1. Big Halifax convention cancelled

Construction continues on the Grafton Street Glory Hole. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Another black eye for Halifax:

ISPE’s 33rd International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology & Therapeutic Risk Management (ICPE) will NOT be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Bethesda, MD USA – December 7, 2017 — The International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) was notified that the Halifax Convention Centre that was scheduled to open in January 2017 will not be open in time for the 33rd ICPE on August 23-27, 2017. There is no suitable alternative in Halifax with enough space to host the conference.

ISPE staff are currently investigating alternative destinations to host the conference. As soon as a destination and dates are chosen the information will be updated on the ISPE website ( The meeting will remain in North America in the second half of August. We do not anticipate that these changes will disrupt the abstract submission process which will open before the end of the year.

IPSE didn’t return my phone call yesterday, but the folks at Trade Centre Limited tell us that big conventions take five years and more to plan, so I imagine things right now are pretty chaotic at the ISPE, and there are thousands of people complaining how Halifax can’t get its act together. I’m told people in event planning circles are likewise dissing Halifax.

Undoubtedly the local organizers, who are presumably from Dal’s Pharmacoepidemiology program, are also suffering a reputational loss.

I suppose that you could argue that the size of the cancelled convention “proves” the necessity of a larger convention centre, but so far as I’m aware, this is the only one of dozens of booked conventions that couldn’t be accommodated in the old convention centre. And really, what good does it do to book gigantic conventions if you can’t finish the building for them?

For anyone who’s counting, the current announced opening date of the convention centre is now two years behind schedule. But I’m placing four chips on the “further delays coming” square.

2. Trucks

“Halifax has stalled its consideration of options to reduce truck traffic in downtown,” reports Pam Berman for the CBC:

Phillip Davies, a transportation consultant from Vancouver, has pitched moving freight by ferry and rail to cut congestion, but his ideas will have to wait until the Halifax Port Authority completes its new master plan.

The municipality hired Davies to study trucking options before knowing the port authority was considering relocating one of its two container terminals to the Dartmouth side of the harbour.


“It’s hard for us to make recommendations about what we need to do when we don’t even really know where the port is going to be,” said David McCusker, municipal transportation planner.

3. Conquered

“The Nova Scotia government says the lawyer who delivered the ‘unconquered people’ brief in a prominent Mi’kmaq case has been taken off the file,” reports Jon Tattrie for the CBC. “But the brief itself remains part of the government’s defence.”

Last month, Department of Justice lawyer Alex Cameron presented the government’s case for Alton Gas’s plans to store natural gas in salt caverns near the Shubenacadie River. The Indian Brook band appealed the natural gas storage project last month, saying the province had a duty to consult.

Cameron argued the government’s obligation to consult with First Nations peoples in such cases only extended to “unconquered people” and that a band’s submission to the Crown in 1760 negated its claim of sovereignty and negated government’s constitutional duty to consult.

4. The hilarity continues

The Chronicle Herald yesterday managed both to (again) misspell the name of the paper and to place Antigonish on Cape Breton Island.


1. Viola Desmond, Carrie Best, and serving face

Evelyn C. White tells how Black journalist Carrie Best used her newspaper, The Clarion, to champion the cause of Viola Desmond.


Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald visits the Minas Basin, where he explores the conflict between the newly installed tidal generator and Darren Porter’s fish weir. He notes:

We saw a large sturgeon carried to the holding pond and understood that the catch and release of sturgeon happens almost daily.

In the distance you can almost see the turbine site. The optics are fascinating.


Darren Porter has the cleanest fishery imaginable and the scientists who advise FORCE are wise and experienced. I hope it works out well for all of us.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To The Coast:

How could you, as a paper for the people, ever put out a poll asking “Besides a dumb tree, what else should Nova Scotia send to Boston every November?” (Survey Says, November 24). Let alone include options like a box of Pot of Gold chocolate, or a statue of “Ben Affleck shaved out of donair meat.” Ask anyone still alive the gratitude that they had for Boston during Nova Scotia’s greatest time of need. You, sir, are a pig. I would send every tree to Boston if asked.

Phil Hall, Dartmouth


No public meetings.

On campus

Nothing much going on.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9:30am Friday. Map:

6am: ZIM Constanza, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
1pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
1:30pm: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Dock from Saint John
4:30pm: ZIM Constanza, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
9:30pm: NYK Rigel, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York


Gift subscriptions to the Halifax Examiner are now available, and anyone who buys a $100 gift subscription will receive a free T-shirt — give it as a stocking stuffer or be the stylish one yourself.

