1. Rankin, natural gas, and the democratic right to criticize

This weekend, delegates at the Conservative Party of Canada’s national convention rejected a motion that called for the party to acknowledge that “climate change is real.”

Some of the no votes were more nuanced than others, but the gist is that party members don’t want to adopt policies — support for the Paris Accord and carbon taxes, better regulation of emissions from the oil and gas industry — that are necessary to confront the problem. If it means losing votes in the oil fields, they’re against it, the future of the planet be damned.

It’s a reprehensible attitude, but hopefully will have little real-world impact: the CPC is out of power, not even a bit player in the governing minority government, and by voting against the motion, delegates made it that much harder for the party to get back in power.

But it’s an entirely different matter when Iain Rankin, the Liberal premier of Nova Scotia, who is presiding atop a majority government that is setting energy policy for the next several decades, embraces the natural gas industry. Unlike the now powerless CPC, Rankin’s actions can contribute materially to humanity’s failure to confront climate change.


A detailed map of the Goldboro site from Pieridae’s Environmental Assessment.

Let’s back up and examine Pieridae Energy’s proposed Goldboro LNG plant, which is the subject of Joan Baxter’s twopart investigative series, “The Goldboro Gamble.”

Last week, I explained the project like this:

The Pieridae proposal envisions natural gas sourced in Alberta being delivered via new and enlarged pipelines to Nova Scotia, where it will be liquified at the Goldboro plant. That LNG would then be pumped into giant LNG carriers that will carry the LNG across the Atlantic to a new terminal to be built by the energy company Uniper in Wilhelmshaven, Germany; there, the gas will be regasified and distributed to German homes and businesses.

Turns out, that’s not exactly right. Since I wrote that, I’ve learned two things.

First, I exchanged emails with Nantje Zimmermann, an energy policy analyst and member of the Bundestag representing the Green Party of Germany. Zimmermann explained to me that Uniper put the Wilhelmshaven plant on hold in November. “The company has decided to do this because of market players’ reluctance to make binding bookings for import capacities at the planned terminal in the current circumstances,” reads a company statement.

“It is true that the planning process for the LNG-Terminal in Wilhelmshaven has been put on hold,” Zimmermann told me, “but I’m not aware that this has any implications on the LNG Terminal in Goldboro — unfortunately. The only connection that I could come up with is that Uniper is involved in both terminals and might have planned to import the Canadian LNG via the Wilhelmshaven Terminal. But Europe has quite a few import terminals for LNG that are not fully occupied and therefore would have plenty of import-capacities for more LNG from abroad. Therefore I don’t think that Wilhelmshaven could be a show stopper for Goldboro.”

The second part of my explanation for the project that I didn’t fully comprehend was the source of the natural gas that would come into the Goldboro facility.

I’ve had some off the record and background conversations with people in the gas industry who explained to me that Pieridae is planning on buying three natural gas plants in Alberta — at Waterton, Jumping Pound, and Caroline — as well as several hundred sour gas wells and thousands of kilometers of sour gas pipeline from Shell Oil. The regulatory process is too complicated to get into here, but suffice it to say that there is considerable opposition from Albertans, because they’ve seen this before: the big oil and gas companies heave off older facilities to under-capitalized junior partners so the big companies can avoid the environmental clean-up costs; after the sale, the smaller companies eventually go bankrupt, leaving the public with the environmental bill. I’m told Shell’s environmental liability for the assets it proposes to sell to Pieridae could be as much as $3 billion.

From what I understand, Uniper’s contract with Pieridae requires that any natural gas purchased not come from fracked natural gas supplies. But something like 70% of the gas produced in Alberta comes from fracked sources, and all the gas enters the same pipelines commingled, which presents something of an accounting absurdity.

And last night, activists in the US alerted me to yet another possible gas source for the Goldboro plant — natural gas produced by fracking in Western Pennsylvania.

The Atlantic Bridge Project.

At issue is a now-operating natural gas compressing plant in Weymouth, Massachusetts. As WBUR, the NPR station in Boston, explained it in October:

The 7,700-horsepower Weymouth compressor is part of a larger gas pipeline plan called the Atlantic Bridge Project. The purpose of the project is to make it easier for “fracked” natural gas from the Marcellus Shale of Western Pennsylvania to get to northern New England and Canada, and it does this by connecting two existing pipeline systems: the Algonquin Gas Transmission, which flows from New Jersey into Massachusetts, and the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which flows from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, Canada.

