1. Shambhala

The Shambhala community is embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal, but no one seems to want to talk about it.

On Tuesday, I asked Erica Butler to link to the Project Sunshine report, “a 3-month Initiative To Bring Healing Light To Sexualized Violence At The Core Of The Shambhala Buddhist Community,” hoping that it would generate some conversation. Later that day, someone using an anonymous email sent me some screen grabs from a private Shambhala Facebook page in which a woman claiming abuse details her allegations (I cannot verify that the page actually exists and have been unable to reach the woman), and I’ve gotten a couple of emails saying the allegations of sexual abuse are all bullshit, but otherwise, there’s been little response, although social media is beginning to pick up the story.

Halifax’s Buddhist community arrived in 1986, and by all reports the newcomers added a needed fresh perspective and energy to the then-staid town. They opened coffeeshops and bookstores and became involved politically. I know Buddhists, and like them. We often align politically.

And the Buddhists have an elevated social status, reflecting (perhaps) the middle- and upper-class origins of the first adherents who formed around the original Shambhala community. People like them. They’re now entwined with the larger community.

But none of that means we should ignore the sexual abuse allegations. If the #metoo movement has taught us anything, it’s that sexual abuse and the misuse of power can infuse any community or organization, and especially those that have an elevated social status.

Religions are particularly prone to sexual abuse, as adherents look up to priests, preachers, and other leaders. In the case of the Buddhists, if I understand it correctly, they’re taught to unquestioningly obey the leaders.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

And the Shambhala religion has a checkered past. As Katy Butler wrote as long ago as 1990:

Trungpa Rinpoche, the 11th incarnation of the Trungpa Tulku, was the teenage head of several large Tibetan monasteries when the 1959 Chinese invasion tore him from his native culture. Eager to meet the West on its own terms, he gave up his robes for a business suit, fell in love with Shakespeare and Mozart, and married an English woman. He sometimes lectured with a glass of sake in his hand.

Trungpa Rinpoche taught that every aspect of human existence — neurosis, passion, desire, alcohol, the dark and the light — was to be embraced and transmuted. He called his wild approach “crazy wisdom,” referring to a small but genuine tradition of revered, eccentric Tibetan yogis — most of whom worked intimately with one or two students.

Many Buddhist teachers — even those uneasy with his behavior — admired Trungpa Rinpoche for his brilliant translation of Buddhism into Western terms. Wary of importing Tibetan cultural forms, he first taught his American students a simple, Zen-based sitting meditation. He then gradually introduced the elaborate Tantric disciplines that distinguish Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism from almost all other Buddhist schools. Students completed foundational practices, including 100,000 prostrations, and attended a three-month seminary in the mountains. Advanced students were ceremonially initiated into confidential Tibetan practices of meditative visualization. Teacher and student entered into a relationship traditionally more devotional than anything in other Buddhist schools.

Trungpa attracted thousands of well-educated people who soon created the largest, most creative and least conventional of America’s non-Asian Buddhist communities. He counted among his students poets Alan Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, playwright Jean-Claude van Italie, Shambhala Publications publisher Sam Bercholz, and Rick Fields, author of a respected history of American Buddhism. Based primarily in Boulder, students ran businesses, founded Naropa Institute, an accredited Buddhist university, edited a journal on contemplative psychotherapy, and published a widely-read bimonthly Buddhist newspaper, the Vajradhatu Sun.

Yet woven into the discipline and creativity was a strand of hedonism. Vajradhatu students had a reputation for the wildest parties in Buddhist America. Although most Tibetan Tantric schools clearly discourage “acting out” passions and impulses, Trungpa Rinpoche did not. In fact, drunk and speeding, he once crashed a sports car into the side of a joke shop and was left partly paralyzed. He openly slept with students. In Boulder, he lectured brilliantly, yet sometimes so drunk that he had to be carried off stage or held upright in his chair.

