1. Low Income Transit Passes

“Halifax Transit wants to limit participation in its Low Income Transit Pass program to protect the agency from an outlandishly argued worst-case scenario,” writes Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler. “Here’s hoping councillors, starting with the Transportation Standing Committee on Thursday, can see through the absurdity.”

Click here to read “Mind the cap: why council should open up the low income transit pass program to all who need it.”

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2. ZIM drops Halifax from Pacific Loop

The first 10,000+ TEU vessel to call at Halifax, the ZIM Antwerp arrived at Pier 42 on June 29, 2017 Photo: vesselfinder.com

The Israeli shipping firm ZIM will drop a call at Halifax from its ZIM Container Service Pacific Loop, reports Chris Dupin for American Shipper.

Currently, ZIM has 11 ships averaging 9,127 TEUs calling in Halifax as part of the Pacific Loop, which is a rotation of Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, New York, Halifax, Kingston, Slavyanka, Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, Kingston and back to Savannah. The ZIM ships on the Pacific Loop include one of the largest ships that call in Halifax, the ZIM Antwerp.

ZIM additionally has two other loops that see ships stopping in Halifax. The Atlantic Loop is responsible for most of the company’s business in Halifax. In the four years the Examiner has been in operation, 21 Zim different ships have called in Halifax, and a ZIM ship stops at the HalTerm in the south end nearly every day. Today, for example, the ZIM Monaco container ship will call at Pier 42, the giant pier next to Point Pleasant Park; it is on the Atlantic Loop, arriving from Algeciras, Spain and then sailing on to New York.

A less busy Italian Loop sees ZIM ships calling at the Ceres terminal in Fairview, arriving from Fos Sur Mer, France and sailing on to New York.

ZIM’s Pacific Loop was upgraded in January 2017 to include Halifax. The change announced yesterday puts Halifax on a new feeder line called the Canada Florida Express (CFX), reports Canadian Shipping:

Operating as a fixed-day weekly service, the CFX will deploy two 1,300-TEU vessels and will have a rotation of Kingston, Miami, Halifax and Kingston.

“The new CFX feeder will introduce best-in-class transit times from Asia into Miami, opening a new important gateway to US destinations via the port of Miami,” ZIM said.

ZIM said the ZCP service will stop calling in Halifax, enabling more reliable transit time from Asia to the U.S. East Coast, and that Halifax will be served via Kingston, maintaining similar transit times into Halifax as today.

The change is effective April 3.

3. Sydney or Bust

Maybe ZIM can call in Sydney, eh? Or not…

“Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien says the Sydney container port project promoted by Albert Barbusci of Sydney Harbour Investment Partners (SHIP) has a 90 per cent chance of success but ‘sometimes you don’t succeed, so whatever happens, his reputation as a prophet is guaranteed,” reports Mary Campbell in the Cape Breton Spectator:

Mind you, Chrétien may have gone a little off-script, telling reporters he isn’t worried about “the rail piece”:

“If we have a port we will need the adequate railway. That’s the consequence of a port. There will be so much traffic there that don’t worry about a railway,” Chrétien said.

“It’s all in my judgment under control. Why? Because if you have the need there would be the railway. Today, they don’t repair the railway because there’s not the need for that.”

He also told reporters, according to the CBC, that he’s not concerned the promoter has no shipper signed on.

Best of all, he promised to discuss the port file with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, whom he’s meeting today, adding he hoped the provincial government would invest in the project, even though this development has been billed as “private” since Day One and the province has said it will not be investing in it. (Did Chrétien actually make it to Halifax, I wonder, or was he ambushed en route by supporters of Cape Breton’s other private container port development? If he doesn’t show up to meet McNeil, I say check the closet at the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce.)

Click here to read “Shorter Chretien: Port Project Will Succeed…Unless it Doesn’t.”

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4. Abdoul Abdi

Abdoul Abdi’s lawyer Benjamin Perryman tweets:


The postponement came despite an argument from Canadian Border Services Agency lawyers that the hearing should proceed.

Perryman tells me that the ruling means Abdi “will not lose his Permanent Residency status (including the right to work and the right to health [services]) before there is a full review of the Minister of Public Safety’s deportation decision.”

5. Donkin mine safety issues

The Donkin headland. Photo: Morien Resources Corp.