As is often the case with big energy projects, there are a few companies involved including Algonquin Gas Transmission, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Limited Partnership and Spectra Energy.

But the important name to remember is Enbridge.

Enbridge Inc., a $170-billion energy company based in Canada, is the parent company to all the smaller companies involved in the Atlantic Bridge Project.

Enbridge makes most of its money by transporting Canadian crude oil into the U.S., but natural gas is also a big part of its business. According to the company’s website, it has about 23,850 miles of gas pipelines in North America, and transports “about 19% of all natural gas consumed in the United States.”

German and American environmentalists are convinced that the plan is to use the Atlantic Bridge Project to supply the Goldboro LNG plant. If they’re correct, then it means that the Canadian government is being asked to give $925 million in support of the Goldboro project, in part to underwrite fracking operations in Pennsylvania.

Climate change

Premier Iain Rankin at the COVID briefing, March 9, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

I asked Rankin Thursday if he was supportive of the Goldboro plant, and he said he is:

Bousquet: Pieridae Energy asking the federal government for over nine hundred million dollars in assistance. I realize the province doesn’t have a say in that, but are you supportive of that Goldboro project? And if so, what do you say about how it will affect the province’s greenhouse gas emission targets?

Rankin: I am supportive. I think that it’s important that we look at economic development in the province. I’m encouraged to see an agreement with the Mi’kmaq. They benefit from employment and it does help the international community get off coal. I’ve said that was my priority as well in this province. So to help Germany and others with natural gas as we transition, there would be an uptake of carbon here in the province. But internationally, it makes sense environmentally and it makes sense economically for our province.

Bousquet: You just referred to natural gas as a transition fuel. Environmentalists would very much disagree with you. They say that’s dated language to begin with, more corporate PR than than reflecting reality, especially given the lowering costs of renewables. Might you revisit that opinion?

Rankin: Well, I think that’s debatable. I’m focusing on renewables where possible. So wind, solar. You’re going to see a lot more on our grid. But the reality is coal is the most carbon intensive fuel to be burned. It has more particulate matter, mercury and so on down the line. That’s why Canada has been working to get off coal. That’s why I want to get off coal 10 years earlier. So this facilitates the world getting off coal. And I think it’s a very important environmental initiative to be part of and impacts our economy here and allows us to bring in more revenue to spend on fighting climate change, transitioning to electrifying our transportation system, bringing our buildings to net zero. So I acknowledge there’s differences of opinion and natural gas is something that is cleaner than coal.

This is starting to feel like the “difference of opinion” between COVID deniers and the entire scientific community — hey, you elitist scientists have your opinion, but some guy on the internet has his opinion, and I believe the guy on the internet.

But environmentalists make no bones about it: natural gas is not a transition to a greener future. There should be no “bridge” or “transition”; rather, we should switch entirely to renewables as quickly as possible, and given the dramatic decreases in the costs of renewables (especially in solar) and improvements in battery and other storage technologies, a true renewable power system is much closer than we could imagine even a few years ago.

One of the problems with building billions of dollars in new natural gas infrastructure is that you can’t easily “transition” away from it — it becomes a stranded asset unless you fully use it, and that means fully using the wells that supply the system, which in turn means that you’ve committed yourself to burning so much fossil fuel that it becomes impossible to meet any of the reduced greenhouse gas targets.

The “natural gas is a transition fuel” nonsense is part of a gigantic energy industry PR campaign that dates back decades, as explained recently on the On The Media podcast and by reporter Rebecca Leber in a Mother Jones article, “How the Fossil Fuel Industry Convinced Americans to Love Gas Stoves.” Writes Leber:

Yet the popularity of gas may soon begin to wane. Americans are waking up to the fact that natural gas is a powerful contributor to climate change and source of air pollution — and that’s not even counting gas pipelines’ tendency to leak and explode. Climate emissions from gas and oil-powered buildings make up a full 12 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions. Just a couple of decades ago, electricity wasn’t the obviously cleaner choice. Now it’s the main strategy for cleaning stubborn sources of pollution. If homes are fully electric, they’re bound to rely increasingly on renewable energy like solar and wind, but every new home that connects to the gas grid today will still be using fossil fuels in 15 years, no matter how much we clean up the electricity sector.

