1. Rent control

Premier Stephen McNeil lives in government-subsidized housing. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Premier Stephen McNeil quickly quashed a proposal from the NDP to bring rent control back to Nova Scotia,” reports Marieke Walsh for Global.


What does McNeil care? His Hollis Street apartment is paid for by taxpayers, to the tune of $1,575 a month. And if the rent goes up, no big deal, taxpayers will cover that too.

2. Update on pedestrian struck on boardwalk

Monday, I noted that there’s got to be more to this story; yesterday, Halifax police sent out an update:

On October 15 at 7:30 p.m., police responded to a report of a pedestrian having been struck by a car on the Halifax Waterfront boardwalk in the 1400 block of Lower Water Street. The car drove along the boardwalk towards two men, hitting one. The driver then got out of the car and punched the victim several times, got back in his car and fled the scene. The 19-year-old victim was transported to the hospital by EHS for non-life-threatening injuries.

At 9:42 p.m., a 22-year-old man was arrested at a residence on Majesty Court in Hammonds Plains in relation to the incident and transported to police headquarters for questioning. Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that the driver of the car had gone to the Waterfront to meet a woman he was dating. While waiting in his car for her, two men unknown to him, got into his car and robbed him. He believed that one man had a knife and the other had a gun. The two men exited the car, fled on foot on the boardwalk, which is when the driver followed them with his car, hitting one and then fleeing.

The driver of the car, a 19-year-old Hammonds Plains man, faces one count each of attempted murder, assault, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, mischief and leaving the scene of an accident.

A 19-year-old man from Dartmouth, who was the man struck by the car, was arrested last night at approximately 5:20 p.m. at a residence on Jackson Road without incident. He has been charged with robbery, uttering threats, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a firearm and breach of probation. A 19-year-old woman from Dartmouth, who was the woman the man was going to meet on the Waterfront, was arrested last night at approximately 9 p.m. at another residence on Jackson Road without incident. She was not at scene, but set up the incident and has been charged with robbery. A 22-year-old man from Dartmouth was also arrested last night at approximately 9 p.m. at the same residence on Jackson Road without incident. He has been charged with robbery, uttering threats, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a firearm and four counts of breach of a recognizance.

3. Launchpad

It’s a picture of a rocket, so we know it must be true.

Have you heard? There’s going to be a spaceport in Canso — “spaceport” is sexier than “launchpad,” so those seeking favourable media coverage that could lead to more investors always employ “spaceport.”

I have no idea if the Maritime Launch Services (MLS) proposal for a launchpad at Canso is viable or just another shot-in-the-dark investment scheme. But given the record of Nova Scotia “spaceport” proposals — I suspect the latter. As I’ve written before:

I’m just going to guess that what’s happening is a fairly typical story in the business world: A start-up company attracts an initial funder and some big industry names, then goes fishing for investors. One step in that process is to issue a gushing press release, which is then picked up by credulous local reporters, then hyped on social media… and with luck all the attention attracts, I dunno, that asshole Peter Thiel and his money, and then suddenly we’re fluffing cosmonauts in Canso.

Who knows? Maybe! Good luck!

Still, even though MLS hasn’t achieved any regulatory approval and hasn’t opened its books to show it has the serious resources needed to make the launchpad a reality, a lot of people in Canso are getting worked up about the scheme, and are spending their hard-earned money in anticipation of supposed spinoffs. Reports Brett Ruskin for the CBC:

“Some people said they’re transforming a bedroom so that it’s got its own bathroom, and walling rooms off and setting it up as a bed and breakfast,” [MLS president Steve] Matier said. 


Future landlords and innkeepers aren’t the only ones planning to reap revenue from rocket scientists.

“Our overall sales are rather flat,” said Ingrid Nickerson, the store manager of the Canso Co-op. “Hard to grow a business without more people coming in.”

She said an influx of workers or tourists could boost the store’s finances.

The Co-op recently expanded to stock lumber and building supplies — items newcomers might need if they’re building or moving into new homes, Nickerson said.

Well, I hope it all works out for the people of Canso. But it would be beyond cruel to get Cansonians tapping into their life savings only to have Maritime Launch Services abort the launch of its launchpad because the loonie gains two cents, or an Indonesian investor convinces company president Matier to build in Asia instead, or the whole thing is just an empty scheme.