To student Jules Levinson, a Tibetan scholar and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Virginia, the stories “were very upsetting — that he drank a lot, that he slept around.” Yet at the same time, Levinson was grateful to Trungpa. “I found him gentle, delicate, provocative and nurturing–the most compassionate person I have ever known. I just couldn’t put it together,” he said.

Some students, replaying dynamics from their alcoholic families, responded to Trungpa Rinpoche by denying and enabling his addictive drinking and sexual activity. “I served Rinpoche big glasses of gin first thing in the morning, if you want to talk about enabling,” said one woman, who had watched her own father die of alcoholism.

Others resolved their cognitive dissonance by believing that their teacher had transcended the limitations of a human body. “Trungpa Rinpoche said that because he had Vajra nature [a yogically transformed and stabilized psychophysiology], he was immune to the normal physiological effects of alcohol,” said one student. “We bought the story that it was a way of putting ‘earth’ into his system, so that he could … relate to us. It never occurred to anyone I knew that he was possibly an alcoholic, since that was a disease that could only happen to an ordinary mortal. And many of us were ignorant — we thought of an alcoholic only as the classic bum in the street.”

An atmosphere of denial permeated the community in the 1970s and early 1980s, and other Vajradhatu students became heavy drinkers. “I found myself a nice little nest where I could keep on drinking,” said one long-time Vajradhatu Buddhist, who was among a handful of Vajradhatu members who joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the early 1980s. Their recovery seemed to threaten others. The first woman to get sober was asked to quit the board of a home care organization founded by Vajradhatu members. “I felt such contempt for someone who had to quit drinking and I treated her like a mental case.” said the woman who got rid of her — a woman who has since joined AA herself.

When Trungpa Rinpoche lay dying in 1986 at the age of 47, only an inner circle knew the symptoms of his final illness. Few could bear to acknowledge that their beloved and brilliant teacher was dying of terminal alcoholism, even when he lay incontinent in his bedroom, belly distended and skin discolored, hallucinating and suffering from varicose veins, gastritis and esophageal varices, a swelling of veins in the esophagus caused almost exclusively by cirrhosis of the liver.

“Rinpoche was certainly not an ordinary Joe, but he sure died like every alcoholic I’ve ever seen who drank uninterruptedly.” said Victoria Fitch, a member of his household staff with years of experience as a nursing attendant. “The denial was bone-deep.” she continued. “I watched his alcoholic dementia explained as his being in the realm of the daikinis (guardians of the teachings, visualized in female form). When he requested alcohol, no one could bring themselves not to bring it to him, although they tried to water his beer or bring him a little less. In that final time of his life… he could no longer walk independently. At the same time, there was a power about him and an equanimity to his presence that was phenomenal, that I don’t know how to explain.”

Looking back at many of the allegations against Trungpa, it’s hard not to see them as abuses of power that fit into today’s #metoo narrative. For example, Levi Asher wrote about a party attended by the poet W. S. Merwin and Merwin’s girlfriend, Dana Naone:

The Naropa [Boulder] group threw a wild Halloween party, and Trungpa presented a twist: the poets, trainees and other attendants would celebrate Halloween not by putting on costumes but by being stripped of them. The guru, apparently drunk on some sort of spiritual libation that probably did not come from Tibet, walked around the party floor pointing at partygoers, and when he pointed at somebody his assistants would pounce on that person and strip off their clothing. “Chop them up,” he would say.

However, Merwin and Naone, having scoped out the scene, made the strategic decision to hide in their room. Trungpa noticed this and sent for them, but they refused to join. Trungpa then sent a larger contingent to retrieve them, this time with the message that they were ordered to join the party. Merwin and Naone, again, refused. At this point Trungpa declared to his faithful attendants that they must use whatever force was necessary to retrieve the wayward guests.

It may be difficult to picture a mob of half-naked, half-costumed hippie Buddhist poets forcing their way into another poet’s private room by breaking windows and smashing down doors, but I urge you to picture this, because sources state this is exactly what happened. Apparently Merwin tried to pull a Clint Eastwood move by breaking a bottle and using the jagged remains as a weapon, and all accounts state that several of the scufflers ended up with bloody limbs (though, thankfully, there were no life-threatening injuries).