Already at least 42 municipalities across the United States have strengthened building codes to discourage expanding gas hookups in new construction, and the pace is picking up. New York City may soon join that number, while Seattle has settled for a compromise that bans gas appliances in commercial and multifamily homes without technically banning the stove in new construction. In 2021, Washington state will propose bans for gas furnaces and heating after 2030. California regulators have faced pressure to pass the most aggressive standards in the nation to make all newly constructed buildings electric by 2023. Biden’s campaign promised to implement new appliance and building-efficiency standards. Even with all the gas industry lobbying on the state level, more stringent federal rules could motivate builders to ditch the gas hookups for good in new construction.

In response, the industry has created a well-funded campaign to push back, going so far as to hire social media influencers to TikTok the virtues of cooking with gas.

Alfred Sorensen and Natural Resources Canada Minister Seamus O’Regan

The Halifax Examiner played a tiny roll in the PR battle, when last week we published a PowerPoint presentation Pieridae had made before Canadian federal officials last December, in meetings in which the company asked for the $925 million in financing. This is basic journalism — a company is asking for nearly a billion dollars in public money, so of course the public has a right to know about it. I had zero qualms about publishing the PowerPoint presentation.

But then Pieridae turned around and threatened legal action — not against the Examiner or me (I’d tell them to fuck off), but against environmentalists who the company thinks leaked the document to the Examiner.

As Joan Baxter reported Saturday, the company argued the environmentalists “used and disclosed the information to ‘other persons (including news publications) for the express purpose of damaging Pieridae’s commercial prospects of developing and constructing the Goldboro LNG Facility.’ … on August 6, 2020, a ‘multi-party no-disclosure agreement’ was “executed by Pieridae Energy Limited and the governments of Canada, Alberta and Nova Scotia. Such an agreement ‘imposes on the recipients of any Confidential Information of Pieridae an obligation to treat that information as confidential and to not disclose the Confidential Information to any third party without the Pieridae’s prior written consent.’”

Well, no.

I’m not saying who leaked the PowerPoint presentation, but I’ll note that environmentalists were not in the room. They didn’t sign any nondisclosure agreements, nor did the Halifax Examiner. We can do whatever we want with the PowerPoint presentation, like, say, publish it again: See the PowerPoint presentation here.

But this fits into a pattern of natural resource companies bullying their critics. If Pieridae does take legal action, it would be a perfect example of a SLAPP suit — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. As the Canadian Civil Liberties Association explains:

In essence, SLAPPs are lawsuits, or the threat of a lawsuit, directed against individuals or organizations, in order to silence and deter their public criticisms and advocacy for change. Although SLAPPs can take a variety of forms, many come in the form of a legal action for defamation or libel or for other civil claims including interference with contractual relations. SLAPPs generally lack merit and are not likely to succeed in court. The goal of the party bringing the lawsuit is generally not to win a case, but to silence their critics.

The lawsuit is started by a plaintiff which may be an individual or group (including a corporation) in order to intimidate those who criticize or question the plaintiff’s behavior or stance with respect to certain public interest issues. The critics (defendants in the lawsuit) have to redirect their energies to defending the lawsuit. In light of the time, resources and stress that can accompany being sued, the defendants may be encouraged to simply stop expressing their views and critical assessments of the plaintiff(s). The lawsuit may also have the effect of dissuading others from speaking out and exercising their own rights to express themselves and participate in the democratic process. This is sometimes referred to as the “chilling effect”.

CCLA believes that public participation is important and should not be discouraged by those with greater means and resources. Targets of SLAPPs (i.e. defendants) should have a quick and inexpensive way of having a Court assess whether the lawsuit in which they have been named is abusive or aimed at silencing legitimate and legal expression. That’s why CCLA supported efforts to introduce and pass the Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015 in Ontario, and would support similar efforts across Canada. The Ontario legislation enacts new procedural rules so that defendants can have an early determination of the validity of the lawsuit against them. In some cases, where a lawsuit is found to impact public participation, the plaintiff may be penalized with a costs award. These kinds of measures aim to guard against abuse.

So far as I’m aware, Ontario is the only province with Anti-SLAPP legislation, although plenty of US states have such laws.

