1. Chronicle Herald talks resume

“Unfair labour complaints have been withdrawn in the year-long strike at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, paving the way for the resumption of negotiations next week,” reports the Canadian Press:

In a news release Tuesday, the union for 55 striking newsroom workers at the paper said it withdrew an unfair labour complaint related to the year-long work stoppage.


“We withdrew the complaint to engender bargaining,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of Halifax Typographical Union local.


Ian Scott, the Herald’s chief operating officer, said the union had put forward new proposals to address remaining issues in the dispute. Scott said those points relate to workplace efficiencies and staff severance.

2. Commuter rail


“Work is well underway to try to make commuter rail service a reality for Halifax,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of Via Rail, told a Halifax Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday the Crown corporation and municipality have been working on the plan, which he called “a conversation,” for more than a year.


He told reporters Via and the municipality need to finalize an operating plan that looks at capacity, traffic schedules and pricing, then bring it to CN, the railway owner, for approval. Desjardins-Siciliano said the work is headed in the right direction and he expected the owner would be open to the idea as long as there are no conflicts.

“The freight industry is important in Canada — it’s $400 billion of goods that move by train in Canada, so we can’t do anything that will impede that competitiveness.”

3. Interchange

Google maps.

Reporting for Local Xpress, Francis Campbell has an interesting discussion of how the decision to build P3 schools in the 1990s is playing out now in terms of school reviews. I don’t have anything to say about that, but down in the article comes this:

A long-talked-about Highway 102 interchange for the Lantz area, between the Elmsdale and Milford exits, is set to become a reality, with local MLA Margaret Miller ready to make the announcement in the next couple of weeks.

Stephen King, an East Hants municipal councillor, said the interchange will bring a deluge of residential and commercial development and that it would be ill-advised to close any area schools.

Every time I see a new highway interchange built in a rural area, I think there are some behind-the-scenes real estate dealings in the works, and a developer must have special access to the political decision-makers. I mean, that’s how it’s worked for the last 60 years, right?

I wonder who’s profiting on this.

I was trying to find a film clip to illustrate this section — surely, there must be a movie about a smarmy real estate developer who murders and bribes his way through the statehouse to get a highway interchange built by his vast holdings, a sort of interstate version of Chinatown — but either my knowledge of pop culture is waning or there is no such film. I can’t believe it’s the latter…. readers?

4. Hennigar

Justice Patrick Murray has found Codey Hennigar not criminally responsibly for the deaths of three of his family members, reports the CBC:

The bodies of Clifford William “Bill” Ward, his wife Ida and their daughter Ann were found on Jan. 7, 2015, in the burned-out remains of the elder Wards’ home on the Old Guysborough Road in Wyses Corner, N.S.

Hennigar was subsequently charged with three counts of second-degree murder. But the prosecution and defence argued he was not criminally responsible due to his schizophrenia, and called expert evidence in December to try and convince Justice Patrick Murray.

On Tuesday, Murray agreed.


1. Low income transit passes

A thousand people will be able to qualify for half-price transit passes starting in July.

Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler reviews the proposal to make the low income transit pass pilot program permanent, discusses its strengths and weakness, and suggests how it can be improved.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

2. Six steps for making the Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Park a reality

A view of Susies Lake in the proposed wilderness park. Photo: Irwin Barrett

Chris Miller gives advice to City Hall.

3. Heart of stone

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald runs with a metaphor, connecting his backyard septic field to US presidential advisor Steve Bannon.

4. Two Countries

Richard Starr reviews Richard Saillant’s A Tale of Two Countries.

Starr and Saillant address the demographic and economic challenges of Atlantic Canada, without what Starr labels the “magical thinking” of the Ivany Report. I disagree with most of Saillant’s prescriptions, and some of Starr’s, but at least they are in the realm of the rational. In comparison, “clap louder” — the prevailing economic theory of Nova Scotia — is utter nonsense.

Still, stepping back, I have two thoughts. First, are the forecasted demographic and economic trends inevitable? I mean, anything at all could happen to upend history, economic trends, and actuarial tables: there could be an American civil war, wide epidemics, robots displacing all work, or more positively, a massive change in immigration patterns or the invention of affordable nuclear fusion. Nothing is set in stone.