Finally, Merwin and Naone were dragged screaming and crying into the party, where Trungpa yelled at them, strangely singling out Naone, a Hawaiian, for failing to respect her Asian heritage by following his direction. At his command, the mob descended upon Merwin and Naone and removed their clothing, leaving them naked and sobbing in each other’s arms in the middle of the room.

Trungpa moved to Halifax in 1986; he was dead within a year. Butler details how his replacement back in Boulder, Tendzin, convinced (perhaps “ordered” would be the better word) followers to have unprotected sex with him. This was in the midst of the AIDS scare; Tendzin had AIDS, and died of the disease; wrote Butler:

Less than two years later, in December 1988, the most harmful crisis ever to strike an American Buddhist community unfolded when Vajradhatu administrators told their members that the Regent [Tendzin] had been infected with the AIDS virus for nearly three years. Members of the Vajradhatu board of directors conceded that, except for some months of celibacy, he had neither protected his many sexual partners nor told them the truth. One of the Regent’s sexual partners, the son of long-term students, was infected, as was a young woman who had later made love to the young man.

Two members of the Vajradhatu board of directors had known of his infection for more than two years, and chose to do nothing. Trungpa Rinpoche had also known about it before his death. Board members had reluctantly informed the sangha (community) only after trying for three months to persuade the Regent to act on his own.

Sakyong Mipham

Here in Halifax, after a bit of a power struggle, Trungpa’s son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, took control of the Shambhala community. As I understand it, Sakyong Mipham directed his followers to reject Trungpa’s western ways and to return to the  Tibetan roots of the religion. This caused a schism in the local community, which I wrote about in 2009. I don’t pretend to understand the theological issues, but in essence, the old hippies who came here with Trungpa in 1986 weren’t having any of the new changes.

If we’re to believe the allegations laid out in the Sunshine Report, however, one thing that didn’t change was the sexual proclivities of the leader.

One woman reported:

From early on, I watched myself and others (both men and women) strive to secure a place near SMR. One way this dynamic evolved took place around the “parties” that occurred wherever SMR was staying. Sometimes there would be only one party, other times more. These parties formed a secret world behind the regular programs and events of SMR’s visits to different centers. They lingered in the shadows, tantalizing us with their promises of unusual and intimate experiences with the otherwise distant-seeming guru. To be invited to such a party signaled a kind of acceptance to the inner mandala, the secret mandala. When I first began to be invited to these parties, I was elated. I felt as though my devotion was being recognized and acknowledged and that I now genuinely “belonged.”

The parties all followed a similar pattern. They began with socializing and drinking, music and banter. At some point food was served and the drinking continued. Most of us became highly intoxicated, but few so much as SMR himself. The more intoxicated he became, the more he demonstrated various kinds of outrageous activities – spontaneous poetry competitions, long monologues, harangues of some people who had displeased him. Alongside these (mostly) harmless demonstrations, SMR also pursued another activity. He went after whichever woman took his fancy.

For me, this manifested in an experience that occurred repeatedly over years. When he was completely intoxicated, SMR would pull me into a dark corner. He kissed me and groped me while aggressively encouraging me to come to bed with him. Most of the time, another woman who had been invited to the party was already present. For me to comply with SMR’s wishes, I would have had to displace this other woman. Knowing how painful this would be for her, I couldn’t do it. Year after year, I resisted. There was only one night that I slept in SMR’s bed. There had been no girlfriend present that night. He was so drunk that I spent much of the night holding a bowl for him to vomit into. I snuck out of the room before dawn feeling bewildered and ashamed. Several days later, when he had recovered from the alcohol and I saw him, there was no mention of what had happened. Indeed, there was never any mention of these encounters.