4. Construction workers, bad and good

First the bad (and remember folks, if you happen to be driving down Quinpool Road and you hear a construction worker cursing out a pedestrian and you want to video it… remember to hold the damn phone horizontally):

Meanwhile on Quinpool this morning (Warning: Explicit Language) Construction worker confronts pedestrian walking in a closed sidewalk area.

— Halifax Traffic (@hfxtraffic) October 17, 2017

And then the good:

YouTube video


5. Cleary

“A Halifax regional councillor apologized to a municipal staffer during a meeting on Tuesday after he appeared to call for his job,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:

Shawn Cleary took issue with language in a report that he felt aimed to reduce council’s oversight…

The clause at issue was included in a list of benefits to the multi-year process: “Reduces the non-value time spent scrutinizing individual (business unit) budgets year over year.”

“I’m going to say, whoever put in that looking at our budget and scrutinizing it is ‘non-value time,’ shouldn’t be working for us. Full stop,” Cleary said.

The staffer who wrote the report, finance manager Ed Thornhill, left the meeting shortly after.

Coun. Bill Karsten called on Cleary to apologize.

And Cleary did.

All this prompted this Twitter exchange:

Thanks to Councillor Karsten for calling Cleary on this. shows you have class.

— Gloria McCluskey (@DartmouthG) October 17, 2017

6. Cougar

“There was a small sense of dread after a Springhill couple spotted what they suspect was a cougar, and it wasn’t for their safety,” reports Christopher Gooding for the Amherst News/ Squirrel on a Transformer Media:

“Right afterwards I thought ‘Oh great. Here come the cougar jokes,’” Sabrina Steeves said.

Steeves and her partner, Ken Godfrey, were enjoying a nature drive Oct. 11 on the Mansfield Road near Northport, a small community 22 kilometres away from Pugwash, when something caused them to stop dead in their tracks. Crossing the road in front of them was a large, four-legged creature and, in their opinion, they have little doubt it was a cougar. The couple had come to about a car length or two away, giving them a chance to observe the animal up close.

“There was no pattern to it. It never ran. It never bolted,” Godfrey said.

And here’s the video!

YouTube video


7. Need an advertorial? Call a Taylor

The Chronicle Herald is running a week-long series called “Second Life,” which profiles business people who have “reinvented” themselves.

Nothing against those profiled, but I don’t know why anyone would find the profiles particularly interesting, or at least any more interesting than profiles of any other random person pulled off the street.

In fact, back when I was a reporter for a daily newspaper and had a quota of two stories a day, I’d often work on a serious story for much of the day, then just find some old dude walking down the street to interview or interview the guy running the local convenience store, just to get something into print. None of my one-off profiles were in competition for the Pulitzer; doing a profile right means spending weeks on it, searching court records and interviewing ex-spouses to find dirt, raising difficult questions, discussing motivation in the face of existential despair, and so forth. So let’s not pretend that, say, my interview with Joanna Taylor while I was eating lunch at her catfish shack is journalism. And neither is Second Life.

It might be advertorial, though. Who knows? Does Squirrel on the Transformer label advertorial?

In any event, in one of today’s Second Life profiles, Roger Taylor interviews… Robert Taylor. Are the two Taylors related? Neither Taylor says. Aren’t you supposed to say? If I interviewed some guy named Ted Bousquet, wouldn’t you want to know if Ted was my brother or first cousin or something?

Anyway, Taylor the interviewee used to own Taylor Floors and nowadays runs one of the St. Louis Bar and Grill franchises, says Taylor the interviewer.

Good luck Taylor the interviewee! Maybe Taylor the interviewer can introduce you to someone in the ad department.


Last Friday, I wrote as sort of a joke that I created a Venn diagram to explain the uproar in response to the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline:

But, writes Kirk O’Connell:

What you drew was not a Venn diagram. With a Venn, you would cross it even if the set between the two main sets had no elements. It is actually an Euler Diagram. Venn in a way is a sub-set of Euler diagrams but Venns are meant as a why of explaining set theory, as such, they include intersections even if there are no shared elements. It is an important distinction in set theory and in general when talking about Venn diagrams.

