On campus
In the harbour


1. Council candidates slam the Chronicle Herald


Eighteen council candidates issued the following statement yesterday:

We, the following candidates for HRM Council, have collectively taken a stand against supporting the Chronicle Herald’s efforts to engage our campaigns for information.  We support the unionized workers who have been on strike for 9 months, and counting. It’s our hope that the Chronicle Herald and its unionized work force will come back to the table and conclude with a fair deal that brings the paper back into relevance and the workers with an acceptable contract.

Signatories are:
• Shelley Fashan – District 2: Preston—Chezzetcook—Eastern Shore
• Sydnee L. McKay – District 2: Preston—Chezzetcook—Eastern Shore
• Gabriel Enxuga – District 5: Dartmouth Centre
• Kate Watson – District 5: Dartmouth Centre
• Sam Austin- District 5: Dartmouth Centre
• Warren Wesson – District 5: Dartmouth Centre
• Carlos Beals – District 6: Harbourview—Burnside—Dartmouth East
• Brenden Sommerhalder – District 8: Halifax Peninsula North
• Chris Poole – District 8: Halifax Peninsula North
• Lindell Smith – District 8: Halifax Peninsula North
• Kyle Woodbury- District 9: Halifax West Armdale
• Shawn Cleary – District 9: Halifax West Armdale
• Andrew Curran – District 10: Halifax—Bedford Basin West
• Dawn E. Penney – District 11: Spryfield—Sambro Loop—Prospect Road
• John Bignell – District 12: Timberlea—Beechville—Clayton Park—Wedgewood
• Iona Stoddard – District 12: Timberlea—Beechville—Clayton Park—Wedgewood
• Kevin Copley – District 14: Middle/Upper Sackville—Beaver Bank—Lucasville
• Lisa Blackburn – District 14: Middle/Upper Sackville—Beaver Bank—Lucasville

Oh, speaking of the Chronicle Herald, here’s Why I don’t read the Herald, part ten thousand:


There’s all your daily recommended daily bullshit requirements in just one Google News alert: Innovators! Vibrant! And, wait, “radiate outward opportunities”? They should maybe look for some writers over there, like out on the sidewalk, walking the picket line.

2. Blind Luck

Shell's Stena IceMAX drillship.
Shell’s Stena IceMAX drillship.

“‘Only blind luck’ prevented what could have been significant damage to the marine environment and an oil well that Shell Canada was drilling in deep water 250 kilometers off the coast of Nova Scotia,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

That’s the conclusion of John Davis, an activist with the Clean Ocean Action Committee of fishermen and environmentalists opposed to drilling on the Scotian Slope because of the threat to the rich fishing grounds. Davis made the comment to the Halifax Examiner following last week’s Canadian press article on Shell Canada’s report to the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) of the March 5 incident.

Henderson went on to explore the details of the incident and what the potential worst case scenarios were. You can read the entire article here.

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

But as Shell Canada’s incident report to the CNSOPB has not been made available to the public, I decided last night to publish the entire 116-page report and make it available for free. Click here to read the report.

3. Carbon tax

“Nova Scotia’s environment minister walked out early from a national meeting on carbon pricing Monday, hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an ultimatum to provinces to adopt carbon pricing, or have it imposed, by 2018,” reports Paul Withers for the CBC:

“We’re struggling to understand where the PM’s message came from today and what’s going to happen moving forward,” provincial Environment Minister Margaret Miller said in Montreal.

That’s some world-class environment ministering, eh?

At issue, explains Withers:

On Monday, Trudeau said the proposed price on carbon pollution should start at a minimum of $10 per tonne of greenhouse gas in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 per tonne by 2022.

Dalhousie University energy security expert Larry Hughes has broken down the impact of a $30 per tonne carbon tax in Nova Scotia. Thirty dollars per tonne is the tax in place in British Columbia.

In an analysis provided to CBC News, Hughes said a B.C. tax would add nearly seven cents per litre to the price of gasoline, increase electricity bills by 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour and add nearly nine cents a litre to the cost of home heating oil.

For context, way back in 2012, when I talked to Andrew Weaver, then a scientist on the International Panel on Climate Change, he told me that we needed a carbon tax of $200/tonne in order to avoid cataclysmic climate change.

Sure, a carbon tax of $30 could hurt people — if the price increases happened in a vacuum. But they don’t have to happen in a vacuum. As in the case of BC, carbon tax revenues could offset income taxes. Better yet, the proceeds of a tax could simply be given to people on the lower end of the income spectrum.