Wrote a second woman:

Over many years I had several sexual encounters with the Sakyong that left me feeling ashamed, demoralized and worthless. Like many young women in the sangha, I was deeply devoted to the Sakyong and did whatever I could to serve him and be close to him. I witnessed the steady stream of attractive women that were invited into his quarters and I longed to be the one that he fell in love with and was worthy of being his wife.

During a program you could often tell who the Sakyong was going to pursue that night by who he made eye contact with during the teaching or feast. One night I received a call from his kusung at 11pm or 12pm saying that the Sakyong would like to see me and that I should come to his suite. I was thrilled and nervous. When I got there, he was dressed solely in a robe with no clothes underneath. We chatted for a while. Then he led me into his room and began kissing me and removing my clothes. I said that I couldn’t have sex with him. He seemed stunned. He thought for a while and then pushed my face down towards his penis and said “Well you might as well finish this.” I was so embarrassed and horrified I did it. He rolled over in bed and didn’t say another word to me.

A third:

I was sexually assaulted by the Sakyong in the kitchen of the Halifax Kalapa Court after his wife, the Sakyong Wangmo, retired for the night with her first daughter, following the celebration of her first birthday in August, 2011. This experience was traumatic for me. It took place one year after we welcomed Jetsun Drukmo home on that very lawn. It also marked the one year anniversary of meeting my then partner, who stood in the same room as me that night and watched, did nothing, turned the other way. As time went on, the community’s formal responses and members’ processes of relating to this disclosure and fact have overall exacerbated my confusion and suffering and eroded my mind and body’s health. The responses and denials continue to trigger me and prevent me from moving on from that harm and I believe are preventing the community from its own “healing”. It is truly sad, hard and painful for me to admit this and I would encourage people who deeply care about this community and this family you serve to realize that nothing can change if it doesn’t begin with honesty and recognition of the facts and factors we are working with. The Sakyong’s Chief of Staff is most certainly aware of this incident of “sexual misconduct” despite what he has said to the contrary and to the Project Sunshine Mediator.

These allegations haven’t been proven in court or otherwise. But if true, they are in fact sexual violence.

2. Schooling Shawn Cleary on journalism education

Shawn Cleary

Writes Stephen Kimber:

Journalism is a generalist’s game. If you have curiosity, a determination to discover the facts, even the ones that don’t match your pre-conceived notions, and a passion for telling stories, there are — and should always be — many ways to learn journalism’s specific, ever evolving skills as well as its ethics and standards. It isn’t about where you learned, but how well you learned.

Click here to read “Schooling Shawn Cleary on journalism education.”

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3. Argyle Street

“This is frustrating,” writes Arthur Gaudreau of Halifax ReTales. “They renovate Argyle St., the Nova Centre gets built, and there is great commercial space put on the Argyle side, and now the Argyle St level corner across from The Carleton/Lot Six is going to be a district office for Atlantic Lottery.”

This surprised me, as I was under the impression that HRM By Design bylaws required ground floor retail space downtown.

Ground floor retail has long been one of the policies designed to stimulate downtown areas. The exemplar of that planning requirement is Portland, Oregon, which decades ago started requiring it; the result is lots of street level activity and visually active windows (and incidentally, lower retail rental prices than would otherwise occur). The counter example is our own Hollis Street, which on several blocks is a veritable dead zone because the street level is simply brick facades hiding interior office space. There’s also that space on Barrington Street across from the Grand Parade, which should be a high-traffic retail store but is instead a government board room.

So I asked the Twitterverse how it was possible that a street level space on Argyle Street — remember that we just spent millions of dollars turning Argyle Street into a supposed pedestrian paradise — was not regulated by the street level retail rule. And Leah Perrin pointed me to the bylaw that was enacted by HRM By Design; it lays out the requirement for “Pedestrian-Oriented Commercial Street Uses” as follows:

[O]nly those uses listed below shall be permitted on the ground floor of a building in the DH-1 Zone immediately abutting the streetline of Pedestrian-Oriented Commercial Streets, as identified on Map 3:

(a)  The following commercial uses: Banks and related uses;
Licenced alcohol establishments;
Personal service uses;
Eating establishments;
Movie theatres;
Commercial recreation uses;
and Retail uses;

(b)  Cultural uses; and

(c)  Uses accessory to the foregoing.

