1. Union wins half-million dollar judgment agains Stavco

On Wednesday, I mentioned the case of Jamie Grant against Stavco Construction:

Grant says he was hired in May 2016 as a labourer to work on the construction of an apartment building at 29 Abbington Avenue in Bedford; he was paid $17 an hour plus the required four per cent vacation pay.

In October 2016, labourers working for Stavco unionized, but Stavco didn’t recognize the union. Grant quit in May 2017. In June, however, the Labour Board found that the Labourers’ International Union of North America was the legitimate union for Stavco labourers, and therefore Stavco was bound to the collective agreement between the Labourers and the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association. As a result, Grant should’ve been paid $38/hour, or about $20,000 over the course of his employment more than he actually received.

Yesterday, the union registered the arbitration ruling with the court. That decision, by Erik K. Slone, goes far beyond the single case of Grant, however.

In fact, Slone ordered Stavco to pay the union nearly a half million dollars — $447,630.02, to be precise — of which $19,462.79 is reserved for Grant.

The president of Stavco is Stavros Giannoulis, who also is the president of Mythos Developments, Armouti Developments, and Ardmore Hall; each of the companies have corporate offices at the same address of Suite 100, 150 Solutions Drive in Clayton Park. Additionally, Stavros Giannoulis is a director of The Dillon Suites (George Giannoulis is president). That list of companies is what I found with a short search this morning; undoubtedly there are others.

Clearly the Giannoulises incorporate separate businesses to operate each of their projects, but they are experienced developers who have overseen many projects. And they don’t want a unionized workforce.

Slone, however, appears to have been under the impression that Stavco is a small company and Stavros Giannoulis is a new or inexperienced builder. But Slone still ruled against Giannoulis.

Slone’s ruling (and the underlying evidence) runs 32 pages and is more complicated than I can detail here. But the short of it is that Giannouils refused to recognize the union and, with the exception of Grant, hired non-unionized workers for the Abbington project. Wrote Slone:

[H]ad the Employer recognized the Union on November 2, 2016, it would have had to start paying its employees (whether selected by itself or supplied by the Union) at the rates set out in the collective agreement. By continuing to use non-union employees (with the exception of Grant) it deprived other Union employees the opportunity to earn the wages and benefits associated with the amount of work that was available to be done. Those employees have kept up their Union membership in the hope and expectation that the Union would fight for their right to be employed.

2. Chronicle Herald president Mark Lever is sucking on the government teat

Mark Lever. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“The Chronicle Herald’s Saltwire Network received $664,474 in federal funding this year as a direct result of buying up the competition’s newspapers in Atlantic Canada,” reports Jacob Boon for The Coast:

It’s money that would have gone to Transcontinental but hadn’t yet been awarded by Canadian Heritage before the historic deal between the Herald and TC Media was finalized in April.

Canadian Heritage spokesperson Jon Schofield confirms via email that funding for 15 of the newspapers acquired from Transcontinental transferred over to Saltwire. Those outlets include seven community newspapers in Nova Scotia: the Amherst News; the Annapolis Valley Register; the Aurora; the Citizen Record; the Queens County Advance; the Valley Journal Advertiser and the Tri-County Vanguard.

Money from the federal Periodical Fund program was also received by seven Saltwire papers in Newfoundland and Labrador (the Northern Pen, the Beacon, the Labradorian, the Packet, the Gulf News, the Southern Gazette and the Compass) and one in New Brunswick (the Sackville Tribune Post).

I had fantasies of puffing up the Examiner entertainment budget with some of that sweet Canada Periodical Fund moolah, but alas, we don’t qualify. So I guess we’ll have to make money by doing work that people want to pay for, instead of just sucking on that government teat.

Herald prez Mark Lever talks a good game about his business acumen and so forth but the more I look at how this “innovation” bullshit works, it just comes back to floating a bunch of buzzwords so you can latch onto public money.

As I reported in June, “the Herald is already the beneficiary of tremendous government largesse”:

That’s in part because provincial law requires that the provincial and municipal governments place notification of public meetings, rezoning proposals, program initiatives, and the like in a “paper of record,” which basically means the Chronicle Herald and the Transcon papers it just bought.

Last year, for instance, the Public Service Commission paid the Herald $323,991 for such advertising. The Commission also paid Transcontinental Atlantic, the company purchased by Sarah Dennis and Mark Lever’s Saltwire, $169,374. The city of Halifax and all other cities and towns in the province are also required to advertise in the paper of record; the cost of that advertising isn’t posted on the internet as are the provincial expenditures, but municipal payments to the Herald and Herald-owned Transcon papers undoubtedly total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

By way of comparison, last year the Public Service Commission paid Coast Publishing, the company that produces The Coast altweekly, just $13,990.

