On campus
In the harbour


1. Film tax credit

Diana Whalen
Diana Whalen

Finance minister Diana Whalen met with film industry reps yesterday, but the two parties left the meeting with completely different understandings of what had transpired, reports the CBC:

“They have agreed what they put forward is not workable,” Marc Almon from Screen Nova Scotia told reporters after the meeting with Whalen and a number of others, including Bernie Miller — a top official for Premier Stephen McNeil — and nine representatives of the film industry.

But Whalen took away a different message from the meeting.

“What I was acknowledging is they have a problem with this — we do not. It works for government,” Whalen told reporters.

“It works for us,” added McNeil.

Screen Nova Scotia has organized a demonstration outside Province House this afternoon.

2. Nurses

There’s a nursing crisis in Nova Scotia, reports the Canadian Press:

Nova Scotia is among those provinces facing a shortfall with about 185 acute and long-term care nursing positions vacant.

The province’s Liberal government was told when it came into power about 18 months ago that Nova Scotia could face a shortage of 800 nurses within five years if there was no change in a number of factors, such as the number of seats made available in nursing schools.


Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union, said the shortage will continue in her province unless more is done to address overtime and high injury rates. Right now, she said there’s little incentive for older nurses to stay in the system once they reach pensionable age because of the increased demands of the job.

“There are not many who are going to work between 56 and 60 (years of age) unless we can figure out a way to make them stay,” said Hazelton.


Cindy Cruickshank, director of health system workforce policies and programs for the Nova Scotia government, said there are 14,000 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners in Nova Scotia. That’s about 2,000 more than in 2001 when the province released its first nursing strategy.

Department figures show that last year, 46 per cent of the province’s registered nurses and 40 per cent of its licensed practical nurses were over the age of 50.

Cruickshank said 669 nurses left the system last year, while 662 were hired as replacements.

“Of the 669 that went out, approximately half of that was due to retirements just based on the age profile alone,” said Cruickshank.

Coming into office, with full knowledge that there is a nursing shortage and it is going to get worse, the Liberals decided to make nurses public enemy #1.

Is there any wonder why more people don’t want to join the profession?

3. Khyber

The Khyber building. Photo: Halifax Examiner
The Khyber building. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Halifax council yesterday voted to give the Neptune Theatre until October 15 to come up with a plan to save the Khyber building.

4. Humans were not meant to fly, part 3,452

An airplane catapulted across the ocean had to soft crash in Halifax.

Speaking of which, a couple of weeks ago someone sent me a slew of messages about the etymology of the word “man.” According to him, in Old English “man” meant any person, male or female, so our modern day desire for inclusiveness, avoiding the use of gender specific words like “spokesman” and such, is an assault on the language and history and in some perverse crevice of a warped mind, an unfair attack on men.

Dudes gotta get over their bullshit, ya know?

5. Gaelic

Cuts to the Gaelic Affair Department budget are bad for the economy, says “Gaelic retailer” Trueman Matheson:

Matheson says Gaelic is an important contributor to the economy and argues that Gaelic festivals, classes and events generate $26 million worth of economic activity each year.

We should give people who speak Gaelic a tax credit.

6. Buddhist princess

The Shambalians have a new pope.


1. Sable Island

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald recounts his trip to Sable Island.

2. Sidewalks and snow clearing

Sam Austin discusses our terrible sidewalks.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Re: “Lantz sporting goods store hits its target market with indoor firing range,” (April 11 story and front-page photo). I confess that I am puzzled by the use of a human silhouette as the target at Hnatiuk’s shooting facility.

How can shooting at a human shape be construed as sport? Surely a legitimate game animal, such as a moose or deer, would be more appropriate.

Jean M. Chard, Dartmouth



Audit and Finance Committee (10am, City Hall)—the committee will look at Shakespeare by the Sea.

Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Special Advisory Committee (3pm, Alderney Landing Theatre)—I don’t have any sage advice for what the committee should be doing, but I continue to have a vague feeling that this thing is going off the rails.


Legislature sits (1pm–5:30pm, Province House)—should be lots of fun with demonstrating film industry people outside.

On campus



Cambials (Wednesday, 4 pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Dalhousie University)—student Matthew Harty will talk about “Characterizing the Entatic State of the Cambialistic Enzyme Mandelate Racemase.” When I first read that I thought he was going to talk about cannibals, but I’m sure this will be interesting too.