Not trying to correct, more educate. I am a discrete mathematician. Took about five courses on set theory. I can also explain the Monty Hall problem, e^x and why zero is even, which are way funnier explanations, but rarely required in today’s world of YouTube videos and people thinking math is stupid. *tear*

No one tell El Jones, but there’s even a cat meme joke about my error:


1. Cranky letter of the day

To the Charlottetown Guardian:

Some sport fans only like their favorite sport and maybe don’t understand others. Some might say “A more appropriate name for American and Canadian football would be ‘blocking’ since that is what most of the players do.”

In that light, I would suggest a more appropriate name for soccer would be “running” as that is what most of the players do.

Play ball.

Lloyd Kerry, Charlottetown




Audit & Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.


Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4pm, City Hall) — the committee will get an update on the Active Transportation component of the proposed Bayers Road Transit Priority Corridor. Nah, I don’t know what that means either.



Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — Jeff Conrad, the deputy minister of the Department of Internal Services, will be asked about the Alternative Procurement Process and IT Services.

Legislature sits (Wednesday, 1pm, Province House)


Legislature sits (Thursday, 1pm, Province House)

On campus



Book Launch (Wednesday, 12:30pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building) — Jon Tattrie launches his biography of Daniel Paul, Daniel Paul, Mi’kmaw Elder.

Kinetoplastid Endosymbionts (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Vojtech David will speak on “The Implications of Kinetoplastid Endosymbionts for Cell and Genome Evolution.”

Emera’s Approach to the Energy Industry Transformation (Wednesday, 4:30pm, Room 117, Sir James Dunn Building) — Martin Rovers from Emera will speak.


Stan (Thursday, Room 430, Faculty of Computer Science) — Bob Carpenter of Columbia University will speak about “Stan: A Probabilistic Programming Language for Bayesian Inference.” Register here.

Marie Claude Landry    Photo:

Dal Law Hour (Thursday, 12:30pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — Marie Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, will speak.

Distinguishing K-configurations (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Federico Galetto from McMaster University will speak. His abstract:

A k-configuration in the projective plane is a collection of points, subject to certain geometric conditions, introduced by Roberts and Roitman to study Hilbert functions of graded algebras. If d is the maximal number of colinear points in a k-configuration, then there can be anywhere between 1 and d + 1 distinct lines containing exactly d points of the k-configuration. The number of such lines is not detected by the usual invariants of the defining ideal of the k-configuration. In- stead, I will illustrate how this number of lines is encoded in the Hilbert function of a high enough symbolic power of the defining ideal of the k-configuration. This talk is based on joint work with Y.S. Shin and A. Van Tuyl.

Research Whistleblowers (Thursday, 7pm, The Nook, 2118 Gottingen Street) — Carl Elliott, from the University of Minnesota, will speak on “Can’t You Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow? Why Medical Researchers Stay Silent About Dangers to Human Subjects.”

Catherine Nolin

Mining and Genocide (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Building) — Catherine Nolin, from the University of Northern British Columbia, will speak on “Mining in a Time of Impunity in the Aftermath of Guatemala’s Genocide.”

//RESPONSIVE International Light Art Project (Daily, 7pm, downtown Halifax) — a “world class art exhibit” which highlights architecture and public space through the medium of light, on a circuit which includes Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax City Hall, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, St. David’s Church, Memorial Library, Dalhousie School of Architecture, and Black-Binney House. Ask them why or if a hyphen should be in “world class.”

In the harbour

Cygnus Leader. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Cygnus Leader. Photo: Halifax Examiner

5:30am: Cygnus Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Zeebrugge, Belgium
6am: Norwegian Jade, cruise ship with up to 2,882 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from New York
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
6am: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Algeciras, Spain
7am: Dalian Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk

Serenade of the Seas. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Serenade of the Seas. Photo: Halifax Examiner

9:30am: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,580 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John
11:30am: Cygnus Leader, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
1pm: Asian King, car carrier, moves from Pier 31 to Autoport
2:45pm: Norwegian Jade, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for New York
4:30pm: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
7:30pm: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Boston


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. As a former math major, I can say with Mr. O’Connell has probably waited a long time to be able to make a public correction like this.

    1. Really? You don’t comment on those FB and LinkedIn “98% of people who try this will get it wrong” math problems? Those grind my gears.