It’s unclear how the Herald and Transcon will split their printing business (the Herald bought some, but not all, of Transcon’s printing plants), but last year, before the purchase, the province paid Transcontinental Printing about $540,000.

Then there’s the money crown corporations and other arm’s length government agencies pay the Herald. As I reported in 2015, Nova Scotia Business Inc was then paying the Herald about $35,000 quarterly — $140,000 annually — for the “World.Oyster.Go.” advertorials. These advertorials have no news content and are meant only to bolster the reputation of NSBI. The Herald is now also publishing “custom content” (i.e., advertorial) branded as “Connect. Collaborate. Prosper.” (someone at the Herald has a period fetish); agencies highlighted include the Halifax Partnership, which relies on government funding.

And let’s not forget MLA advertising in the Herald. Labi Kousoulis pays the Herald $750 a month for advertising, which is interesting given that:

Evidently Kousoulis’s “personal relationship with the Dennis family” stretches so far as to kick down $750 monthly in public money to the family-owned business.

Kousoulis is the Minister of Labour who could theoretically intervene in the Chronicle Herald strike.

This morning, I can find no other sitting MLA who regularly buys advertising from the Herald, but Stephen Gough, the recently defeated Liberal MLA for Sackville, was buying an $85 ad every week. Some MLAs buy ads in Metro, usually at $180/month, but most MLAs buy advertising that is placed in small community papers and programs for community events.

Many MLAs, too many to count this morning, also subscribe to the Herald. Premier Stephen McNeil says he doesn’t have time to read newspapers, but his office paid $160 for a six-month Herald subscription in April.

All of this amounts to something like a million dollars annually in public money already going to the Herald. Add in the public money that used to go to Transcontinental and that will now go to Saltwire, and we’re not talking chump change.

My guess is that the Herald (and Saltwire) could not survive were it not for public money.

3. Man guilty in Cameron murder

Joseph Cameron. Photo:

“A Dartmouth man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the 2016 killing of Joseph Cameron,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:

Cameron, 20, was found shot to death on a sidewalk at the corner of Mount Edward Road and Spring Avenue in Dartmouth at around 5:20 a.m. on Mar. 29, 2016.

Last July, police travelled to Ontario and arrested a then 17-year-old boy in London, Ontario. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Because the accused was 17 years old at the time of the offence, his name is covered by a publication ban, even though he is now 18.

On Wednesday, Judge Anne Derrick found the man guilty of first-degree murder in Halifax provincial youth court, Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service spokesperson Chris Hansen confirmed on Thursday.

4. Hells Angels minutes

Yesterday, the court published a decision by Justice Peter Rosinski in an evidentiary hearing related to charges against three men charged with various crimes.

The Crown says that Duayne Jamie Howe, Patrick Michael James, and David John Pearce are in the Bacchus Motorcycle Club, and that Bacchus is a “criminal organization” in association with the Hells Angels.

To prove its point, the Crown wants to submit as evidence minutes from Hells Angels meetings found when Hells Angels clubhouses in Sorel, Québec and Toronto were raided by police.

Detective Staff Sgt. Leonard Isnor of the OPP testified; wrote Rosinski:

Sgt. Isnor testified about the importance of minutes of meetings to the Hells Angels. He also confirmed that they were a source of very valuable information to law enforcement personnel. He has reviewed between hundreds and thousands of minutes of meetings of the Hells Angels throughout his career. At present, worldwide, there are approximately 6000 full members of the Hells Angels and 554 chapters. There are 450 members in Canada. While these numbers may have been lesser in the years 2000 – 2004, and even in 2012, the structure of the Hells Angels has remained the same: they have the following hierarchical levels: world; national; regional; and local – each individual clubhouse or charter/chapter. He stated that record-keeping is very important because the Hells Angels demand hierarchical compliance from all its of various levels and that if there is not compliance any violators face the consequence of revocation of their charter by the Hells Angels penultimate “world” offices located in Oakland, California, USA. The Hells Angels are incorporated. Those offices are the only ones that can issue or revoke charters. There is an expectation and obligation to create minutes of meetings, and to disseminate those minutes to individual members at the various levels so they may remain informed, since the organization operates on a “one man – one vote” basis.

Rosinski ruled that the minutes are admissible.

