1. Jamie Baillie steps down

Jamie Baillie

Jamie Baillie is stepping down as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. According to a PC press release, “he will remain Leader of the Party until a replacement has been selected. He will continue to be the MLA for Cumberland South.”

Despite his other accomplishments, Baillie is a big fan of lunch.

2. The railroad to nowhere

“Back in May,” writes Mary Campbell for the Cape Breton Spectator:

I reported that the provincial government had contracted consultant Neil MacNeil to look into the situation of property owners along the disused Sydney Subdivision of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia (CBNS) short line, which is owned and operated by US-based Genesee & Wyoming (G&W).

Campbell goes on to relate what MacNeil’s report said — the gist of it is that the railroad charges a $300 crossing fee to adjacent property owners for each power wire that crosses the right-of-way, and that:

MacNeil offered a couple of possible solutions. In terms of installing new power lines, he said that “staff at Nova Scotia Power stressed their desire and willingness to assist in coming up with innovative solutions, highlighting that they would look at all options to reduce these costs in collaboration with the property owners.”

One option would be to “build a powerline across a railway once and then extending the line on the other side in order to serve multiple customers.”

Campbell filed a Freedom of Information request for the unedited report and for communications around the editing, and found that the supposedly independent consultant’s report had been edited by Nova Scotia Power and Genesee & Wyoming. The bureaucrats also had unkind things to say about “[redacted] from the Cape Breton Spectator.”

Click here to read “Province Let NSP, Genesee & Wyoming Edit Rail Fees Report.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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3. Investment company sues Aspotogan Ridge

Land Investment Group NV, a Belgium investment firm, is suing the three interconnected companies behind the Aspotogan Ridge development for a total of $7,788,580.96. That amount represents a $6 million loan extended on September 29, 2014, plus interest calculated at nine per cent annually, compounded monthly, plus taxes.

Aspotogan Ridge was to be a $100 million, 550-acre “lifestyle community” with a golf course and lots of houses evidently full of the same nice white couples with 2.0 kids and nice grassy lawns found on a Getty stock photo stock image labeled “Smiling family on front lawn of a house.” I don’t know… but if I were going to spend $100 million on a mega development project, I’d hire my own photographer to find a smiling family to plop on the lawn, but that’s probably just me. In any event, the development was going to be “a great place to live” — why, it says it right there on the photo, so it must be true.

Alas, last year Aspotogan president Barry Publicover complained to one of the unnamed but sympathetic scabs then producing the Chronicle Herald that “Nobody in Nova Scotia is buying lots or building houses, because they don’t want to pay 15 per cent (new home sales) tax opposed to zero tax on existing homes. Everybody’s renovating and builders like myself have absolutely no work.”

Which may be true. But business plan, know your market, blah blah blah.

As for the golf course, this summer Aspotogan announced that the front nine holes are going to open in the May 2018, while the back nine holes would open in time for the 2020 golf season. Given this week’s lawsuit, that seems, er, unlikely.

4. Athabaskan

HMCS Athabaskan. Photo: Halifax Examiner

DND this morning issued a tender for the disposal of the HMCS Athabaskan, the Iroquois-class destroyer commissioned in 1972.

5. Abandoned babies

In the wake of the discovery of an abandoned baby on Quinpool Road, CBC reporter Elizabeth McMillan has a thoughtful piece exploring the laws around child abandonment.

6. Radon detectors

“With support from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Health Canada, the Lung Association of Nova Scotia is making radon detectors available for loan through Nova Scotia public libraries,” the Lung Association announced in a press release yesterday:

The Radon Detector Library Loan pilot program will take a phased approach, with 20 radon detectors being made available to the nine library regions, starting November 1. Fifty devices are expected to be in circulation in Nova Scotia libraries by December.

7. The Sun Also Rises… Over There

Readers will remember my friend Selena Ross as the former Chronicle Herald reporter who broke the Rehtaeh Parsons story. Ross left Halifax for a job at the Globe & Mail, and is now a freelancer in Montreal, where she most recently put together a wonderful piece for the This American Life podcast, “The Sun Also Rises… Over There.”

Among the things we tend to take for granted: The sun comes up and goes down like clockwork. Except when it doesn’t.

In this piece, Ross explores a bizarre reality the Inuit people have been experiencing lately: the sun has been rising in a different place. This is everything science journalism should do — making complex issues understandable to everyday people — and everything podcasts should do.

8. White deer

Photo: Bruce Fitch

“A rare all-white deer was spotted in Memrancook, N.B., by Bruce Fitch, MLA for Riverview,” reports Alexander Quon for Global.

To open our annual November subscription drive, the Halifax Examiner is having a party.

It will be held Sunday, November 5, from 4-7pm at Bearly’s (1269 Barrington Street). We’ll have short readings from Halifax Examiner contributors Stephen Kimber, Linda Pannozzo, El Jones, and Evelyn White, special surprise musical guests, new Halifax Examiner swag for sale, and cake.