By sending the legal threat to its critics, Pieridae has demonstrated that it seeks to undermine democratic consideration of its Goldboro proposal, and doubly so since it is seeking public money for that proposal. It is a bad corporate citizen.

Rankin should rethink his support for the Pieridae project, and he should introduce Anti-SLAPP legislation to prevent such abuses from happening in the future.

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2. Beaver Dam mine

West River near Beaver Dam. Photo: Joan Baxter

On Sunday, we published Joan Baxter’s look at the Beaver Dam mine proposal, which envisions a gigantic open-pit mine just a stone’s thrown from the Killag River.

It’s a very good article, so read the whole thing, but two things especially stood out for me. First, I did not know that there was once a national park planned for the Eastern Shore:

[Local resident Harry] Kelly reminds me that back in the early 1970s, the area south of Moose River was considered so special that there were plans to turn it into Nova Scotia’s third national park.

The plans for the national park were cancelled in 1973, partly because the province didn’t want “to surrender to the federal government huge areas of viable pulp forests that had already been leased to forestry companies,” clearly a reference to Scott Paper, predecessor of Northern Pulp, which was given a lease on more than 230,000 acres of woodland in the Scott Maritimes Limited Agreement Act of 1965, in addition to the million acres Scott already owned in the province.

And, relatedly, I’m struck by Barbara Markovits’ comment that “the Eastern Shore, which has already suffered from such intensive clearcutting, will become ‘a sacrifice zone’ if gold mining proceeds according to industry plans that seem to be heavily supported by government.”

That’s really what this is about, no? Are we prepared to decimate an entire segment of the province with continued clearcutting, mining, bizarre spacesport pursuits, and a deepwater terminal that will never materialize, while turning our back on salvaging wild rivers and the prospects of a diversified economy of hardwood and recreational industries — all in pursuit of a handful of mostly illusionary but definitely transitory jobs in the extraction industries? The trees are cut down, the mines play out, the rivers are dead, a toxic legacy remains for centuries, and then, what?

Click here to read “Atlantic Gold plans to mine ‘paradise.’”

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3. Logging “biodiversity hotspot”

This stand, part of the community-proposed IRWA contains a 400-year plus eastern hemlock. Photo courtesy Mike Lancaster

And in yet more of the Examiner’s resource coverage, Linda Pannozzo reports that:

The Department of Lands and Forestry (DLF) has proposed that more than 455 hectares (1,124 acres) of forests in the St. Margaret’s Bay area be put on the chopping block, with roughly 207 ha (511 acres) within the boundaries of the community proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area (IRWA).

According to Mike Lancaster, the Stewardship Coordinator of the St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association (SMBSA), research and sampling of the area roughly 15,000 hectares in size shows that it’s a “biodiversity hotspot,” providing habitat for a number of endangered species including mainland moose, Canada warbler, chimney swift, olive-sided flycatcher and common nighthawk. Fourteen species of concern including lichens, bird species, and flora have also been documented in the area. 1 Lancaster also says there are seven old growth forest sites including one containing a 401-year-old eastern hemlock.

Click here to read “‘Biodiversity hotspot’ primed for logging.’”

4. “Delay of game”

The Portapique sign on Highway 2 was adorned with a NS tartan sash following the mass shooting that began there on April 18, 2020. Photo: Joan Baxter

Writes Stephen Kimber:

It’s been 11 months since the Nova Scotia mass shooting and the Crown and the Mounties are still doing their best to make sure we can’t find out what happened in the investigation. Perhaps it’s time there were consequences.

Click here to read “What if there were real penalties for legal ‘delay of game’?”

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5. Herring Cove Road

A cyclist travels down Herring Cove Road in a July 2019 Google Streetview image. Credit: Google Streetview

“Municipal staff are recommending in favour of some big changes to Herring Cove Road, hoping to redesign the busy thoroughfare to favour pedestrians, bikes, and buses,” reports Zane Woodford:

With significant new development happening in Spryfield — more than 2,200 new residential units are expected to be built in the area over the next 20 years — the municipality wants to get ahead of the transportation demand by encouraging people to use active transportation and transit instead of their cars.

The road is also currently unsafe for pedestrians due to long stretches without sidewalks or with worn-down asphalt sidewalks, and inaccessible bus stops.