So how is it that the prime corner space on the celebrated street we just spent millions of dollars making pedestrian-oriented can place an office space on ground level? Well, incredibly, Argyle Street is not listed as a “Pedestrian-Oriented Commercial Street” in the bylaw; here’s the map (from page 45) that designates such streets:

Let’s think about this. The bylaw was specifically amended to allow for the construction of the Nova Centre, which otherwise wouldn’t have been allowed under the bylaw (that’s section 7B), with the idea that we’d have giant conventions that would make all of us rich forever, amen; that a giant financial firm would pick up from the Cayman Islands or Asheville, North Carolina and plunk down in the Nova Centre tower and hire thousands of poor Dartmouth kids to become well-paid tech nerds with laptops; and that, importantly, after the entertainment district on Argyle Street was killed because of the construction and the loss of afternoon sun and because no hip people want to drink in a wind tunnel next to a giant, ugly Borg, Argyle Street would be reborn as an entertainment Mecca! because Mike Savage would clap loud and we’d spend millions of dollars on turning the street into a pedestrian paradise and …. well, we forgot to designate Argyle Street as an official “Pedestrian-Oriented Commercial Street” and so we’re getting a crappy office for the Atlantic Lottery instead.

Great job, Andy Fillmore.

Otherwise, what does this say about the retail prospects for the Nova Centre? Recall that Bier Markt was supposed to open in most if not all of the Argyle-facing side of the Nova Centre, but killed those plans. The company wouldn’t talk to me, so I can only assume they figured out that no hip people want to drink in a wind tunnel next to a giant, ugly Borg, much less in the Borg itself, so they went elsewhere. And I haven’t seen a big rush of other restaurants or bars wanting to fill the space, so it looks like developer Joe Ramia has to resort to filling it with government agency offices (I’d wager that’s also going to be the case with much of the office tower above).

The last time I walked by, I looked into those forlorn empty retail spaces, and saw them littered with construction waste and the dead dreams of future retail glory. I once thought the spaces would fill up with bland, characterless national and international chains selling bland and characterless “food” and drinks that appeal to the bland and characterless convention-goers who are going to make us all rich forever, amen, but I guess not.

Outside money isn’t exactly flowing into the street, and locals are of mixed minds: the Trailer Park Boys have bought up the Economy Shoe Shop, the Seahorse, and the Toothy Moose, which seems like about as good of an idea as opening Bubble’s Mansion. Other locals have less faith in the street, as both the Foggy Goggle and Victor Syperek have fled for the hipper north end.

4. Conventions!

Speaking of conventions that will make us all rich forever, amen, Jacob Boon reports for The Coast that the Canadian School Boards Association is here this week:

Over 200 CSBA trustees from across Canada will arrive in Halifax this week for the organization’s annual conference, only a few months after the provincial government dismantled Nova Scotia’s elected school boards.

I imagine that school board trustees are an earnest lot, but maybe once they’re away from the screaming kids and impossible parents they can let their hair down a bit, so I hope they have a fun time in Halifax. All 200 of them. Good thing we built that gigantic convention centre.

5. Canada Day

It wouldn’t be Canada Day without violence at Alderney Landing. From a police report:

A 9:38pm HRP officers were at the Alderney Landing responding to a series of physical disturbances that had broken out. During the arrest of a male subject a second male in the group was arrested for obstructing the arrest and was subsequently found to be in possession of a knife. An 17* year old male will face charges of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public and obstruction. He was released with a future court date.

* the initial report incorrectly reported that the boy was 18.




No public meetings.


Special Events Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 9am, City Hall) — Halifax is bidding on hosting the 2020 IIHF Women’s Worlds Championship, and so the committee is considering recommending that council give $250,000 to Hockey Nova Scotia, conditioned on the bid being successful and on the province matching the grant.