  2. It was not a very constructive or polite comment to make to a staff member, but municipal staffers shouldn’t storm out of the council chamber unless they are prepared to submit their resignation.

    I’d have taken him to task for not using clearer English in his report, but most municipal reports are written like that these days I suppose. I think he meant “Reduces time spent by council reviewing annual departmental budgets”.

  3. It’s easy to smirk at people who talk about “ethical” oil, but what heats your house or powers your car or the bus or the trucks that bring you food and goods? Ever been on an airplane?

    I understand that the Energy East pipeline was not really economical, but, for instance, if there was a war in the MENA region or other major geopolitical disruption, eastern Canada would be totally out of gas (except what the Americans, who would be hurting at the same time decide to send us via boat from Texas).

  4. Here is the thing about HRM municipal staff. They are not there to support the Public, nor are they there to support Regional Council…. unless they are directed to do so by Regional Council. The CAO gives HRM staff their general marching orders; but no one else can tell staff what to do except by Regional Council’s decree. HRM staff are regularly advised to find lowest cost solutions… this, by its very nature, means that HRM staff will very seldom support requests from the Public or individual members of Council if it means HRM will have to expend additional funds for some initiative that HRM staff do not have set as one of their priorities to support. Does this mean that HRM staff are the enemy… not by a long shot, HRM staff have developed their ‘modus operendi’ because of years of penny pinching directives from Regional Council. If Council is not happy with how HRM staff support them, they need only to look in the mirror for the source of the problem. If the Public are not satisfied when HRM staff do not give them fair representation in a staff report, the Public needs to remember that Regional Council has never directed staff to do so as daily practice to be implemented, and without Regional Council’s implicit direction, HRM staff are not allowed to directly seek out or reflect the desires of the Public. So HRM staff reports are often more about HRM staff’s desired strategy than that of Council or the Public; that is just the way it is.

    1. I agree with some of your comments. As the person responsible for maintaining a large public institution for many years, I can tell you that dealing with HRM was mostly a nightmare. But I never blamed any of the actual workers, or even the managers. Everyone was completely frustrated. So, here’s an example of absolute stupidity. The “on call” workers, plumbers, electricians, boiler techs, and so on, used to be able to take their HRM work vehicle home when on call. That way, when the call comes, they are on ther way immediately. A few years ago, policy was changed. Workers were no longer allowed to take their work vehicle homie with them when on call. This means that they have to drive to where their vehicle is, usually in Halifax, and then go to the emergency. So, as a worker, there might be a problem in Musquodoboit Harbour, which you live next to, but you have to drive all the way into Halifax, leave your personal vehicle, pick up your work vehicle with all your tools etc., and then drive back to Musquodoboit Harbour to repair the problem. Then, back to Halifax, drop off vehicle, pick up your own vehicle, and then go home. This may sound extreme but is an actual circumstance told to me by an incredibly frustrated electrician doing some work in my building. A long missive, I know, but it illustrates my point that HRM is, in many ways, disfunctional, and it is the fault of administrators and council. NOT the workers and managers at HRM.

      1. I agree. I think that a worker who is identified as being on-call for emergencies should have their service vehicle with them at all times. When they are not the on-call person, then they should park their service vehicle back at the compound. Duty on-call assignments should be rotated and not-on-call vehicles that are parked in the compound should be serviced during the night/quiet-time hours. Appropriate staff, asset and time management results the most effective and efficient use of staff and assets. Of course the unions will want to have a say when it comes to scheduling.

  5. HRM Charter :
    ” Responsibilities of Chief Administrative Officer
    35 (1) The Chief Administrative Officer shall……..
    (b) ensure that the annual budget is prepared and submitted
    to the Council;
    and :
    ‘Capital budget filing
    110 The Minister may not establish borrowing limits or approve a borrowing
    resolution for the Municipality in a fiscal year unless the Municipality has
    filed with the Minister its capital budget for that fiscal year in the form prescribed
    by the Minister ‘
    Police Act : ‘ Annual budget of police department
    53 (1) The board shall annually cause the chief officer to prepare a
    budget for the police department……………

    (3) The budget prepared pursuant to this Section shall be submitted
    to council by the board for approval.

    I agree with Councillor Cleary, the law is on his side and short circuiting the legislation is not a path to be taken.