Also, student Sergio Munoz will talk about “The Origin and Early Evolution of Mitochondrial Structure”

M (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery)—Roger Ebert said:

When you watch “M,” you see a hatred for the Germany of the early 1930s that is visible and palpable. Apart from a few perfunctory shots of everyday bourgeoisie life (such as the pathetic scene of the mother waiting for her little girl to return from school), the entire movie consists of men seen in shadows, in smokefilled dens, in disgusting dives, in conspiratorial conferences. And the faces of these men are cruel caricatures: Fleshy, twisted, beetle-browed, dark-jowled, out of proportion. One is reminded of the stark faces of the accusing judges in Dreyer’s “Joan of Arc,” but they are more forbidding than ugly.


3 Minute Thesis – Final Round (Thursday, 7pm, Room 1016, Rowe Building)

Planetarium show (Thursday, 7.15pm, Room 120, Dunn Building)—”The Equinoxes and Solstices.” Five bucks at the door, no screaming kids.

In the harbour

The seas off Nova Scotia, 8:30am Wednesday. Map:
The seas off Nova Scotia, 8:30am Wednesday. Map:

ZIM Quingdao, container ship, arrived at Pier 42 this morning.
Resolute, general cargo, Avonmouth, England to Pier 25
Dallas Express, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove West
Dolphin II, container ship, New York to Pier 41
San Fernando Rey, cargo ship, Mariel, Cuba to Pier 31


A few people got worked up because I pointed out that the Trailer Park Boys are millionaires. Interesting, that.

I’ll be on the Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 4pm.

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

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  1. At the risk of being vilified as taking shots from the woods, I agree that the Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Special Advisory Committee is problermatical. The COMPOSITION, and method used for selection was to me, as a student of Halifax history and a a Haligonian since 1949, unsettling, given that there was not a single «familiar» name on the list. NUMEROUS highly-qualified, lifetime Haligonians with impeccable credentials are conspicuous by their absence from the Committee. While some MIGHT have been approached and declined, common sense and good manners dictates that at leas a FEW of those named should be «prominent» historically-savvy long-term Haligonians.

    There appears to be a bureaucratic agenda to funnel Explosion Commemoration money into «development» of Fort Needham Park which influenced the composition of the Committee. Historic monuments which are in grave danger of being obliterated (United Memorial Church; St.Patrick’s Church; the historic school building on Brunswick Street…) have, as far as I can determine, been completely barred from consideration.

    Fort Needham isn’t going anywhere. Fort Needham needs no money dumped on it to «protect» it from disappearing. BUT, historic buildings are guaranteed to vanish at the stroke of a «developer’s» pen if not recognized and protected.

    Building a picnic park on Fort Needham Hill does NOTHING to properly commemorate the Halifax Explosion, and has ZERO historic preservation value. Explosion-related historic BUILDINGS however, are fast-vanishing artifacts as well as valuable community resources and DESERVE preservation, refurbishment, protection and celebration as ICONS of the Explosion.

  2. Each time you mention Gaelic in the Halifax Examiner, I hear your kneejerk reaction of mild derision. It’s a common pattern in the English-language media, both in Scotland and Canada, to treat Gaelic and Gaelic speakers as though they were merely the butt of a joke ( But Gaelic speakers are not asking for a tax cut, tax credit, or a personal subsidy payment — give me a break! — and joking about it gives your readers the mistaken impression that we are. I have a Ph.D., I’m a Gaelic language and culture expert and a former university professor, and the only work I could find in this province for the past year was a minimum-wage “charity-case” job at my church’s coffee shop in Shubie Park in the summer, and a tiny stipend from Gaelic Affairs for about 20 hours of work total serving as a specialized tour guide to school groups for the temporary Gaelic exhibit at the Museum of Natural History last fall. (Hey, at least we got a temporary exhibit — the African Nova Scotian exhibit in the cultural/ethnographic gallery was displaced to make room for Batman comic books, which was disgraceful.)