FCM 2018 Conference Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 1pm, City Hall) — the last meeting ever for the committee (assuming they get quorum); the committee will suggest that Quebec City, the host of next year’s conference, tear down a two-block section of its historic downtown and put a giant and ugly 16-storey glass building in its stead.

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, Gym, Sackville Heights Community Centre) — the committee is taking a second look at Old Fashioned Woodworkers Developments’ plan to process demolition and construction waste at its Mann Street location in Bedford, backing onto Rocky Lake.

In December, the company had applied to rezone the property from Heavy Industrial (IHI) to C&D Materials Transfer (CD-1) in order to accommodate the new use. “At that time,” reads the staff report, “NWPAC recommended refusing the request based on concerns about protection of the watercourses, lot size and the lack of impermeable liner. The applicant is now requesting a less intense use with the CD-1 Zone in response to these concerns.”

The Cornerstone properties. Photo: Google Street View

Public Information Meeting (Wednesday, 7pm, Multi-purpose Room, Chocolate Lake Recreation Center) — Cornerstone Developments Limited wants a zoning change on seven properties between 651 and 701 St. Margarets Bay Road. The existing buildings are two (and in one case three) storeys, and contain four apartments each. Cornerstone wants to subdivide them further, such that each building will contain six apartments. That necessitates a zoning change from R-2 to R-3.

The president of Cornerstone Developments is Michael Lawen, and the seven properties appear to be the subject of a sad court battle initiated by Lawen’s three sisters — Catherine Tawil, Samia Khoury, and Mary Lawen — against him. In November 2016, Supreme Court Justice Robert Wright issued a ruling denying Lawen’s application for a summary dismissal of the suit. Wrote Wright in his decision:

…Michael Lawen [is] seeking dismissal of this action on the basis that the plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge the validity of seven property conveyances made in favour of Mr. Lawen under an enduring Power of Attorney he held from his father, Jack Lawen, signed on July 13, 2004. Jack Lawen has since passed away on January 16, 2016.

Jack Lawen is the father of the three plaintiff sisters and the defendant Michael Lawen so we have the unhappy situation of three sisters suing their brother over their father’s estate.

The background chronology can be summarized as follows:

1. Subsequent to signing the enduring Power of Attorney in 2004, Jack Lawen executed his Last Will and Testament on May 27, 2009. In that Will, he appointed his two brothers, Joseph and George, to be his executors, made cash bequests of $50,000 to each of the plaintiffs Catherine Tawil and Samia Khoury (his third daughter Mary being disabled and under government care) and directed the residue of his estate to go to his son Michael;

That in itself is interesting, and perhaps reflects the patriarchal mindset of Lawen père. But then things took a weird turn; continues Wright:

2. On November 13, 2012 Jack Lawen signed a revocation of the 2004 Power of Attorney which was later found in a bank file on or about January 14, 2016. This revocation document was witnessed by two bank employees but apparently sat in the bank file during the intervening period;

3. On January 13, 2015 two of the seven properties owned by Jack Lawen were conveyed to Michael Lawen in his exercise of the Power of Attorney he held from his father;

4. On January 6, 2016 the remaining five properties were likewise conveyed to Michael Lawen through the exercise of that Power of Attorney. The aggregate value of these seven properties exceeds $2.6 million dollars;

5. On January 16, 2016, just ten days later, Jack Lawen died (having developed cognitive deficits since about 2013); and

6. On May 12, 2016, probate of the Will was granted to Dr. Joseph Lawen (the other brother having renounced his executorship). The value of the estate remaining is estimated at $130,000.

At issue, explained Wright, was whether the three sisters had standing to sue. I wanted to read more about the revocation of the Power of Attorney, but Wright didn’t get into that. The judge did, however, rule against summary dismissal, and so the sisters’ court action could proceed.

That was 20 months ago. There’s been no other recorded decisions on this matter, so either the case is still winding its way through the courts or the parties have settled without a judge’s ruling. I wonder if the subdividing of the buildings is in response to such a settlement.