I’d like to see a carbon tax fund a guaranteed income. Fossil fuels, after all, are a societal-wide resource. Shell doesn’t own the oil in the ground. You and I own it. And when that oil is extracted, we should get a cut. A carbon tax funding a guaranteed income has an elegance about it I quite enjoy. It simultaneously addresses the two most pressing challenges we face, climate change and inequality.

4. George Baker

Photo: CBC
Photo: CBC

“George Baker was suspended for 90 days from his duties on the Amherst board of police commissioners Monday afternoon,” reports Francis Campbell for Local Xpress:

The suspension came after a complaint was launched by citizen Hal Davidson regarding racially charged comments Baker made at a local pizzeria in July.

Baker, a five-term Amherst councillor who is running for mayor in the Oct. 15 municipal election, told staff at Bambino’s Pizzeria that he was “not your (N-word).”

Baker has said he immediately apologized for uttering the racial slur but a special council meeting, a downtown rally and numerous calls for the white councillor to drop his bid for mayor later ensued.

Robert Devet comments:

The Board could have dismissed Baker as a board member, and that was what many members of the Black community in Amherst were hoping for. A suspension is not good enough for them.

“This is a slap in the face for the black community,” says Maria Cromwell, a Black Amherst resident who has been vocal in her opposition to the racist councillor.  “I thought this would send the message that this type of behaviour is not tolerated, it’s 2016 after all. But that’s not the message that we heard.”

Sheila Upshaw, who helped organize the large diversity rally triggered by Baker’s behaviour in August, agrees. “Baker still hasn’t owned up to it, and the Police Board is basically saying that’s okay. He is not getting educated about race relations,” she tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

4. Treaty Day

I missed it too, but it’s worth noting that Premier Stephen McNeil, who is also the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, was nowhere to be seen at yesterday’s Treaty Day ceremony.

5. Living wage ordinance


This morning I updated the living wage page to include responses from Mayor Mike Savage and council candidate Sam Austin. I’ll continue to update the page as responses come in.

6. #blockedbywhitman

“Halifax councillor and deputy mayor Matt Whitman has a well-known habit of blocking people on Twitter, and the social media network’s head of news and government says that’s probably not a good campaign strategy,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:

“I, as someone who works at Twitter, would not recommend any candidate or politician blocking someone who’s looking to engage in a constructive way,” Twitter Canada’s Jennifer Hollett said in a recent interview.

“I would say it sends the wrong message to constituents.”

I find it hard to get worked up about this. After all, it’s only Twitter. If your life is so consumed about who follows or blocks you on Twitter that it causes you to lose sleep, maybe it’s time to get another hobby. But I do think Whitman’s reverse-networking positive-thinking schtick is hilarious. Whitman claims to have invented “reverse networking,” which so far as I can parse means “saying nice things about people.” (Why hasn’t someone thought of that before????) And for Whitman, being “positive” means not overcoming adversity or wrestling with disagreement, but ignoring them in the first place.

Oh, I’ve been blocked by Whitman too.

Someone asked me last week how many accounts I’ve blocked on Twitter. I have about 15,000 followers. Over the past four years I’ve blocked exactly 70 accounts. Most of those have been spam and/or porn accounts, but I have blocked a few people who were purposefully trying to goad me or insult me (I’m fine with even strident disagreement, but over-the-top insulting does no one any good). I’ve also blocked accounts because I needed a time-out — I shouldn’t be doing the over-the-top insulting, either. So getting blocked by me can be more about me than the blocked account. Looking over the list, it also appears I’ve blocked some accounts by accident — at least, I can’t otherwise explain why I would block, say, Mother Jones.

[Shrug] It’s only Twitter.

Stay positive!

YouTube video


1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

I recently sat through the deafening noise of music and talk for back-to-back Cape Breton Screaming Eagles games at Centre 200.

It makes me wonder if the sound people here are in cahoots with the hearing aid businesses in the area because there is no doubt in my mind we’ll all be lined up for a hearing test real soon.

Question: Why is it so necessary to have the music so loud?

I understand during the real exciting plays it probably gets the crowd more energized, but, really, when you can’t make out a word being sung or said what’s the point?

As a former business owner I’m convinced the sponsors and advertisers would appreciate hearing their business names spoken clearly so as to reap the best bang for their buck. But most of the time, it is a blur. And to answer your possible question my hearing has always been excellent. My ears are actually hurt when I wrote this and the night before it was the same experience. 