Second, even if the demographic trends continue, are they really that bad? Sooner or later — very soon, by my reckoning — we’re going to have to build an economy that doesn’t rely on perpetual population growth, and probably not even on GDP growth. Moreover, let’s be honest: the reason the business class doesn’t like the demographic changes is they don’t want to pay higher wages. There’s an equilibrium about these things: if there aren’t enough young people to clean the bedpans in the nursing homes, either nursing homes will move elsewhere or nursing home owners will have to pay decent wages to bedpan cleaners. As we’ve seen for some time, labour is mobile — our young people are already leaving for Toronto for jobs. If we want to reverse that trend, maybe we should pay them more to work here in Nova Scotia.



City council (9:30am, City Hall) — budget deliberations continue, today with the Office of the Auditor General, the Library, Parks and Recreation, the CAO’s office, the lawyers, HR, and Finance and geeks.

North West Planning Advisory Committee (7pm, the four-pad arena named for a fucking bank, Bedford) — not much on the agenda.


Public Accounts (9am, Province House) — Deputy Minister Kelliann Dean will be asked about sustainable transportation programs. Everyone who attends will drive a car to the meeting.

On campus


Viral Control (4pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — Jennifer Corcoran will speak on“Viral Control of Autophagy Reprograms Processing Body Dynamics.”

YouTube video

Fear and Desire (8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1953 film.

Sez IMdB:

A ficticious war in an unidentified country provides the setting for this drama. Four soldiers survive the crash-landing of their plane to find themselves in a forest six miles behind enemy lines. The group, led by Lt. Corby, has a plan: They’ll make their way to a nearby river, build a raft, and then, under cover of night, float back to friendly territory. Their plans for getting back safely are sidetracked by a young woman who stumbles across them as they hide in the woods, and by the nearby presence of an enemy general who one member of the group is determined to kill.

Saint Mary’s

Gender and Intersectionality (1pm, Library LI135) Albert Mills will talk about his latest book, Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures.

In the Harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9am Wednesday. Map:

3:30am: CMA CGM Melisande, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
5am: Dalian Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6:30am: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
5pm: Clipper Marlene, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Baie Comeau, Quebec


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. There’s lots of urban history on the influence of interurbans and ‘streetcar suburbs’. Even a book about Boston so-called but there are many examples of pre 1914 rails to nowhere which were predicated on the rising land values associated with rail nodes beyond the city proper.

    iain T.

  2. Saillaint’s thesis–that Atlantic Canada faces fundamentally different challenges than the ROC–is nonsense, mostly unsupported, but it DOES match up nicely with people’s assumptions about this region. Which means it will go unquestioned.

    Canada is basically a continuum of older to younger, spanning east to west, and the gulf between the relatively old and the relatively young is not especially large. (Nova Scotia’s median age is 43.7 and growing, Ontario’s is 40.4, and also growing. This is not a “tale of two countries”, but a tale of the same challenge, presented with differing degrees of severity across the county.)

    The Ivany report says permanent have-not status is not inevitable; that there are assets and opportunities that can alter the province’s economic outlook, among them greater urbanization and increased immigration, both of which are happening. The fact that Saillant, and Starr in his review, describe such measured optimism as “magical thinking” is a great example of baseless miserablism: this indulgent, navel-gazing, weirdly egotistical insistence upon being the most hard done by region, the poorest, even in the face of evidence that shows it’s not really as bad as all that, relative to the rest of Canada anyway.

    The fixation on “away” as a salve for young people’s prospects is the real magical thinking. Take Toronto: A city with significantly higher unemployment and lower household incomes than Halifax, fewer full-time jobs relative to part-time, worse labour-market performance for new immigrants, great income disparity and inequality, and almost exactly the same youth unemployment rate. Toronto is a great place, but it’s not some land of boundless opportunity, nor is Halifax some desultory backwater, though we love that false dynamic.

    Culturally ingrained pessimism is so deep-set here that you can’t use facts to argue these point. Everyone has a friend of a friend or a brother or a cousin who moved somewhere else and landed a great job, or doubled their income, and these anecdotal successes ring larger in our minds than any number of stats or facts. And pessimism is such a permanent fixture of the culture that simply to say, as the Ivany report does, that we are not necessarily doomed to spiraling poverty and decay is deemed “magical thinking”. Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies.

  3. In “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”—which is quite possibly the funniest movie of all time, as voted by me—Judge Doom has a secret plot to destroy Toontown so he can build a freeway.

    But seriously…that whole interchange story really caught my eye. Government MLA in a marginal seat, with a couple of schools up for review and a few months before an election, is about to announce a highway interchange, which might lead to residential development in 5-10 years, which might provide new population to save the schools. Schools are saved (or at least the review will be inconclusive at least until after the election)! Hooray for the MLA!