1. Stephen McNeil to John Perkins: file a complaint

Justice Minister Mark Furey. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

“If you aren’t keen on police roughing you up and cuffing you at a pubic meeting, or corporations dialing up the Mounties to act as bouncers, then go file a complaint with one of two watchdogs that investigate actions by RCMP officers,” reports Jennifer Henderson. “That’s the identical response which Premier Stephen McNeil, Justice Minister Mark Furey, and Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette were offering John Perkins yesterday.”

Click here to read “McNeil government: if John Perkins doesn’t like being wrestled to the floor at a public meeting, he can file a complaint.”

Besides everything else, I was taken with Justice Minister Mark Furey’s claim that he hasn’t seen the video of John Perkins being arrested. I mean, I would hope that he’d take a coffee break and read Morning File each day, but how is it possible that Furey’s staff hasn’t alerted him to a high-profile arrest involving the police force he oversees? As of this morning, the video has been watched 14,710 times; the international mining business press has reported on it, and we’ve gotten comments about it from as far afield as Australia. We pay those government communication experts a lot of money — the head communications contact at Justice was paid $89,633 last year — so would it be too much to expect one of them to knock on Furey’s door and say, “boss, you ought to have a look at this”?

Maybe they were too busy scripting PR events.

2. Stephen McNeil held a scripted PR event and the compliant media played along

Premier Stephen McNeil sits with a representative of an authoritarian regime that operates concentration camps for people peacefully practicing their religion. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Tuesday, Communications Nova Scotia, the PR wing of the provincial government, sent the following email to news media:

Premier Stephen McNeil is meeting with China’s Ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, on Wednesday, May 29. Media are invited to take photos of the premier with the ambassador between 8:30 a.m. and 8:40 a.m.  

The photo opportunity will be held at One Government Place, 1700 Granville St., Halifax. Media will be escorted to the 7th floor.

Media planning to attend should submit the names of the reporters, photographers and camera operators attending by 4:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 28. Names should be emailed to Khalehla Perrault at Only media who have submitted their names will be allowed in.

No reason was given for the pre-screening of reporters, but it was clear from the email that this was a photo-op, and not a press conference.

Reporting on government requires actually asking questions, but reporters were told that no questions would be allowed.

The role of the free and independent media is to be a watchdog of government, to ask challenging questions, to give readers context — not to act as stenographers for government. The proper response when told that no questions would be allowed from reporters is for editors to direct the government to the advertising department: If you don’t want to be challenged, buy a fucking ad.

And yet, local media fell in line, presubmitted their reporters’ names for government approval, and then dutifully went to the event and took photos without asking questions. There’s no surprise that the resulting articles read like government propaganda, because that’s essentially what they were.

“Days after saying the Canada-China relationship was at a ‘freezing point,’ China’s ambassador to Canada called Nova Scotia’s premier a friend and thanked him for continuing to work with Chinese officials,” wrote Taryn Grant for Star Halifax, who undoubtedly gets paid a hell of a lot less than the $89,633 the government PR person pulls in, but is doing the government’s PR bidding all the same.

“Just days after saying Canada’s ties with China have hit ‘rock bottom,’ China’s ambassador is praising Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil as ‘a great friend,’” wrote Keith Doucette for the Canadian Press:

“I come to Halifax, Nova Scotia to meet again with my great friend Premier McNeil to host together the second working dialogue between the Chinese embassy and the provincial government of Nova Scotia,” [Lu Shaye] said. “I’m sure that the dialogue today will also be fruitful.”

This is sickening sycophantic shit.

FFS, China is operating concentration camps, rounding up a million or so Muslims and forcibly detaining them for “reeducation.” And yet neither reporter mentioned human rights at all, although each mentioned the Huawei dispute and the subsequent arrest of Canadians.

As I tweeted yesterday, we reporters are under no obligation to rerun government press releases or cover their photo ops. And if we do show up, we’re not bound by government’s dictate to not ask questions. The choice was to write either A) “no questions were allowed” or B) “asked why he’s cozying up to a government operating concentration camps holding a million Muslims, the premier refused to answer.” B is better.

3. Male sexual assault victims

“Amidst a funding and staffing crisis at the only sexual assault centre for women in Halifax, a social worker is calling for more help for male sexual assault victims,” reports Sherri Borden Colley for the CBC:

Robert Wright, who works in private practice, runs a confidential support group for men who have been sexually abused. The group meets twice monthly.

In the last fiscal year, ManTalk and New Start — another group that provides counselling to men who have experienced sexual assault — received $26,000 each from the province’s sexual violence strategy.

Wright said the funding for those two groups is a fraction of what the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre receives from the provincial government. Avalon provides a wide range of services to women and is the only sexual assault centre in the Halifax area.

Wright said conservative statistics say that one in three women and about one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

“That means that the incidence of sexual abuse of men and boys … it’s not a small number, it’s about half as many as women,” Wright said.

“And yet despite that high level of incidence, other than the services I’ve mentioned, there really has not been any focused service delivery for male-identified victims.”

Wright stressed he’s not advocating that Avalon get less money.

4. The Icarus Report

The Transportation Safety Board yesterday updated its accounts of two incidents involving helicopters flying out of Halifax; both helicopters were operated by Canadian Helicopter Limited.

The first incident occurred on July 30 of last year:

UPDATE: A VFR Canadian Helicopter Limited Sirorsky S-92A (CDN2) on a flight departing Halifax, NS (CYHZ) and landing at Halifax, NS (CYHZ) responded to a MAYDAY call on marine FM Channel 16 in the Lawrencetown, NS area at 2248Z. MAYDAY resolved at 2254Z and CDN2 proceeding back to CYHZ VFR.