    We are engaged in a protest like Nova Scotia students, and like film industry workers, and there is no reason not to take our cause seriously as a journalist. That CBC journalist did a sloppy job of covering the “story” you referenced in the Examiner — they didn’t fact check, they didn’t interview the workers who lost their jobs, they only interviewed one source, and they omitted to mention the petition started by Trueman that now has almost 1000 signatures from Nova Scotia, the rest of Canada, the US, Scotland, and other countries). You could do far better, just as you usually best the Chronicle Herald’s coverage.

    There is an office of Gaelic Affairs in the Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage. In the new budget, the cuts to Gaelic Affairs look small on paper, but they cut 2 out of the 5 staff members (40%) — which is disproportionate to cuts in Acadian Affairs or African Nova Scotian Affairs. Those positions, were they retained, could offer some hope to St. FX grads, for example, to find employment in the province instead of having to leave for work. Moreover, the jobs done by those two workers had a significant impact both inside and outside the province in cultural and tourism activities, just like the film industry is arguing that it does (e.g., Naturally the scale is smaller, but so is the amount of government money involved. But it’s another unique Nova Scotian cultural industry that generates a positive image outside of the province, and generates economic revenue from both inside and outside of the province.

    At the time of Confederation, in 1867, Gaelic was the 3rd most commonly-spoken language in Canada after English and French ( It was spoken in every province. In the 1901 census, Gaelic was the 4th most widely spoken language in Canada after English, French, and German ( The first two prime ministers of Canada were Gaelic speakers. Gaelic is a significant part of Canadian history, but unfortunately so is the centuries-old Anglophone British attempt to stamp it out.

    I found your piece yesterday about solidarity very inspiring. So I was going to go downtown today and add my voice in solidarity to the #NSFilmJobs protest, from a Gaelic perspective. Did you know that Marc Almon, who you covered today, produced two groundbreaking Gaelic shorts here in NS? ( and He used the services of those Gaelic Affairs employees who were cut.

    I tried to get a demonstration together to go to Province House yesterday to protest the cuts to Gaelic Affairs, but we couldn’t get a lot of people together because most Gaelic users are too busy working full time (and paying their taxes), and it’s impossible for Gaelic students and profs to get down from St. FX and CBU right in the middle of exam week. And then I was talked out of it by a friend who said we would only get made fun of by the media. He was right.

    1. I find it fascinating how people are thinking I’m throwing around insults were none are intended. I don’t give two shits what language people speak, Gaelic or Latin or French or that broken English they speak it Sackville, it’s all the same to me.

      Ditto: Trailer Park millionaires. It’s not an insult or a fault. It’s an observation.

      1. I’m not using insults. Nor am I saying that you used insults. I’m saying “Can you please consider the possibility that a documented societal prejudice against Gaelic may have unconsciously influenced you to overlook or belittle a legitimate news story?” (Albeit a news story that the CBC made a total hash of!) There’s a big difference between that and ad hominem attacks like “touchy academic” (like someone called me on your Facebook page!).

        I gave you the link to the Kennedy report on the contributions of Gaelic cultural activities to the Nova Scotia economy on your Facebook page but here it is again,
        CBC should have been able to dig that up with only a little research.

        I’d prefer to discuss that news item and have your skilled analysis of it, since the CBC did such a sloppy job of it. The cuts in Gaelic Affairs (which will include the closing of the Antigonish office) are part of the larger story of how the Liberal party is trashing local cultural industries and taking us further down the path to neoliberalism, as you have so clearly explained.

  3. Speaking of which, a couple of weeks ago someone sent me a slew of messages about the etymology of the word “man.” According to him, in Old English “man” meant any person, male or female, so our modern day desire for inclusiveness, avoiding the use of gender specific words like “spokesman” and such, is an assault on the language and history and in some perverse crevice of a warped mind, an unfair attack on men.

    Hi. That was me.

    The issue on that one wasn’t just that “man” in old english can mean anyone, but that the word someone was complaining about didn’t even use that root (it was germanic).

    The “slew of messages” was trying to find that line where something becomes offensive (so I don’t offend people accidentally) because it apparently had /nothing/ to do with historical usage. IE are ‘manor’, ‘mango’, and ‘manoeuvre’ inclusive?

    1. “Manor’ feels pretty sexist. Manors are always full of lords, and butlers and dandies and parlor maids in fetish wear and such. But “mango”, now that sounds positively feminine. And as for manoeuvre, who can get behind a word that has such a foreign spelling? Really, though. Entirely too many vowels to be trusted.