It’s a subscription drive party, so admission is for subscribers only, but you can buy a subscription at the door. There are no advance tickets, so plan to come early for a good seat.

And we’ll have swag! Iris says bring cash to buy swag.

Also, please do me the favour of dropping by the Examiner’s Facebook page to tell us you’re coming.




Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — the committee is being asked to reject a proposal for cigarette butt recycling and instead concentrate on education.

Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, Universalist Unitarian Church of Canada) — here’s the agenda.

Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — a Highfield Park development.


No public meetings.


No public meetings.

On campus



Building Arctic Leadership: Prosperous People and a Healthy Environment(Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Building) — Mary Simon, Special Arctic Representative to Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, will speak.

Zebrafish (Thursday, 9am, Cineplex OE Smith Theatre, Children’s Building, IWK) — Jason Berman will speak on “Something Fishy Going On: Using the Zebrafish to Model Childhood Cancers and Other Genetic Disorders.”

Information and Disinformation: Evaluating What We Know in a World of “Alternative Facts” (Thursday, 10am, Room B400, Killam Library) — Lindsay McNiff leads the “discussion-based interactive session,” whatever that means. Register here.

Mini Medical School (Thursday, 7pm, Theatre B, Tupper Medical Building) — Laine Green will speak on “When is it NOT a Migraine,” and at 8:15pm, Heather Rigby will speak on “Parkinson’s Disease.”

YouTube video

The Mirror (Thursday, 7pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1974 film.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall, New Academic Building, University of King’s College) — Bertha Fuchsman-Small from McGill University will speak on “Medical Humanitarian Activism and the Tension Between Principle and Pragmatism.”


Thesis Defence, Civil and Resource Engineering (Friday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Mahmudur Fatmi will defend his thesis, “Development of Integrated Urban System Models: Population Life-transitions, Household Location, and Vehicle Transaction Decisions.”

Woodwinds recital (Friday, 12pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Patricia Creighton, Brian James, Suzanne Lemieux, and Eileen Walsh will perform.

Michael Kennard. Photo:

Clown Masterclass (Friday, 1pm, Studio Two, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Michael Kennard from the University of Alberta, co-creator of the clown duo Mump & Smoot, will lead this class.

Chemistry Lecture (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Victor Nemykin, from the University of Manitoba, will speak on “Ferrocene-containing Porphyrins, Subphthalocyanines, BODIPYS, and Aza-BODIPYS for Molecular Electronics, Redox Activated Fluorescent Sensors, and Light-harvesting.”

Mary Beth Jennings. Photo:

Hearing Loss (Friday, 3:30pm, Room C170, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Mary Beth Jennings, from Western University, will speak on “What Women and Men Want You to Hear About Working with a Hearing Loss.”

Saint Mary’s


Disentangling Burma’s Rohingya Tragedy (Thursday, 7pm, in the theatre named after a bank) — Ingrid Jordt from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will speak.

In the harbour

7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 27 from Saint-Pierre
8:10am: Reykjafoss, general cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Reykjavik, Iceland
10:45am: YM Movement, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai
2:30pm: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
3pm: Reykjafoss, general cargo, sails from Pier 36 for sea
4pm: Pinara, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Mariel, Cuba


We’re recording Examineradio today.

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

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  1. I must have my grammar-geek brain on today.

    Andy Kibber beat me to it with Aspotogan Ridge’s “families”.

    Re: #7 “the Inuit people” is redundant as Inuit means people. I believe referring to them as “the Inuit” or just “Inuit” is preferred.

    And #8 seems like a set-up line. Was the deer all-white, or was it spotted?

  2. Excellent copy in the Aspotogan Ridge development promotion:

    “Housing Styles to meet your families [sic] needs”

  3. Next week sees the beginning of ‘What do you think of street checks ?” roadshow/consultation in 3 African Nova Scotian communities in HRM with the professor from U of T (He doesn’t like street checks, he’s big on corporate crime)
    Chief Blais has previously said he is ‘uncomfortable’ keeping records of street checks for longer than 2 years.
    Here is the official position from the NS Department of Justice, take note of 015.03 :
    Other policing standards are here :

  4. I am one who highly recommends filing follow-up access requests to see what they said about you after your first request. And often you get discussion of the spin and talking points they have come up with to answer media questions. Well worth it. Of course, it is all free here in NB.

    Apropos of nothing on today’s story list, but following up on yesterday, the nail-in-the-candy story continues to be news here in NB. Someone asked here yesterday who gives out full sized chocolate bars. I do, always have, so if I lived in Bathurst I’d be a suspect. On the other hand, it is rare enough that apparently the kids know me as “the guy who gives out big chocolate bars” (the adults know me as “that fat guy with the hat”) so I don’t buy the police argument that it would be too hard to find the house. Just ask the kids which house gives out full-sized chocolate bars and your list of suspects is considerably narrowed.

    1. Given that zero police resources are put into these “investigations,” it appears that they’re more concerned about keeping people in a state of panic than revealing that the incident is (undoubtedly) a hoax.