On Thursday, Halifax regional council’s Transportation Standing Committee is scheduled to meet virtually, and the Herring Cove Road Functional Plan is on the agenda. The massive, 599-page document includes four reports on the road redesign. It’s the culmination of a process that started in 2018 when the committee asked for a staff report on adding bus lanes and active transportation infrastructure to the road from Spryfield to the Armdale Rotary.

Click here to read “New bus and bike lane plans for Herring Cove Road headed to committee.”

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6. COVID-19

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Six new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia yesterday (Sunday, March 21).

Four cases are in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone — three are close contacts of  previously announced cases, and the fourth is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Two of the cases are in the Eastern Zone, and both are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada

Of the new cases, one is a woman or girl aged 19 or younger; one is a boy or man aged 19 or younger; one is a woman aged 20-39; one is a man aged 20-39; and the other two are men aged 40-59.

There are 21 known active cases in the province. No one is in hospital with the disease, although several readers have told me that people who entered the hospital with the disease are still there — presumably, their cases are testing negative for the virus and are considered “resolved” even though they are still sick.

The active cases are distributed as follows:

• 5 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 7 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 3 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 2 in the Inverness, Victoria, and Richmond Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 6 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network in the Western Zone

Nova Scotia Health labs completed exactly 2,000 tests Saturday.

Pop-up testing has been scheduled for the following locations:

Monday: Liverpool Legion, 9:30m-4:30pm
Monday: Halifax Convention Centre, noon-6pm

You can also get tested at the Nova Scotia Health labs by going here.

Vaccine numbers aren’t provided on the weekend, so I have no updated figures.

People who are 80 or over can book a vaccine appointment here.

People who are 60 to 64 years old can book an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine here; those deciding to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be eligible to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Here are the new daily cases and seven-day rolling average (today at 2.6) since the start of the second wave (Oct. 1):

And here is the active caseload for the second wave:

Last night, Public Health issued potential COVID exposure advisories for eight locations in the Dartmouth area:

Anyone who worked at or visited the following locations on the specified dates and times should immediately visit to book a COVID-19 test,regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you are required to self-isolate while you wait for your test result. If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 you do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your test result.

  • Walmart Cole Harbour (900 Cole Harbour Rd., Dartmouth) on March 15 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 15 may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 29.
  • Superstore Cole Harbour (920 Cole Harbour Rd., Dartmouth) on March 15 between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 15 may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 29.
  • Superstore Portland Street (650 Portland St., Dartmouth) on March 16 between 3 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 16 may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 30.
  • Sobeys Penhorn (551 Portland St., Dartmouth) on March 17 between 2:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. and March 18 between 10:45 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 17 and 18 may develop symptoms up to, and including, April 1.
  • No Frills Wyse Road (118 Wyse Rd., Dartmouth) on March 18 between 10 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 18 may develop symptoms up to, and including, April 1.
  • Laura Secord Mic Mac Mall (21 Micmac Blvd., Dartmouth) on March 18 between 10:45 a.m. and noon. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 18 may develop symptoms up to, and including, April 1.
  • Bulk Barn Woodlawn Plaza (114 Woodlawn Rd., Dartmouth) on March 18 between 11:25 a.m. and 12:40 a.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 18 may develop symptoms up to, and including, April 1.
  • Giant Tiger Woodlawn Plaza (114 Woodlawn Rd., Dartmouth) on March 18 between 11:45 a.m. and 12:55 p.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on March 18 may develop symptoms up to, and including, April 1.

In Nova Scotia, the vast majority of potential exposure sites have not resulted in transmission of the virus. I’ve updated the potential COVID advisory map:

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7. Families and COVID

“Atlantic Canadian families have faced many challenges over the last year, and researchers are hoping they’ll share how they’re adapting to change via a new survey,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

Titled ‘Family Changes during a global pandemic,’ the survey is intended to give researchers an idea of how families have adapted as COVID-19 continues to create uncertainty.

Mount Saint Vincent University professors Jessie-Lee McIsaac, Joan Turner, and their team at the university’s Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre launched the survey on Monday.

Aimed at parents and guardians living in Atlantic Canada with young children between the ages of zero and eight, it is a follow-up to their survey from last April.

“I think one of the things we were surprised about is that parents were reporting that the children were doing OK, but that they were the ones that they were feeling that they didn’t have as much time to take care of themselves and they were feeling less rested.”