Or don’t! Steven Baur writes:

Proud long-time subscriber here. I don’t have an Examiner T-shirt, but I made my own nifty Examiner sweater. I thought I’d send the pic along.

Ahem. I guess you can make your own sweater or T-shirt… but if you want the real deal, contact admin person extraordinaire Iris at iris “at”

(Send me a photo of yourself in an Examiner shirt and I’ll publish it.)

Unfortunately, it’s ridiculously expensive to mail T-shirts, so it’s not possible to sell them at a reasonable price without an accompanying subscription purchase.  (I don’t understand why Canada Post makes this so difficult — it costs less to mail a shirt from Halifax to Arkansas than to mail a shirt from Halifax to Dartmouth — but that’s a question for another day.) However, I’ll soon haul the shirts out to some bar and folks will be able to stop by and buy them in person.

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

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  1. It amazes me to no end how the city folk of Nova Scotia can be so entranced with the goings on of a small community when the situation suits them. Yet ignore the ongoing poisoning of its same population for about 50 years hahaha

  2. Ha, welcome to my world. Yep, The exact same size box costs less to ship from Lunenburg to Nevada than from Lunenburg to Halifax. I’ve been bitching about it for years.

    1. It makes no sense to me. Surely Canada Post covers the cost of transporting the package to the US border? Or at least the airport, which is still farther than Dartmouth.

  3. I’m wondering if they know that the “tree for Boston” thing is a relatively new enterprise, and has a lot more to do with sending a delegation to promote tourism in NS than actually thanking Bostonians for their help during the explosion.

    I don’t think it’s at all contradictory to be grateful for any assistance from that part of the world a hundred years ago, and at the same time present a somewhat jaded view of disguising a promotional exercise as gratitude.


    Within recent article the Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia did make some good points regarding turbines but have strayed off into murky waters with a statement that “a reduced risk of injury should a fish or mammal attempt to swim through the blade area”
    “risk is further reduced by the fact that fish and mammals generally avoid these generators while in motion”

    Well they might have consulted Professor Graham Daborn who recently opined “not a single marine mammal or fish has been struck by any operating turbine” . Acadia Professor Daborn also shrugged off a suggestion from the Bay of Fundy fishermen’s lawyer his opinion is tainted because he had helped draft the monitoring program associated with the turbines.

    I didn’t know we had Mensa marine life in the oceans. I’m not convinced. Mind you according to some (CENS & Prof. Daborn) marine life is familiar with turbines but somehow continually run into ships, ashore and the odd net or trap.

    The Consulting Engineers of NS and Professor Daborn are now joined by World Wildlife Fund findings as covered in their October research findings. A sobering report by the WWF established a drop of almost 60% in wildlife in the world. The period covered was 1970-2012. The WWF also established that marine life dropped 36%.

    That leaves 64%, give or take a few cod, to finish off what we have left.

    To quote the Consulting Engineers and Professor Daborn respectively regarding the turbines have stated “now’s the time” “to get them in the water”.

    Now we have in place turbines in an area as sensitive as the Bay of Fundy which is short sighted considering what we stand to lose. The companies involved are forecasting millions of dollars in return at the expense of everyone else. The Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia and professor Daborn opinions appeared to have been accepted without thought or consideration from those that should be really listened to.

    Fishers and a lot of common sense from non investing individuals.

  5. Suggestion: Next time you produce a bunch of t-shirts, use Steve Bauer’s idea and use the same image, Scotch tape and all. Funny!

  6. Yikes, the poll was insensitive. You would have to be a Maritimer to accept just how close the Boston-states are to the hearts of Maritimers. My grandmother survived the explosion, then spent a lifetime extolling the kindness of New Englanders. Small price indeed, the tourism bang is a recent bonus.

    1. We should all remember that a great number of maritimers lived in Boston and Massachusetts at the time of the Halifax explosion and their support for Halifax represented support of relatives and friends.

  7. The only thing more glaring than the lack of progress on the Convention Centre is the lack of comment on the matter by the Province and HRM.

    Don’t the taxpayers footing the bill deserve an update from the people who are spending our money on this fiasco?

  8. Herlad is pretty funy stuff lately.

    Couldn’t help but notice that CH is the publisher for the Occasions mag at the NSLC. Begs a number of questions and comments, but having worked in the NS pulp/paper industry for too long, I’d like to know where that glossy mag paper comes from.

  9. Have you considered hiring a local bike courier to deliver shirts within Halifax/Dartmouth? I imagine the rates would be fairly reasonable, especially if you stockpiled the orders a bit.