1. Fishermen continue fight against tidal turbines

The barge Scotian Tide, which was hauling the tidal turbine destined for the Minas Basin. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“The Bay of Fundy Fisherman’s Association says it will continue to oppose the development of tidal power in the Minas Passage, near Parrsboro,” reports Bruce Wark:

Association spokesman, Colin Sproul made the pledge after the fishermen lost their court challenge to the deployment of a tidal turbine in November and a second one planned for sometime this year.

In a decision released this week, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled that it was reasonable for the provincial environment minister to approve the turbine deployments by Cape Sharp Tidal Inc.

The fishermen’s association issued a news release on Monday rejecting the court ruling arguing that the judge based it on “junk science” controlled by the tidal industry…

The association says it hasn’t decided yet whether it will appeal the decision.

To read the news release, click here.

Wark has more here.

I’m ambivalent about the tidal turbines. Obviously, the energy contained in the Fundy tides is enormous, and tapping into even a tiny portion of that energy would be helpful in the battle to avoid cataclysmic climate change, which truly is the existential issue of our times.

Still, I’m skeptical that we can make the technological advances required to bring the cost of tidal-generated electricity down to a realistic level quickly enough, and the costs of doing so and maintaining ongoing generating operations seem enormous.

I feel the same way with tidal as I do with nuclear power, which is at least a proven technology: yes, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power has an undeniable appeal, but the capital costs are too high, and there’s too long a horizon to get a return on the investment (it would take decades to get enough nuclear power plants operational to make a meaningful contribution to the electrical grid). If we’ve got the trillions of dollars required to build a gazillion nuclear power plants that won’t bring meaningful action on climate change for (say) 30 years, then we’ve got the money required to retool our houses and businesses for energy efficiency and fund renewable energy projects that can start making a difference within two or three years.

Our energy future, I think, will be dependent first of all on reducing electrical needs through efficiency and simply lowering our power demands, but then on distributed generation, with solar, wind, and geothermal systems taking care of most energy needs on site or locally, coupled with a grid charged by a multitude of relatively small scale hydro, wind, tidal, and geothermal generators. Tidal can play a part in that, but I think the model of a single gigantic multi-billion dollar utility generating the bulk of the electricity won’t be workable.

Notice that besides the absolutely unavoidable requirement that we reduce our carbon emissions to zero, I didn’t bring environmental factors into that analysis. I have big concerns about the externalities associated with nuclear power (maybe environmental threats can be dealt with, or at least put off for a century or so; my bigger concern is with nuclear proliferation, as every country that has developed the nuclear bomb since 1980 has done so through a civilian nuclear power program), but I don’t have to talk about nuclear waste or the potential for disaster to be opposed to nuclear power — it’s just a bad use of limited resources. We’re placing all our chips on one red square, and even if the ball falls on the right number, the payout doesn’t come until after all the damage is done. Better to spread those chips around the board and start getting some payback immediately.

Likewise, I don’t know if the Fundy fishermen have a case or not in their opposition to the tidal turbines on environmental grounds. I’ll watch the court battles play out as they will, and try to stay reasonably on top of the issue. But I fear the push for tidal is promoting an old school “Big Power” industry, and like big coal generators of the past, the industry will roll right over any local concerns. I’d be quite happy to be wrong about this — I’m just expressing my fear. Moreover, I wonder if this is the best use of our financial resources.

In the meanwhile, let’s not bet our entire future on just one mode of power generation.

2. Victoria Henneberry

Victoria Henneberry and Blake Leggette. Photo: Twitter

“One of two people serving life sentences for killing an Inuk woman from Labrador over rent money in 2014 will present her final arguments to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Halifax Thursday on why her murder conviction should be overturned,” reports Maureen Googoo:

Victoria Henneberry, who is representing herself in court, says she was distraught, stressed and panicked when she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April 2015 for her role in the killing of university student Loretta Saunders.

“I’m not looking for a new trial,” Henneberry told the appeal court justices on Wednesday. “I’m just looking for a change of charges,” she said.

Henneberry said she should have been charged with accessory after the fact and criminal negligence.

However, Justice Duncan Beveridge pointed out to Henneberry that she was facing a charge of first-degree murder when she agreed to the plea arrangement.

“If we were to strike your plea to second-degree murder, our only realistic option is to send you back to trial on first-degree murder,” Justice Beveridge said.

“That’s the jeopardy you would face. Not to turn around and substitute a charge of criminal negligence or accessory after the fact or manslaughter even, you would go back to stand trial on first-degree murder,” he added.

Justice Beveridge also pointed out that Blake Leggette, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Saunders’ death, could be called to testify against Henneberry in a potential murder trial. Henneberry calls three witnesses to testify during the appeal hearing.

Loretta Saunders, left, and her younger sister, Delilah/Photo contributed by Delilah Saunders

Googoo also spoke with Loretta Saunders’ sister:

“It’s a slap in the face,” Delilah Saunders said in a phone interview about Victoria Henneberry’s upcoming appeal hearing later this week.

