bit of bait-and-switch going on. We’ll have an in-depth article about this soon, but it appears that a bunch of smoke and mirrors are going to be used to obscure the plan to meet Nova Scotia Power’s renewably generated power targets by throwing ‘green’ hydrogen manufacturing facilities onto the grid, and then using the wind power that is used for making hydrogen for export as an accounting gimmick to meet the renewable targets, which of course were established to get Nova Scotians off fossil fuel. Campbell seems to intuit our upcoming article:

But what is most astounding about the hydrogen projects proposed for our own province (EverWind in Point Tupper, Bear Head Energy in the Strait Area) is that they would be generating green electricity for the purpose of producing green ammonia for export to Europe even as Nova Scotia Power was converting three coal-fired units at the Lingan Generating Station in Cape Breton to heavy fuel oil and operating them until 2050.

Click or tap here to read Campbell’s update on ‘green’ hydrogen.

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.

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No meetings

On campus

No events

In the harbour

06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from anchorage to Pier 41
06:00: ZIM Monaco, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
15:00: NYK Rigel, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Caucedo, Dominican Republic
16:30: ZIM Monaco sails for New York

Cape Breton
10:30: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Halifax
13:00: Phoenix Admiral, oil tanker, arrives at EverWind from New York


Long day yesterday. I hear it was nice outside.

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

Joan Baxter is an award-winning Nova Scotian journalist and author of seven books, including "The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest." Website:; Twitter @joan_baxter

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  1. An important aspect of the “green” hydrogen proposal is in the incredibly dangerous prospect of storing large amounts of ammonia. EU laws and safety regulations would never allow it, but someone’s calculus on this has determined that our population is too small to matter and the NS government is all too willing to risk our health for the financial rewards. There are plenty of current mining and industry examples that suggest we are gaining an international reputation as a place where anything goes in the name of resource extraction.

  2. WHAT A TRULY GREAT QUESTION…. why can’t Germany make its own ‘green’ hydrogen? “” .. & thankfully .. you also answered it THANKS
    the smoke & mirrors continues

  3. While true that “Carrie Low’s persistence has demonstrated that the hybrid policing model is irreparably broken and should be ended”, what’s also true is that both police forces individually are broken. For me personally, it seems that the police are either too lazy to do their jobs, are misogynistic, or one of theirs was involved in the crime. Or perhaps all three. And a number of other organizations continue to enable them.

  4. The hybrid policing model for Halifax does not work. Nobody is doing anything to try and fix that. Get out of the RCMP contract and expand HRPD to cover the suburban areas.


    Leaving aside the environment for a moment, oil currently costs five times as much per unit of heat as coal, which implies that oil fired electricity is five times the price of coal fired. I may not be an engineer, but I know that electricity only comes out of the wall because somewhere else there are some magnets spinning around or a solar panel getting shone upon.

    Without fossil fuel backup or baseload power, there are a couple options:
    1) Hydroelectric from far away
    2) Nuclear power
    3) Intermittent electricity access, unless you are rich and have generators or batteries

    1. There’s no better encapsulation of our current system than “leaving aside the environment…”

      1. Yes, but I also like having electricity and I bet you do too. While it is a crime and shame that the Atlantic Loop project is falling apart, Canada is also a world leader in nuclear power. Without hydro from away or nuclear, our options are all bad.

        Energy is at the heart of everything – energy is the reason why anything happens at all.