In total, 63% of parents indicated they were feeling less rested during those early days of the pandemic.

Click here to read “Kids are doing OK in the pandemic; it’s their parents who are stressing out.”


1. Old Album, Number Eight

“I think this may be Dominion,” explains Stephen Archibald.

Stephen Archibald has published “Old Album, Number Eight,” in his seemingly (and hopefully) never-ending series.

There’s a bunch of fun stuff in the post, but I especially like the photo above, which Archibald explains:

Equally dramatic was a landscape of identical company houses approaching shore like lemmings, in Industrial Cape Breton c1970. One of the reasons for the Louisbourg project was to provide employment for folks as the coal mines closed. I was told there was one former miner working there by my time, 1969-71.

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Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am) — live broadcast of audio and all PowerPoint presentations

Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm) — virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available


Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm) — virtual meeting, with live captioning on a text-only site



No public meetings.


Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm )

On campus



Swarna Weerasinghe. Photo:

Digital Epidemiology, a Machine Learning Applications in Epidemiology: Is it a shift from or expansion of traditional statistical analysis? (Monday, 12:30pm) — Swarna Weerasinghe will talk.

Traditional statistical models were developed to make statistical inference on small samples of data. The increasing availability of large volumes of data makes statisticians to rethink about their traditional approaches to making statistical inference. Within the last decade large volumes of epidemiologic data have been analyzed using machine learning (ML) approaches. In this presentation, I will be presenting three of the research projects that I used ML approaches to data analyses. Different types of text (tweets, blogs, and comments) and a large volume of numerical data analyses will be briefly introduced, and their applications will be illustrated.  A comparison will be made with the traditional statistical approaches of numerical data analysis.

Journey to Justice (Monday, 6pm) — viewing and discussion of the documentary film in commemoration of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Day, with Monique Thomas, Wayne Desmond, and Elizabeth Taylor, and entertainment by Eriana Willis-Smith.

This documentary pays tribute to a group of Canadians who took racism to court. They are Canada’s unsung heroes in the fight for Black civil rights. Focusing on the 1930s to the 1950s, this film documents the struggle of 6 people who refused to accept inequality. Featured here, among others, are Viola Desmond, a woman who insisted on keeping her seat at the Roseland movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946 rather than moving to the section normally reserved for the city’s Black population, and Fred Christie, who took his case to the Supreme Court after being denied service at a Montreal tavern in 1936. These brave pioneers helped secure justice for all Canadians. Their stories deserve to be told.​​​


Accessible Architecture: Beyond the Ramp (Tuesday, 6pm) — lecture and discussion with Ron Wickman.

Saint Mary’s


The Librarian Is In (Tuesday, 3pm) — virtual drop-in session to ask any of your library- or research-related questions



Catherine Anne Martin. Photo from the listing

Counter Memory Activism Speaker Series — Catherine Anne Martin (Monday, 7pm) — Zoom talk with the activist, filmmaker, and first-ever Director of Indigenous Community Engagement at Dalhousie University

In the harbour

01:00: MSC Eleni, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Barcelona
06:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
13:30: IT Integrity, supply vessel, sails from Pier 9 for sea
16:00: Ridgebury Lindy B, oil tanker, sails from anchorage for sea
16:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails for Palm Beach, Florida


As today’s Morning File demonstrates, the Halifax Examiner has gone all-in in terms of covering resource issues in Nova Scotia. We have lots more planned. I like to think we’re providing the best critical media look at such issues in Nova Scotia. All of this takes considerable resources, and we could do so much more with more support. If you support this work, please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!

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

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  1. This seems like an especially timely excerpt of a chapter from Gregoire Chamayou’s forthcoming book, ‘The Ungovernable Society: A Genealogy of Authortarian Liberalism’ (2021, Polity Press), that was up on Ill Will a few weeks ago:

