1. Dal rejects divestment

Yesterday, the Dalhousie Board of Governors rejected a call for the university to stop investing in greenhouse gas-intensive corporations, fearing that making a statement against climate change might cause oil and energy companies to stop funding university programs.

Reporter Rachel Ward was at the meeting, and got all the choice quotes of people who will trade the future of humanity for short term profit. This article is behind the Examiner pay wall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.

2. Publication ban

publication ban
In the interest of justice, this man may be thrown in jail.
In the interest of justice, this man may have his hair ruffled.

Hilariously, reporter Alison Auld wrote an article for the Canadian Press about the Chronicle Herald violating the publication ban on Rehtaeh Parsons’ name without mentioning either the Chronicle Herald or Rehtaeh Parsons. I especially like the photo CTV put to the story; they redacted Rehtaeh’s name throughout but absent-mindedly left the “Chronicle Herald” up on the upper left corner. Watch out, the publication ban police are going to go ruffle Bruce Frisko’s hair.

3. Stadium

“I would not support a CFL stadium,” Mayor Mike Savage tells Metro reporter Ruth Davenport. “I support a stadium where the CFL could be held. But to ask people if they support a CFL stadium, that’s the wrong question.”

Got that?

4. High Life

For some reason, the CBC has decided to draw attention to the High Life Social Club, a medical marijuana vapour lounge that has been operating peacefully on Spring Garden Road since the summer. “I heard the pizza place next door has been getting a lot of extra business,” owner Chris Henderson said.

4. Oathill Lake

Life in Oathill Lake, up the hill from Lake Banook, has been choked off from lawn fertilizers and dog poop running into the lake. But the Oathill Lake Conservation Society has been working to educate people about the problems and has installed a solar-powered recirculating system that is bringing the lake back to life.


1. Boring pictures of Halifax

Photos: Stephen Archibald
Photos: Stephen Archibald

Inspired by the minimalist photographer Walker Evans, in the 1960s and 70s Stephen Archibald took a lot of photos of what he now calls “boring” Halifax—storefronts and the like. I particularly like this set of photos, and best of all is the sequence he took in front of Mills Brothers on Spring Garden Road. “A baby in a wonderful, vintage, wicker perambulator has been left outside while its mother went in to shop,” explains Archibald. “In those days the village enjoyed a  street baby, now they would call the cops and report it as abandoned.”

2. Transit First

Transit map

Sean Gillis says that Halifax Transit’s reworked routing and scheduling proposal, to be revealed in January, should have high-frequency (every 15 minutes or better) routes with direct service.



Audit and Finance Standing Committee (10am, City Hall)—Halifax Transit is purchasing nine buses next year. Originally four of those buses were going to replace older buses, while the remaining five would be used for expanded service. That expansion is delayed a year, however, so it needs council approval to use all nine buses to replace older buses.

Community Design Advisory Committee (11:30am, City Hall)—the committee is going to talk about public engagement, which is always a barrel of monkeys.

St. Margaret’s Bay Coastal Planning Advisory Committee (6:30pm, Tantallon Public Library Program Room)—the committee is meeting solely to decide when they will next meet.

rifle scope

Part of the discussion around the Ferguson demonstrations in the US is the observation that police forces have become militarized, employing surplus army gear given to police for free. Much the same has happened in Canada, with tanks delivered to the New Glasgow and Windsor police departments.

The effect of this militarization is to change the nature of police forces, and of individual police officers. The long history of abuse of power and inappropriate policing aside, at their idealized best cops were rightly celebrated as protectors of public order. We’ve all seen great cops: the tough dudes who could diffuse a potentially violent situation through presence of mind and the judicious use of force at not inconsiderable risk to themselves. But of late, cops have evolved from people who put their lives on the line for our safety to people who can suffer no risk at all to their safety. No expense of money or civil liberty is too great. Tanks, spy equipment, kill first and ask questions later. Cops were once the tough guys among us protecting us. Now they’re verging on becoming an occupying army, forever the other, hiding behind a shield of weaponry.

All of which is to say the Halifax PD is ordering sniper rifles outfitted with night scopes like the one pictured above. But to even question such purchases is now beyond the limits of acceptable discourse.


Maxine Cochran
Maxine Cochran

Public Accounts (9am, Province House)—Bret Mitchell, the president and CEO of the NS Liquor Commission, will be asked if he’s watering down the booze.