“Former workers at the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton say the mine is a disaster in waiting, as employees were subjected to dangerous conditions, including ceiling cave-ins, a lack of safety equipment and lax safety practices,” report Elisa Serret and Frances Willick for Radio-Canada:

Radio-Canada spoke with three miners who were laid off in November. CBC has agreed not to identify them, as they signed a confidentiality agreement with the company and agreed not to talk to the media.

The miners say there are frequent rockfalls and the ceilings have caved in several times, as the bolts used for support are too short and the roof support in the mining galleries is inadequate.

In one case, the roof collapsed just centimetres in front of a group of miners, they said.

“I am talking rocks the size of trucks, like, pickup trucks, like, massive boulders,” said one miner. “If any of them came near you, you would have just been crushed — you know, dead, right there.”

All three miners said Donkin supervisors pressured employees to speed up production and were lax with enforcing safety standards.

They said workers regularly sprayed concrete onto the walls without masks, which can seriously damage lungs, and supervisors never asked them to wear masks to perform the task.

Supervisors also did not require workers to wear a harness when climbing a ladder, they said. Several workers have fallen and a few of those falls resulted in concussions, they said. Their bosses never advised them to see a doctor.

“It was productivity over safety,” said one miner. “They wanted that coal out. They didn’t care who got hurt or nothing like that.”

Serret and Willick go on to quote a lawyer who makes the obvious comparison to the Westray disaster.

6. Rubber duck race payout

Dead gaspereau along the side of the Gaspereau River. Photo: Darren Porter

“Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI), in response to a May 2017 fish mortality resulting from the operation of its White Rock Generating Station (Kings County, Nova Scotia), has voluntarily agreed to pay $50,000 to the Federal Environmental Damages Fund by March 31, 2018,” reads a press release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans:

The voluntary compliance follows an investigation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for violations under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act which states, “No person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery.”

On May 28, 2017, the unit gate at the Generating Station was opened to allow for a faster flow of water to accommodate an annual fundraising event. This increase in water flow resulted in the death of adult gaspereau.

The “fundraising event” was the Rubber Ducky Race connected to the Apple Blossom Festival. As Jennifer Henderson reported last year:

Photographs taken by fishermen of gaspereau — a bony, migratory species that is netted, salted, and mostly shipped off to the Caribbean — show dead fish littered in the water and along the river bank not far from the White Rock hydro station. Fishermen called DFO yesterday to report the kill and protection officers showed up Monday morning, as did members of the Valley and Sipekne’ katik First Nations.

“We aren’t letting this go,” said Darren Porter, a director of the Gaspereau Square Net Fishermen’s Association. “We warned representatives of Nova Scotia Power and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who attended our annual meeting in April that this was going to happen, that fish were going to be killed. We asked for more monitoring, more enforcement from fisheries officers, because really, Nova Scotia Power does not have a licence to kill fish. The first migration coming down the river toward the turbine began Monday and fish started to die. Thursday was bad and Sunday was a massive kill on an unprecedented level.”

A DFO manager described the size of the fish kill Sunday as “out of the ordinary.”

McLean estimates thousands of fish are dead. They can’t be sold for food. Fisherman Darren Porter estimates “tens of thousands” of fish were killed trying to exit the river since the migration began a week ago.

Fifty-thousand dollars ain’t squat. I judge these fines on “what could Bousquet afford?” I’m not saying it’d be easy coming up with $50K, but if I maxed out the credit cards, sold the car, used the line of credit on the house, lived a couple of years in near-poverty, I could get pretty close. And if I could come up with the fine payment, that means it ain’t squat for a multi-billion dollar corporation like Nova Scotia Power. The fine is absolutely no inducement to make any meaningful change in corporate culture. No surprise it’s “voluntary.”

Anyway, according to the press release, the money will be used to:

  • NSPI will complete required repairs to the louvres and bubble curtain associated with the canal.
  • NSPI will undertake research to investigate alternative technologies that would exclude fish from the canal during migration. NSPI will hire a third party consultant to conduct this work. Deadline for completion is September 30, 2018.
  • NSPI will explore opportunities to provide support to DFO Science for real-time fish counts at the White Rock Generating Facility during the 2018 commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishing season.
  • The White Rock Generating Station will no longer participate in non-operational events which would require the facility to adjust the unit gate to increase water flow downstream.