    “The goal was to regain control of an order of expression that was out of control. But what would be the alternative, or rather the necessary complement to the old model? The new keyword was dialogue. New ‘public relations dialogues’ praised ‘dialogic communication as a theoretical framework to guide relationship building between organizations and publics’. Instead of propaganda, they recommended participation; instead of the vertical, the horizontal; instead of the unilateral, the reciprocal; instead of the symmetric, the asymmetrical. In the early 1980s, managerial ideologues, adopting a philosophical pose, sang the praises of dialogic reason, ‘ethical’ in essence. And Habermas came along at just the right time – his ‘distinction between monological and dialogical rationality’ fitted in nicely with this new approach. In this model, transmitter and receiver swap places to become, in a beautiful communicative symmetry, ‘equal participants in a communication process that seeks mutual understanding’. Now the time of ‘ethical communication’ had come, of ‘communication’ as ‘conversation’ or ‘neutral dialogue’ as ‘a precondition of legitimacy in any corporate initiative’. The time of overarching truths was over, promised these devotees of communication, these new converts to a respectable postmodernism: intersubjective agreement must now be co-constructed through a dialogue between stakeholders.”

  2. The push to sell natural gas to Europe from North America is part of the American opposition to the Nordstream pipeline from Russia to Europe. The empire is using its power to boost the cash flow/gas flow of its corporate donors/bosses and also to continue its cold war with Russia. Nova Scotia is a bit player in this (as is the vassal state that is Canada), and the term sacrifice zone is very appropriate. So far, Rankin has made some good gestures to distinguish himself from bad dad MacNeil, but the real test will be Goldsboro, Owl’s Head and Open Pit gold mining. These are all massive long-term disasters for the environment, for the air we breath and the water we drink.

  3. Thanks for the excellent coverage-what a gang. Also for raising the matter of SLAPPs.

    Aside- Does anyone else find this ironic? Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm) —

    !virtual meeting; dial-in or live broadcast not available!

  4. “No appointments available” at any of the Central Zone
    vaccine distribution sites for age 60-64.

  5. A little bit of caution around language re: the environment/science. When telling the premier that “environmentalists say x” he can easily brush that off because environmentalists = activists who are often not subject experts. Environmentalists are usually attempting to echo what is out there in the academic literature but they are often not one in the same.

    If you instead say to the premier, “current scientific consensus is x” that’s a lot harder for him to brush off because it has more credibility and because he has touted himself as being pro science and pro-evidence based decision making.
    Current scientific consensus is that we should not be building more fossil fuel infrastructure and that we should not be shooting for a bar as low as a “transition fuel” but rather going for the gold standard of decarbonizing the economy.

  6. No oil. No gas. No nuclear. All of which leaves us with very limited options. Wind and solar don’t cut it.
    Fewer humans would be an option. Less tourism. Less immigration. Less consumption. Fewer children, perhaps a tax on couples with more than one child.

    1. As usual, current expert advice does not align with your opinion. As a province current expert opinion is that we can meet our energy needs with Hydro (as Lower Churchill comes online) Wind and Solar and a bit from a few other renewable sources…eventually transitioning to a Hydrogen based economy in which we could be world leaders by using renewables to producing green hydrogen through electrolysis of seawater. It’s an idea from about a hundred years ago first proposed by J.B.S Haldane .

  7. The “Banana Republic” of Nova Scotia. Banana Republic – a small dependent country, run despotically. The term was coined in 1901 by American author O. Henry in his book “Cabbages and Kings” to describe Honduras while its economy, people, and government were being exploited by the American-owned United Fruit Company.

    1. COVID details:
      ” three are close contacts of previously announced cases, and the fourth is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.
      Two …. in the Eastern Zone,…. are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada”

      It’s good to now be getting a little more information on spreaders, such as age and gender.

      Almost all new cases are either “close contacts of previously announced cases” or “related to travel outside Atlantic Canada”. Is there information from contact tracing that elaborates or could elaborate in order to distinguish whether “close contacts” means within households, workplaces, contact before the spreader knew they were infectious, etc.? Similiarly, is there information about spreaders arriving from outside Atlantic Canada as to how they arrived and from where – another Canadian province or directly or indirectly from outside Canada? If they are arriving from outside Canada, directly or indirectly, is there information as to whether they fulfilled Canada’s testing and hotel stay requirements? If they arrived from another province, from which one? If they arrived by air, did they have a negative test result before boarding a plane or on arrival? If they were required to self isolate were they checked to ensure they had set up arrangements necessary to rigorously obey self isolation requirements? As our COVID numbers fall but cases of variants rise this kind of information becomes very important so NS can hone its response. We must increase NS’s ridiculously low public health budget to ensure that our public health champions have the resources they need to run the last lap and to end it as fast as is possible.