No public meetings this week.

On campus



MicroResearch NS Workshop (Tuesday, 11:43am, 49 Wilfred Jackson Way, Dartmouth) — from the event listing:

To be held in Preston Cherrybrook from July 3 – 13, 2018. ​MicroResearch offers research training to support community members to solve local health challenges that fit the local culture, context and resources. The goal is to improve health in Nova Scotia communities. You’ll bring your “burning community health question” to the table, and work together with a team to decide what research your team will learn to conduct, and carry out, over the coming weeks and months.

MicroResearch includes a 40 hour workshop over 2 weeks and ongoing teamwork over the following  12- 18 months to develop and execute a local health research project. Participants receive 40 RCP credits upon completion. MicroResearch NS is ​supported by Dalhousie University, the IWK Health Centre and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

Register via More info here.

Improving and Designing Acute Stroke systems to Maximize Patient Outcomes (Tuesday, 1pm, MA 310) — Noreen Kamal will speak.


BRIC NS Student Seminar Series (Wednesday, 12pm, Room 264, Collaborative Health Education Building) — Jad Sinno will talk about “Mental Health in the HRM: Treatment preferences and experiences of adults living with anxiety, depression, or psychological distress in the Halifax Regional Municipality.” Alysia Robinson will talk about “Community Variation in Hospital Length of Stay: An Indicator of Community Care Integration.”

Missene Mutations (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Matt Field of James Cook University, Australia, will speak on “Comparison of Predicted and Actual Consequences of Missense Mutations: Implications for Personalized Medicine.”

No Child’s War: Putting Children’s Rights Upfront (Wednesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Public Library) — Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, and Rachel Stohl, Managing Director of the Stimson Foundation, will speak.

In the harbour

As an experiment, today I’m embedding the marinetraffic ship map, centered on Halifax Habour. The biggest downside of the map is it doesn’t have a zoom feature; I’ve preset the parameters of the map, but you can drag it around if you want to see what’s outside the frame; you can also play with the filters along the left edge of the map to view (or not view) various categories of vessels, the vessel names, and so forth. Let me know if you think the map is too narrowly (or widely) focused and I can adjust that.

5am: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
6am: Arsos, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Miami
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
8:30am: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
3:30pm: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
10pm: Hollandia, general cargo, sails from Pier 31 for sea


Environment Canada is the worst. I was promised a debilitating heat wave yesterday (I was actually looking forward to it), but all I got was a foggy chill. Yes, I know, “except near the coast” is the hedge factor, but in Nova Scotia, the entire province with maybe the exception of Mt. Uniacke is “near the coast” so it’s a meaningless phrase. I want to know what the weather is going to be in downtown Dartmouth, or on the peninsula, not some generalized across-the-province forecast that doesn’t serve anyone well.

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

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  1. I’m not saying that Shambhala Buddhists are a cult, because they aren’t but, starting a cult is one of the best ways to obtain dubiously consensual sex.

  2. Marine map good, but unless you zoom in some of the vessel names are superimposed on each other. Have a touch screen laptop, so works for me!

  3. Tim,

    In regard to Shambhala,

    “In the case of the Buddhists, if I understand it correctly, they’re taught to unquestioningly obey the leaders.”

    Absolutely not. In fact Trungpa Rinpoche was highly unusual among Tibetan teachers in his stressing the importance of skepticism, even cynicism, and common sense from the get-go. This was a time, as today, when people were desperate for alternatives and all kinds of fantastic promises were being made by vendors in “the spiritual supermarket” to gullible neophytes.

    This encouragement of critical intelligence is part of the reason there is a lot of open, searching and nuanced conversation going on in the Shambhala community. No surprise that people don’t want to talk to the media. If the allegations are corroborated (which they haven’t been, although where there’s smoke there’s likely at least some fire), clearly this behaviour is unacceptable. At the same time, many, many people have experienced the Sakyong as an unfailingly kind and caring person, and someone who has introduced them to attitudes and practices of kindness that have become central to their lives.