The second incident occurred on January 3 of this year:

UPDATE: A Canadian Helicopters Limited Sikorsky S-92A (C-GNZH/CDN1) from Halifax/Stanfield, NS (CYHZ) reported a couple of anomalies while en route to an Oil Rig and returned to CYHZ. No emergency was declared and there was no impact to operations. The aircraft landed safely at 1255Z.

No one was injured in either incident, but “a couple of anomalies” sound ominous.


1. Herms

Stephen Archibald went to Athens, and among many other observations had this one:

A new name I learned was herm. It is “a sculpture with a head, and perhaps a torso, above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height” (Wikipedia). This is an enduring sculptural style for representing dead white men but I’d never seen them with the manly bits. That’s a tradition we could re-introduce.

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Imagine the herms in the atrium of Founders Square on Hollis Street with some extra parts added. That would make you stop and consider the legacy of Joe Howe. 

Photo: Stephen Archibald


No public meetings.

On campus


Spring Convocation, morning ceremony (Friday, 9am, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) — for graduates in the Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies.

Remote Viewing Event – Open Government Partnership Summit, Ottawa (Friday, 10am, Room 218, MacRae Library, Truro campus) — remote participation in the plenary session on “Impact.”

Local Research, Global Impact (Friday, 12pm, Theatre B, Tupper Building) — four mini-lectures exploring how Dal researchers “are developing cancer-killing viruses and tumour-shrinking glass; how we are just one step closer to unlocking the key to curing Alzheimer’s disease; and how a newfangled program is empowering children and youth as change agents for the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families and communities.”

Opening Doors (Friday, 12:30pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — a discussion on immigration’s challenges, opportunities, and impact on our province.

Spring Convocation, early afternoon ceremony (Friday, 12:30pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) — for graduates in the Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies.

Spring Convocation, late afternoon ceremony (Friday, 4pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) — for graduates in the Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies.

Saint Mary’s

Entrepreneurship and the Ecosystem (Friday, 11:30am, Volta, Unit 100, 1505 Barrington Street) — we’re all going to be rich, just so long as none of those tech bros are unionized.

In the harbour

06:00: ZIM Qingdao, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
08:00: YM Modesty, container ship arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
16:30: ZIM Qingdao sails for New York
23:00: YM Modesty sails for New York

04:00: APL Miami, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Colombo, Sir Lanka
06:00: Em Kea, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Montreal

08:00: Saga Sapphire, cruise ship with up to 748 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Corner Brook, on a 16-day cruise from Montreal to Dover, England. Next stop is Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores.


Maybe I’ll get some real work done today.

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  1. First off the person from the corporation who called security in the first place should lose their job. I would think some deer in the headlights PR person who has no idea what a real public meeting is rather than just a PR stunt.

    Second the security office should be fired.

    Third the protocol for RCMP engagement should be addressed and the specific officer involved educated that a corporate security person and a PR person’s word should not be deemed the only voice in such matters.

    The police serve the public, not private interests. Ah who am I kidding, this kinda thing has been going on since the Winnipeg General Strike almost exactly 100 years ago.

  2. As for Tim Bousquet seeming not to like the photo op setup where media cannot ask questions (i.e., do their job), I imagine the advice from govt would be as useless as that given to John Perkins, “he could file a complaint.”

  3. It’s shameful to see our premiere whoring for China.

    What he really needs to be doing is toughening up rules on foreign ownership – including a surcharge tax – and making sure ALL Chinese businesses in the province follow strict rules to protect OUR environment and preserve it’s riches in clean water, forestry, minerals, general land use, and social media controls such as spying on citizens and collecting data.

    We have what they want. They are desperate for these things as they have trashed their own country. We need to demand ALL of our government officials protect Nova Scotia !
    NOW, not in some unstated future.

    1. can a province make it’s own rules of engagement with a foreign trading partner? Didn’t Harper already give China a gold key to all of Canada in FIPA in 2014?

  4. The “responded to a MAYDAY call” I would read as the helicopter either heard a MAYDAY from the water, relaying that to someone else (JRCC?), or was ordered (by JRCC?) to orbit around for 6 minutes.

    Arguably, an anti-incident.

  5. Over the next couple of decades, we’re going to find out just how expensive all that plastic crap from China really was. Without the greed of Western corporations wanting cheap labour, China would have not been able to obtain anywhere near as much technology or Western currency as it has today and would not be the future world superpower.

  6. Thanks so much for regularly posting Stephen Archibald’s fascinating and whimsical blog. It’s always the best part of my day.

  7. EXCELLENT reporting on the Premier’s “propaganda” event with the communist government official. That might sound harsh but in reality – that’s exactly what that “event” was. If one looks up the definition of propaganda (especially the part about “used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view) any reasonable person will see this “event” was nothing short of this.

    When I look at how our elected officials are conducting themselves – and the business of our province – I don’t care what colour tie they wear. In the past, at one time or another I’ve voted for all of “the big 3” parties based on their policies and my assessment of their ability to deliver what they are proposing. The folks wearing the red ties right now are NOT doing well be it the crisis in healthcare (which they refuse to even acknowledge), the lack of inaction on important matters (such as the Atlantic Gold debacle), or holding propaganda events which they shallowly attempt to disguise as “press conferences”.

    The guy who leads the red ties needs to get his sh*t together. We, as Nova Scotian’s, need to ensure that happens and we can’t simply wait until the next provincial election to do so. The people who elected these people need to send a common and clear message that we need action on SEVERAL open files NOW.