“It shows that she (Victoria Henneberry) is not taking responsibility for her part in taking a life and throwing that woman, my sister, a daughter, a mother to be, an auntie, a best friend, throwing her on the side of the road like a piece of trash,” Saunders said.

3. “Partners”

“Barry Sheehy and Albert Barbusci of Harbor Port Development Partners (or Sydney Harbour Investment Partners or Blue Zen Memorial Parks) are proud of the many ‘partners’ they’ve enlisted in their campaign to turn Sydney harbor into a mega-port for ultra-large container ships,” reports Mary Campbell for the Cape Breton Spectator:

They have “building partners” like the “American giant Bechtel.” They have rail partners like Genesee & Wyoming. They even have The Right Honorable Jean Chretien who, we’re assured, believes deeply in the project, on board.

What they’ve also had, through the Port of Sydney Development Corporation, is access to about $2.5 million left over from the dredging of Sydney harbor, money that was supposed to pay for new navigational aids for the deepened channel but that has instead been diverted to “business development.”

What happens when you connect those dots? Well, you discover that Jean Chretien is their “partner” the way Seaside Communications or Bell Aliant is yours — because they’re paying him. And by “they” I don’t mean Harbor Port Development Partners, which is supposedly footing all the bills for this “private sector” project, but the Port of Sydney Development Corporation, using that leftover dredge money — that leftover public money.

Campbell discovered the payments through a Freedom of Information request, and details them here.

As with the Examiner, the Spectator depends upon subscriptions to cover operational costs, so the article is behind a paywall. I can’t speak highly enough of Campbell’s work, and if you can afford it (just $10/month), please consider supporting the Spectator.


1. The bust of Stephen Archibald

“So last week I got invited to have my head scanned, and from that scan a 3D printer produced a sort of Mini-Me or Mount Rushmore lite,” writes Stephen Archibald. “Just as cool as it sounds.”

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Charlottetown Guardian:

So now, the political clowns are trying to stop women from wearing high-heeled shoes.

Other sexual turn-ons for men — like dresses and nylon stockings — have already ended.

If men started wearing bras, the differences between the sexes, physically, will be hardly noticed.

Oh well, all this silliness is keeping the birth rate down.

Loring Rayner, Charlottetown




Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Thursday, 12pm, City Hall) — whoever puts together the agenda wants the committee to read something about how inflation is the worst thing ever. This worries me.


No public meetings.


No meetings until Wednesday.

On campus

No public events.

In the harbour

5am: Ami, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
7:15am: NYK Deneb, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for TK
10am: Nica, cargo ship, arrives at TK from Willemstad, Curaçao
11:30am: Tomar, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


I have some personal business to attend to this morning, so this is an abbreviated Morning File.

I don’t understand why Good Friday is a stat holiday — it’s not a holiday in the hyper religious U.S., and we never got the day off at the Catholic parochial or high schools I attended — but I’ll take the thin excuse for some down time. So Morning File is taking the day off tomorrow. I haven’t yet spoken with El Jones, so don’t know if she’s writing for Saturday. As there’s not even a flimsy justification for why Easter Monday (!!!) should also be a holiday, I’ll pop in with something to say on Monday morning.

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

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  1. Projects like the Fundy Turbine fall into a long-standing pattern of “development” the world over: Politicians like large, expensive projects that they can point to when the next election comes around as evidence that they’ve done something (positive or negative, it’s at least *something*).

    It’s really a lack of imagination on the part of folks who communicate the message from government: they could just as easily show off their (more likely appropriate) development initiatives in the form of a dozen or a hundred small-scale hydro / solar projects that generate electricity more closely attuned to local needs (wind not so much with the NIMBY effect in play).

    Is it simply laziness? No idea – but it’s a global phenomenon. Check out any of the huge hydro dam projects around the world, with their resultant environmental repercussions, which nonetheless boost a politician’s profile among those who are unable to see beyond the bright lights, big message.

    Personally, I’d love to see more attention and support given to projects like Antigonish’s community energy cooperative ( ACOA support for replicating that project around the province, perhaps partnered with Surrette Battery (Springhill) and their deep-cycle technologies, could have pretty immediate positive economic and energy self-sufficiency results.

    1. We need big projects to solve a massive problem. Fiddling with tiny community projects doesn’t deal with the very large problems.

    2. Projects like the Fundy Turbine fall into “geometry”. Same with large-scale wind turbines. The area swept (and therefore the energy generated) by a blade goes up by the square of the blade’s length, i.e. exponentially. If you increase the length of a blade from 1m to 2m, you get four times the energy. Go from 1m to 4m and you get 16 times the energy. But the costs of going bigger don’t go up exponentially, so large projects are much favoured by basic geometry. The bigger you make it, the more sense it makes (up until the point where material strength prevents you from going bigger). That’s not politics or business greed or “Big Energy” or anything like that, it’s just a fundamental property of our world.

      Yes, we could build millions of small turbines, or we could build a couple of big ones for a much lower cost and likely less of a cumulative impact on the surrounding environment. With wind turbines it would literally take about 2,000 rooftop turbines to equal the nameplate generating capacity one large-scale turbine. I’d much prefer the one turbine.