On this date in 1985, Maxine Cochran, the MLA for Lunenburg Centre, was appointed Minister of Transportation. This made her the very first female cabinet minister in Nova Scotia.

Cochran died this past summer at the age of 87.

On campus



The European Union’s interest in the Arctic Ocean (12:30pm, Lord Dalhousie Room, Henry Hicks Building)—Mathilde Jacquot, a doctoral student from the Université de Bretagne Occidentale in Brest, France, will be talking.

Jim Stanford (Wednesday, 7:30pm, Scotiabank Auditorium, Marion McCain Building)—the economist and Globe and Mail columnist will talk on “Money, Myths and Manipulation: Debunking Austerity Economics.”

Pull My Daisy and Me And My Brother (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery)—the promo for the film screenings explains:

Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie, USA, 1959, 1969, 30 minutes, 91 minutes. Nova Scotia resident Robert Frank’s unorthodox films broke new ground somewhere between documentary and fiction, with performances by Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso and many other Beat luminaries.


Fisheries management (Thursday, 3:30pm, Fifth Floor Lounge in the Biology wing of the Life Sciences Centre)—Ian Bradbury, from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, will be talking on “Scanning the genomes of exploited marine species: population genomics and fisheries management.”

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Seminar (Thursday, 4pm, Theatre D, CRC Building)—Eric Fisher will talk on “Quality Control of VLDL Production in a Hepatic Protein Factory.”

Aboriginal health research (Thursday, 7pm, Room 303, Dalhousie Student Union Building)—the promo for the event explains:

A public event where three panelists will discuss the changing landscape of Aboriginal health research over the past 25 years. Drawing on their own research experiences they will start a conversation that asks: What should Aboriginal health research look like in the future? 

Moderated by Diana Lewis-Campbell, Union of Nova Scotia Indians Tribal Council, and PhD Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University. The panelists for this discussion are Fred Wien, Amy Bombay and Debbie Martin.

Art, Medicine, Science and Technology (Thursday, 7pm, Theatre A, Tupper Building)—Kim Morgan, the artist-in-residence for the Medical Humanities HEALS Program at Dalhousie, will be presenting.


First Ministers’ conferences have been held since 1950. No longer. Stephen Harper has done away with them.

In the harbour

The seas of Atlantic Canada, 6:30am Wednesday. Map:
The seas of Atlantic Canada, 6:30am Wednesday. Map:

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)

Zim Constanza, Valencia to Pier 42, then sails for New York
Dallas Express, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove
Skelt, bulker, Portsmouth to Anchor for bunkers, then to Sea
APL Pearl, container ship, Port Said, Egypt to Fairview Cove.
Faust sails for New York


Hilary Beaumont and I will be on the Sheldon MacLeod show today, 4pm at News 95.7.


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

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  1. I also LOVED the poll the Metro had on it’s front cover about the positive reaction to the work of the Heritage Trust. Nice to see the good citizens of Halifax can see beyond the self interested blather of our business class to see that intelligent growth can include all sorts of interesting things that our ruling elite deem anti-growth.

    1. Pleasantly surprising to see that the intelligent citizenry of Halifax are not taken in by the self-serving hype of those with very heavy axes to grind!

  2. Mehthinks the point was that police are no longer in their traditionally defined roles as upstanding and non-violent protectors of public order. Case in point was that CRAZY overreaction to the gun on a bus episode, The present overreach is an obvious but oh so disappointing nod to the “terrorists” among us. But I guess we are what we want to be.

    We have elected leaders who endorse this kinda stuff and we keep re-electing them. Yes I’m looking at you Stephen Harper and your belligerent paranoia.

  3. That tender for the scopes is only a tender for scopes – not rifles AND scopes – unless I read it wrong.

    And to be fair, if they don’t have those scopes and another mentally unstable person (or terrorist or whatever) decides to start shooting during a night-time event like a Xmas tree lighting or outdoor concert or something – then the media would be all over the cops for NOT having night vision scopes.

    I agree that tanks are probably not required by police, but SWAT gear is.

    If you want to discuss the purchase of the equipment, then discuss it – why is this a poor purchase? Do police operate at night? Have they ever used sniper rifles in Halifax – at night? Probably not, but its worth asking.