7. High speed pursuits

A Halifax police release from yesterday:

A 20-year-old man is currently in police custody for driving dangerous earlier this afternoon in Bedford and Waverly.

Just before 3 p.m., a member of the HRP Traffic Unit captured the speed of a vehicle travelling at 192 km/h on Rocky Lake Drive. The driver refused to stop and the vehicle was not pursued. The driver travelled towards Waverly, and we continued to receive calls from members of the public reporting the dangerous driving. The vehicle was located in the parking lot of Irving Gas Station, 200 Waverly Road, where the male driver was arrested.

The cops did the right thing here, and it’s good to see. Too often cops engage in high-speed chases that needlessly endanger the pursued, the cops, and everyone else on or near the road. If there are no overriding reasons for the pursuit (on some rare occasions, there are), it’s better to let it go.

8. Sexual assault in the restaurant industry

The Coast publishes servers’ accounts of being sexually assaulted and sexually harassed.




Accessing Affordable, Healthy Food (Thursday, 10am, Halifax Central Public Library) — Round 4.

Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Thursday, 12pm, City Hall) — nothing much on the agenda.

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — a busy meeting.

Accessibility Framework Session (Thursday, 2pm and 6pm, Gordon R. Snow Community Centre, Fall River) — all about accessibility.

Centre Plan – Discuss Package “A” (Thursday, 6pm, NSCC Waterfront Campus the FABULOUS RAY IVANY MEMORIAL AND CELEBRATORY CAMPUS) — info here.

Accessing Affordable, Healthy Food (Thursday, 7pm, Keshen Goodman Public Library) — Round 4.


Accessing Affordable, Healthy Food (Friday, 3:30pm, Captain William Spry Public Library) — Round 5, I think.


No public meetings for the rest of the week.

On campus



Help Design the Bicentennial Commons (Thursday, 11:30am, lobby, Howe Hall) — info here.

Catalonia’s Cinema (Tuesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) —Jerry White will speak on “Homage to Catalonia’s Cinema: Understanding Spain’s Most Restless Region.” Rescheduled from March 13.

The Shared Work Model of Collaboration (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, Marion McCain Building) — the rhyming spoken word artist / woo-woo slinger Tim Merry is now calling himself a “Systems Change Strategist.” Funny shit.


Piano Recital (Friday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Peter Allen and Lynn Stodola will perform.

Cynthia Neville. Photo: dal.ca

The Growth of Royal Pardon in Fourteenth-century Scotland (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Cynthia Neville will speak.

Analytical Chemistry of Food and Beverages (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Anthony Tong from Acadia University will speak.

Saint Mary’s


Michael Medline (Thursday, 5:30pm, McNally Theatre) — the President and CEO of Sobeys will speak on “Defense to Offense: Winning our Own Game,” on how to thrill customers in today’s retail environment, because there is no more thrilling experience than getting followed around as a possible shoplifter at Sobeys. Register here.

Mount Saint Vincent


Senate (Friday, 2pm, Rosaria Boardroom) — agenda here.

In the harbour

3:30am: Atlantic Sun, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
10:30am: Don Juan, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
11am: ZIM Monaco, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Algeciras, Spain
Noon: Jona, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Lisbon, Portugal
9:30pm: ZIM Monaco, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
9:30pm: Don Juan, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
10pm: Jona, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea


I was working on a story late yesterday afternoon but couldn’t nail it down before government offices closed. I hope to have it up later this morning.

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

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  1. “No person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery.”

    It is a shame a fish species has to be one that is subject to a fishery in order for it to get the protection of the section. The fish should be valued and protected just for being fish.

    Finally, apropos of nothing whatsoever in the Donkin mine story, the cove shown in the photo, which I believe is called Schooner Cove, is a great place to see large intact fossils of those things that look like palm trees but were really giant fern trees related to the modern horsetail ferns.

  2. If the Donkin mine cannot be adequately supervised and have safety regulations enforced by the NSgov regulatory authority, then the mine should be shut down.

    This happens in a lot of government regulated industries. The government puts regulations in place but does not provide effective monitoring and enforcement.

    Balancing a budget means nothing if regulatory enforcement is not adequate. So where is the problem? Need more staff? Need better training? Need more money? Need better commitment to providing an effective monitoring and enforcement service?