    And the buddhist teachings, forged in the reality principle over 2600 years, stress “Fully trust the teaching, not the teacher.” The teacher is inevitably an imperfect human being also walking on the path.

    So, knowing that exercising wisdom and compassion depend on being able to tolerate ambiguity, simultaneously opposing realities, what is the best way forward? Who knows, but it certainly doesn’t lend itself right now to sound bites, or instant reactions.

  4. Good points re retail on Argyle. It is a huge oversight, IMO, that this was not designated a pedestrian-oriented street. However, to back up your point you cite two exceptions: Seahorse & Foggy Goggle. The Seahorse (and Shoe Shop) were in dire need of a reboot, both decor and food-wise. Most restaurants in major commercial districts seem to do that at least every 10 years to keep up with trends. Syperek did not do that with his spots. The Foggy Goggle appears to have taken an opportunity to purchase their own property, good for them.
    Meanwhile, Lot Six is jam-packed. Durty Nelly’s is too. Nearby Stillwell is constantly turning people away. Other businesses seem to be doing well in the area. Maybe the story on Argyle has more to do with who is innovating, reinventing their business and keeping up with trends? As you’ve said previously, maybe we have too few bankruptcies, not even people are taking risks with businesses.
    Yes, Argyle should be a pedestrian-oriented street. At the same time, turnover is good for the patrons. Let’s hope that the Atlantic Lotto office is a blip and the rest of the street continues to attract top-notch establishments that bring people to the street.

    1. The street and sidewalk is filthy as is the eastern sidewalk of Blowers, HRM should clean up the grease and the chewing gum every morning, it looks tacky.

      1. I’ve never seen it look so bad. I think they picked some sort of porous stone for the convention centre side. Every bit of gum/dirt seems ingrained in the new sidewalk. I think it’s beyond cleaning…

  5. If you are upset/annoyed/happy about the proposed by-law changes to ban smoking of cigarettes,cannabis etc in HRM parks make sure you send a letter to the City Clerk ASAP
    ” Section 2 (cab) “smoke” means smoke, inhale or exhale smoke from, burn, carry, hold or otherwise have control over a lit or heated cigarette, cigar, pipe, waterpipe, electronic cigarette or other device that burns or heats tobacco, cannabis or another substance that is intended to be smoked or inhaled; ”

    If you like/dislike the idea of bicycles,tricycles,quadracycles,skateboards, in-line skaters,low powered scooters flashing by you as you take the airs walking in a park make your views known

    None of this applies to Public Gardens – joggers,cyclists,pets, smokers,weddings are not allowed and you are not allowed on the grass except for the special family area
    The public notice is here :

    Council will deal with the new by-law on July 17 :

  6. “In The Harbour” looks good Tim, and it definitely had a zoom function on this end (PC). Nice upgrade, maybe if it was a little taller?

  7. Re: marine traffic map.
    On my iPad and presumably on all smartphones, the zoom function is embedded in the map by using the finger-thumb pinch or spread.
    Not sure how it is implemented on a Windows PC. I don’t have one handy to test.

  8. Does Shawn Cleary have a degree in political science? My undergraduate degree is a B.A. in Poli-Sci. So if he doesn’t have such a degree, by his logic I’d be better qualified to serve on Halifax council than him on that basis alone. Presumably if you can’t be a real journalist unless you have been to J-School, then you can’t be a real politician unless you’ve got your degree in political science.

    1. I agree and have been saying the same thing. Maybe he shouldn’t be weighing in on development plans because he lacks a degree in urban planning, architecture and/or engineering?

      That gets me thinking about this whole “run governments like a business” bullshit that is used over and over again by officials trying to justify neoliberal ,austerity policies. Folks with MBAs who think that they are qualified to manage governments are dangerous. Folks who want to join the fifth estate because they believe in knowledge for the public good are hardly the ones to be cautious of here.