During the Eagles’ first game of the season there was much celebrating their 20th year in Cape Breton. It was quite nice, although the crowd would have enjoyed it more if, and that is a big if, we could make out what the announcers were saying. We were all looking forward to hearing the new players being introduced and welcoming back the returning players. Other than Duncan MacIntyre, our local boy, we couldn’t make out another name. When a goal or penalty is announced, it is worse. 

Does the sound system need to be replaced or do the announcers need to speak more slowly and more clearly? During intermission, when there are games being played to continue entertaining the crowd, not one word is recognizable during the games’ explanation and more thunderous loud music is playing. 

We normally arrive at the game between 30-45 minutes beforehand to visit with our friends and watch the team practice a bit before the game. Unfortunately, as the game time gets closer, the music gets louder and louder. The reason for this befuddles me. This is our time to watch the players and to talk with our friends. Believe me, arriving just moments before the game when the music is so very loud is even harder to accept. 

How much more enjoyable this pre-game time would be for the crowd if the music was in the background. We are there for our entertainment and to support the team are we not? We are not there for our hearing loss. I wonder how many more people would enjoy attending the games if this matter was resolved?

My biggest fear is for the children in the crowd. I’ve seen babies only weeks old in attendance. What is the loudness doing to their delicate little ears? And what about the Tim Bits, our rising hockey stars who love to preform showing their skills on the ice each week. They are entertaining in themselves and we don’t need loud music during this time. 

We wish general manager and head coach Marc-Andre Dumont and his team all the success in the world. The team is young and need our support. Please make the experience a more pleasurable one for the watching and listening crowd.

Jennifer Craig, Westmount


After I wrote about children’s cemeteries yesterday, two readers did the research and came up with more information.

My friend Elaine reports that such children sections in graveyards are called “Babyland,” and points us to another example, the Greenmount Cemetery in Quincy, Massachusetts:

Through the ages, Greenmount Cemetery has always set aside an area referred to as “Babyland”. This is an area reserved for the stillbirths, infants and small children.

The earliest Babyland was being used in the 1880’s. It was in the section now referred to as Old South Singles. In the early 1900’s we find an area in the southwest corner of Block G that was used for this purpose. From the early 1920’s to the 1940’s Babyland was in Block B Singles. Later, in the 1940’s to the 1960’s, an area was set aside in Block A Singles for Babyland. Currently Babyland is in Block M. This area was opened in the early 1960’s and still has available spaces.

And on Twitter, @nitpickette01 (I should probably know, but I have no idea who this is), points us to a few resources:

I have the best readers.



City council (1pm, City Hall) — I’ll be live-blogging the meeting via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer.


Community Services (1pm, One Government Place) — Wendy Lill and Brian Hennen, the co-chairs of the Community Homes Action Group, will be asked about their work.

On campus


Whales (10am, Riley Room 3652, Oceanography Wing, Life Science Centre) — Salvatore Cerchio, from the New England Aquarium in Boston, will speak on “Omura’s Whales off Northwest Madagascar: A First Description of Species Ecology, Behavior and Conservation Needs.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Tuesday. Map:

6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
7am: AIDAdiva, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 20 from Quebec with up to 2,050 passengers
8am: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 31 from New York with up to 2,100 passengers
8am: Norwegian Dawn, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney with up to 2,808 passengers
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
3pm: AIDAdiva, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Bar Harbor
3pm: NYK Deneb, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
3:30pm: Agios Minas, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Cagliari, Italy
5pm: Toronto, car carrier, arrives at Pier 31 from Southhampton, England
5pm: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship, sails from Pier 31 for Sydney
5pm: Norwegian Dawn, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Saint John
8pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Autoport for St. John’s

3:30am: Agios Minas, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
5am: Seoul Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
4pm: Toronto, car carrier, moves from Pier 31 to Autoport
4pm: Seoul Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Southhampton, England
8:30pm: Toronto, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


Er, I’ve got nothing.

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

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  1. I cringe every time I go to Just Us coffee in Grand-Pré and in Wolfville – why because there on the tables is the Chronicle Herald – Just Us is a workers’ co-op and brags about having the first unionized coffee shop in Halifax. Yet they continue to buy the Chronicle-Herald. I urge you all to do what I have done – BOYCOTT JUST US COFFEE until they cancel their subscription and tell them that you are . . I have, and I continue to go in and rant to their customers . . join me in the rant

  2. During a recent visit with neighbours, I picked up their stray copy of the worthless scab Chronicle Herald. It’s my understanding that the septuagenarians have been subscribers for decades and just can’t bring themselves to kick the paper to the curb because of the “word games,” etc. Still, it was uplifting (and hilarious) to hear them read CH management FOR FILTH. Folks unfamiliar with the concept of getting “read for filth,” can check the urban dictionary.