  2. That is because the hyper-religious US is mainly fundamentalist, and fundies look upon that kind of religious holiday observance as blasphemous idolatry. I’m surprised your Catholic parochial school didn’t mark it though, at least by making you attend day-long masses and processions

    Monday is not a holiday in New Brunswick, unless you are scheduled to work Sunday and worked it rather than take the holiday. I think the stores are closed here Easter Sunday though so they can open Monday.

    I’m not arguing with people getting more paid days off. People work enough unpaid time as it is, so it is just that they get a paid day off from time to time. We should have more. If it is because of religion, even in a supposedly secular state, I have no objection as long as they don’t expect to dragoon people to church.

  3. Regarding tidal power (and all other forms of renewable energy and nuclear): There is no way to mine iron, copper and 10+ other kinds of ore, ship them from the mine to the foundry, ship them to the manufacturer, make them into a turbine weighing hundreds of tons, move it hundreds of kilometres and then do the reverse when it breaks without copious amounts of fossil fuels. Lithium batteries are suitable for short range personal transport and that’s about it. Make of that what you will.

    Again with ignoring indigenous men and boys:

    71% of murdered indigenous are men.

    Probably most of the murderers are indigenous people. Is it possible that the alcoholism and other issues are caused by the absolutely horrible conditions on reserves and the lack of an attractive and meaningful future for aboriginal men and boys (and women, but I’m talking about men).

    In paragraph 33 of his manifesto, Ted Kaczynski writes about the need for what he refers to as “the power process” in human development, and presents the idea that the lack of meaningful challenges and goals in life is at the root of a lot of our pathologies in the industrial world. He notes that the power process is likely different for women than for men, and wisely decides not to explain the female process.

    In paragraph 6, Kaczynski offers an explanation for what he refers to as the pathology of modern leftism, which I think explains the official response to the problems facing indigenous people much better than tired talking points about reverse racism or misandry.

    I think the same problem exists outside of indigenous communities, but in general because those communities are richer there is more opportunity for diversion and more room to hide dysfunction it isn’t as obvious. I think the pathology is simply more evident in communities where there is nothing productive to do and everyone’s too poor to afford diversions.

    Regarding climate change and all our other existential threats, perhaps we don’t actually care because we’ve mostly all lost any sense of positive meaning in life. Maybe life will be more interesting with superstorms? Besides, we would have to stop flying, which isn’t acceptable to most people. Perhaps many of us, probably more men than women, unironically want to see things crashing down even though it will mean our own destruction.

  4. I don’t understand the Cranky Letter.. I thought the effort to reduce high heels was because of the damage they can do to feet, and that they shouldn’t be a requirement in the workplace?

  5. The cranky letter is hilarious! The court decision regarding high heels is long overdue. I’m surprised it took this long, frankly. Whether or not women should be forced NOT to wear high heels at work? Well, I don’t know, but from a safety standpoint, it might make as much sense as requiring steel toed shoes or banning open-toed shoes at some work sites.

    I don’t know where this decision will lead and what kind of ramifications it will have, but the fact that we allowed this kind of sexual discrimination continue for as long as we did is shameful. As I posted on my FB page, if men don’t have to wear them, neither should women. End of story.

    Or perhaps if I don’t want to wear high heels, it’s because I secretly wish I were a man. Yeah, that must be it.

    1. Fashion guidelines for a business environment or “dress code” as it is often called has largely been left up to management. The less the government gets involved in dictating dress code, the better in my opinion. Common sense (if it exists) might lead one to believe that footwear should perhaps be in keeping with the general style of the attire required for a given endeavour. That said, no one should be forced to wear apparel that demeans a person or puts an individual at risk when considering health and safety on a work-site. Keeping government legislation out of our daily attire decisions should be a priority if at all possible. Elimination of all mandatory dress codes in their entirety would certainly liven up this discussion. Yes, I recognize that certain professions such as the military, police and hazardous waste disposal staff, etc would still need some well defined dress code guidelines, but hey, no one shoe fits all, eh?

      1. Im not sure what your point is. Some jobs have mandatory dress for good and practical reasons.

        Enforcing high heels for the sake of male gaze above the well being of women is not a good reason.

        There are many businesses who care about profit more than they care about women and cannot be expected to the right thing on their own.

        1. What part of “no one should be forced to wear apparel that demeans a person or puts an individual at risk when considering health and safety on a work-site”… do you not understand?

          1. I was responding more to when you said:

            “The less the government gets involved in dictating dress code, the better in my opinion.” -and-

            “Keeping government legislation out of our daily attire decisions should be a priority if at all possible. Elimination of all mandatory dress codes in their entirety would certainly liven up this discussion.”

            I just didn’t really get why you think it’s a bad thing the government stepped in. They’re not really ‘dictating’ dress code, as much they’re just saying employers aren’t allowed to dictate an unreasonable dress code. In the absence of any sort of unionization I do not see who else is going to make that change happen. Sorry I wasn’t clear.