    2. I believe that I can understand where you are coming from. Certainly, we do need to address the pervasive gender bias in English; however, some attempts to do so (‘herstory’ springs to mind), while amusing, are rooted in spurious etymologies.

      Re the meaning of ‘man’ in Old English (hereafter OE):

      The lexeme *man* (multiple spellings attested; hereafter *manne*, to reduce confusion) could act as an indefinite pronoun roughly equivalent to ‘one, they’, & does seem to have denoted ‘a human, a person’ in some contexts. Yet, *manne* clearly carried the restricted meaning ‘adult male human’, as well, & some scholars assert that the gender-neutral meaning was a secondary usage.

      Determining which sense was intended is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Regardless, the restricted usage (*manne* = ‘adult male human’) is attested with a fair degree of confidence by the mid- to late-900s; the broad sense (*manne* = ‘a human, a person’) is attested from the 1100s.

      OE also had the following (dates of attestation in parentheses):
      – *wer* ‘adult male human’, but also ‘male spouse’ (893–1325); cognate with Latin *vir* [1]
      – *gome* ‘adult male human’ (652–1540); survives as the 2nd element of *bridegroom*
      – *wapman* ‘adult male human’ (c.950–1325)
      – *wīf* ‘adult female human’ (from c.725), ‘female spouse’ (from c.888) [2]
      – *cwen* ‘adult female human’ (until c.1275);[3] ‘female spouse’, ‘female consort’ (from c.888); survives as modern English *queen*
      – *wight* ‘a living being’ (c.888–1587); ‘a human, a person’ (c.1200–1869)

      As you can see, many of these terms shifted in meaning, sometimes becoming obsolete. We cannot conclude from the existence of these alternatives that *mann* was gender-neutral — like other languages, OE did employ multiple, semantically-overlapping terms for many objects & concepts.

      Moving beyond OE, *person* (gender-neutral) is found in Anglo-Norman texts from c.1135, & in English from c.1200–1225. *Human* appears in Anglo-Norman c.1119, & is first attested in English c.1450.

      All of which is to say, the assertion that ‘man’ always bore an inclusive ungendered meaning (‘persons’) is simplistic & misleading. The word had several senses, underwent semantic shift, & existed concurrently with other terms that had related or overlapping meanings.

      Perhaps more importantly, *mann*’s semantic weight in OE (which is not as cut-&-dry as some appear to think) is somewhat beside the point since,
      (i) language is in continual flux — we do not speak OE; &
      (ii) typically, we do not generate neologisms based on 1500 year old words. (When did you last encounter a recent coinage based upon *-wight*?) We live now, not in the 1300s, & we modify — & have modified — our language based upon our current context(s), needs, purposes.

      [1] It persists in some compound forms, e.g. *werewolf*, lit. ‘manwolf’.
      [2] While *wīf* could (secondarily) denote ‘female spouse’ in OE, we see the form *wīfmann*, as well.
      [3] NB: Even in OE, this usage was poetic.

  4. That’s a cool blurb about Fritz Lang’s M from Roger Ebert but that is not, in fact, the film that is being screened tonight. The Art Gallery noir series tonight has the comparatively rarely-seen 1951 remake by Joseph “The Servant” Losey. Might want to correct that.

  5. I am probably one of the people you construe as having gotten worked up because you called the Trailer Park Boys millionaires. To be clear, I don’t know and don’t care whether they are millionaires. I think millionaire is a pretty old-fashioned term anyway. (House + RRSP in some markets gets you to a million pretty fast.) And if they are wealthy, good for them.

    For me it was the repetition of “millionaire Trailer Park Boys” as if that mattered. It’s a strawman. How much of Wells and Tremblay’s money comes from the series, how much from the sale of the chain of pizza joints they owned in PEI, how much comes from their live tours, I don’t know. And I’m not sure it really matters.

    1. I agree. I think the focus on Trailer Park Boys millionaires derailed what was otherwise an excellent analysis of the budget. It sounded to me like that age old Nova Scotian resentment of success.

      Not to mention the fact that the whole point of programs like the Film Tax Credit is to create an opportunity for people to thrive and be successful.