  3. Jennifer Craig’s letter to the Cape Breton Post was music to my damaged ears. It’s not just Centre 200 and similar hockey rinks. Live music in bars has become—literally—deafening.

    This is an obvious threat to the health and safety of customers, who have a choice whether to attend, but also to bar and rink employees, who do not.

    Why doesn’t the Labour Standards Division take action against these public health menaces?

  4. “[Shrug] It’s only Twitter.”

    Okay, at the risk of sounding repetitive (yes, this dead horse again) the thing that really irks people about the #blockedbywhitman thing is that it isn’t just Twitter.

    I was one of the first constituents very publicly blocked by him on Twitter about three years (?) ago. When he blocked me on Twitter he also very diligently blocked me on any other social media network he’s on. I wasn’t spammy or rude or abusive. I’m an engaged citizen and I have been systematically “blocked” from district conversations in every form. Since this incident 3 years ago my phone calls and emails about other issues have also gone unanswered. Not even the rude responses that others have received. Nothing. His stupid quarterly newsletters don’t even come to my house anymore.

    It’s to the point that I actually hesitated before sending in my comments in support of the Khyber Centre because I was concerned that if he didn’t hear from other people in my district about this, he’d just do the opposite of what I asked. In the end, I copied every single person on councll to ensure my voice was heard.

    I can tell you definitively that his ability to block his constituents extends far beyond social media.

  5. People who talk and write like that almost never come up with anything original. Why would you expect original thinking from people who employ cliches? These words are but perfume designed to mask the smell of the bullshit.

    BTW, there is an “Innovation Ave” in Brooklyn NS, near Liverpool. Didn’t have time to check and see if there were any Jetson-like homes and businesses there. Possibly there were opportunities radiating outward which I missed on my way to Frenchies. I meant to take a photo of the street sign and send it to you so you could use it as an illustration when needed for stories of this nature.

    1. There’s an Innovation Drive off of the Hammonds Plains Rd, it’s where the former RIM/Blackberry building was built. It’s now the IBM Client Innovation Centre.

  6. ““We’re struggling to understand where the PM’s message came from today and what’s going to happen moving forward,” provincial Environment Minister Margaret Miller said in Montreal.”

    Seems like a good reason to have stayed in the meeting.

    1. > Seems like a good reason to have stayed in the meeting.

      Ha! Touche.

      Maybe if we just keep our heads in the (tar) sand this whole bothersome issue will go away.

  7. Telling that no sitting councillors signed onto the statement regarding the Herald.

    Could it be they believe in what Lever is doing? Is that how they would treat city employees given the chance? Do they wish to radiate outward opportunities?

    1. Maybe a bit of that, maybe a bit of not wanting to antagonize what is still a (somewhat?) major (?) media outlet.

  8. Is it just me, or have zero incumbents signed the letter to the Herald? That’s incredibly disappointing. Unfortunately I can’t envision it turning around to bite them in the ass, but I hope that it does.

  9. Robert Devet is incorrect. I wish journalists would acquaint themselves with the law and regulations.
    Regulations under the Police Act : section 79 (2) (3):- On determining that a board member has breached the code of conduct for board members, the board may take one or more of the following actions:

    (a) issue a reprimand to the board member;
    (b) order a period of suspension for the board member;
    (c) recommend to the Minister or the council that the board member be dismissed under subsection 44(7) of the Act.

    The Board has no power to dismiss a member

    1. We’re splitting hairs here. The commission could have asked for the dismissal, whether to council or the minister, under section 44(7) of the act. They chose not to take that step, issuing a suspension only. Devet argued they should have asked for dismissal. And yeah, he should have been more precise.

      1. Splitting hairs is what law is about. Being precise is important. CBC sent Preston Mulligan to the meeting and he also appears to be ignorant of the law. Many times journalists fail to read the law/policies/rules and yet such knowledge is essential when reporting on many issues. I don’t expect a journalist to have a law degree but let us remember “If you don’t know the rules, you can’t play the game’. The council punted the issue to the police commission, because there is an election and didn’t want to deal with it, and the Minister has been silent. The majority of the members of the board are not members of the Amherst Council.
        If Mr Baker was a lawyer the Bar Society would take no action.
        Mr Baker will be dealt with on October 15th when he loses his bid to be mayor.