    I’d rather have the scopes and not need them, than need them and not have them.

    1. Like I said, I’m not allowed to question it. Outside the limits of acceptable discourse.

    2. The RFQ is for night vision scopes only, and while they can be rifle mounted, they’re looking for primarily helmet mounted night vision scopes with no magnification, which is an entirely different thing from the Nightforce scope pictured above, and has no direct relation to a sniper rifle or distance marksmanship.

  4. The comment about the increased militarization of police forces and its militarized defense mode is a change rightly acknowledged. It has made citizens – civilians increasingly endangered against such firepower.

  5. I don’t know the ins and outs of publication bans, but I’m curious how this works: when you report on the breaking of a publication ban by the Herald, and also use the name that is banned (thinking of today and yesterday), how does this skirt the publication ban? Or does it?

  6. What kind of atmosphere are we creating when all we read is how we are being screwed on this day, but guess what? You can’t do anything about it! There must be a balance. Somebody is fighting back and making a difference. Can we celebrate one person trying to change our lives for the better? We NEED hope to move forward and to challenge ourselves.

  7. The ideas behind the It’s More Than Buses plan are terrific, I applaud them. But this plan has been created without current ridership data (it is not available to them). This is a problem crying out for real data. Let’s do it right. Get the data, then work out the system. This proposal seriously downgrades Dartmouth routes.

    1. Real ridership data is a bit useless, as it would be about todays designed-by-drunk-crabs route map. Harper notwithstanding, they know where people live, where people work, and where shopping malls are.

      And it is a proof of concept, in any case. Metro Transit (er, H/\lifax Transit) came back to council and told them that what they were told to do was impossible, and they were 5 months behind schedule. Volunteers, in a few weeks, proved that that was total bullshit.

    2. Respectfully, I’d like to provide a bit of push-back to the claim that the IMTB proposal “seriously downgrades” Dartmouth’s transit. (Full disclosure: I volunteer for the group.)

      IMTB changes Dartmouth’s transit by reducing the number of routes overall, but then increasing (in many cases, drastically) the *frequency* of buses on the routes that remain. If you just looked at the existing Halifax Transit route maps for Dartmouth and compared them to the IMTB’s proposed network, it appears as though Halifax Transit’s current system has way more service in Dartmouth. But what maps don’t show is that the overwhelming majority of those buses run *at best* every half-hour, and in many cases every hour or even less frequently than that.

      Imagine buses in Dartmouth worked like this. The buses you take come so frequently that your average wait time is about 7 minutes. If you *just miss* your bus, well, then you have to wait for fifteen whole minutes. Effectively, you never have to look at a bus schedule again. You never have to stress out about being late, and there’s no wasted time if you’re early. You just go to your stop when you want to go, and trust that the bus is going to be there in a few minutes.

      Now here’s the real question for people in Dartmouth. If you could trust your buses like that, would you be willing to walk an extra block or two to get to your stop? IMTB thinks most people in Dartmouth are going to say, “Yes!”

      1. My concern would be for the elderly or otherwise mobility-impaired, for whom the issue isn’t being willing but being able to “walk an extra block or two” to get to a stop. It may be the best solution for the transit system overall, but I think it’s a trade-off that needs to be recognized. Distance to a stop may be a major reason why some choose not to take transit.

        1. Agreed. There is definitely a trade-off here. Halifax Transit’s current system is designed to accommodate people who aren’t willing (or able) to walk an extra block, but who do have all the time in the world to wait for a bus that comes once an hour. IMTB’s plan is designed to tilt the balance somewhat back towards people who don’t have a lot of time (e.g., almost all working people, but especially working parents), and who would be willing to walk a little farther to save some time. But there’s no question that there’s a trade off here, and that’s something IMTB really hopes is explicitly part of the discussion in Halifax Transit’s consultation in the new year.

      2. The More Than Buses map doubles my travel time Bridge Terminal to Portland Hills and at least doubles travel time to DGH. I suggest using data because it is real. What do you base a system design on if not data? opinion? I agree with your statement “Real ridership data is a bit useless, as it would be about todays designed-by-drunk-crabs route map” but if data including travel in cars were included for example a clearer picture would develop.

  8. Discussion about public engagement, eh? There is nothing wrong with public engagement in Halifax other than the administration has no use for it.