The Hells Angels should’ve listened to Stringer Bell:

YouTube video

5. IKEA hates Dartmouth

Bruce Hetherington posted on the We Love Dartmouth Nova Scotia Facebook page yesterday:

I wrote IKEA about their name on there (sic) new store saying Halifax was inappropriate as it is in Dartmouth and here is their reply. Please feel free to contact them. IKEA Canada

Hello Mr. Hetherington,

Thank you for reaching out to IKEA. We have forwarded your email on to the appropriate department regarding your feedback about the new store name.

When we chose the name of the store, we chose Halifax as it will be a destination that we hope will draw residents from the HRM, the province of Nova Scotia and beyond. As Dartmouth is part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, we named the store with this in mind.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us with your feedback.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions.

Kind regards,
IKEA Canada Customer Service

The comments on Hetherington’s post are a joy to read.


1. Destroying the city

Excavation of the Queen’s Marque site. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Larry Haiven writes of the ongoing development boom, in which “each of the [new] structures bears the name of something cherished but lost, evoking a ‘sense of history’ after destroying its verisimilitude” — he cites The Cunard, The Vic, The Roy, The Alexander, The Mary Ann, The Margaretta…

But surely the most egregious example of glorious evocative bullshit is the 10-storey Queen’s Marque project, now rising on the waterfront at the foot of George Street. To read its website, you would think that it is not a modernist intrusion but god’s gift from the developer; a veritable heritage museum, the embodiment of everything Nova Scotians have striven for over hundreds of years. It’s hype as “Honest, authentic and Atlantic to Our Core” suggests it has assembled Peggys Cove, The Hector, Helen Creighton, the Cape Breton Highlands, a group of fiddlers and an orchestra of bagpipers in a single location. Read it — your jaw will drop.

Here’s the site.


No public meetings.

On campus


Separation and Sample Preparation: Chromatic and Electrophoretic Approaches (Friday, 1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226) — Khaldun M. Al Azzam, of Al-Ghad International Colleges for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia, will speak.

In the harbour

3:30am: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
5am: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
5pm: Atlantic Star, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Yah, Friday.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Far be it for me to defend Mark Lever but a bit more context may be in order. As Jacob Boon’s piece noted, the cash is coming from the Canadian Periodical Fund and as someone else noted the fund’s a replacement for a long-time postal subsidy that was phased out a number of years ago. Nationally, the Fund’s largest beneficiaries are media giants Quebecor (through TVA Publications), recipients of $11.6 million in 2015-16 and Rogers Publishing (Maclean’s, Canadian Business among others) which received $9.1 million. Number three was Reader’s Digest at $3.1 million. Here in nova Scotia, Advocate Media (Pictou Advocate, the Reporter etc) received $222,800, Saltscapes $164,000 and DVL Publishing (Home Delivery) $135,527. Even Frank Magazine seems to have cashed in through Coltsfoot Publishing of Montreal, scoring $103,000 in 2015-6. This money is supposedly for physical distribution of the product which in the case of Maclean’s is interesting since they recently went from weekly distribution to monthly. Presumably Rogers’ grant will be reduced commensurately?

  2. That periodical fund is available to all small newspapers that meet the criteria. It was designed to keep postal rates low for mail subscriptions for small community newspapers. At first, Canada Post gave a special rate, but then said it wasn’t its job as a Crown corporation to subsidize newspapers particularly when it had to save money etc. So it was then put under Heritage.

    It is certainly a subsidy and is hard to justify to the public in the digital age. Government money should be spent on things like health care and education, not subsidies to private business. Indeed it seems to me to act as a deterrent for community newspapers to properly embrace online as it should be embraced.

    Local people who want a physical newspaper generally have their community newspapers delivered to their door by a paperboy, or buy it at the gas station. People from away who buy it, usually former locals, should just get it online because the stories come up as they break, and not as a dump on day of publication of the dead tree issue. By the time they get the dead tree issue mailed, the news is old. Plus the online stories are generally more in depth because they are not cut to fit a newspaper column; they have more photos; and usually have video too. So even for locals, online makes more sense.

    How can one write editorials denouncing someone else’s receipt of a subsidy, when one is receipt of a subsidy too? Is it ever ethical to take a government subsidy of this kind? The government already subsidizes all newspapers, in a sense, by requiring legal notices to be printed in them. This is just a bit more gravy on the poutine if you are a community newspaper.

  3. Finally, people are beginning to realise how much this spec building boom is costing the basis of Halifax’s image and tourism basis – its built heritage.

    Time perhaps to dig put what the Heritage Trust was saying at the time of the consideration of the new Convention Centre and its tax supported and market unsupportable monolith. Perhaps some will now listen when the decision makers would not!

    1. Some were always listening when the decision makers were not; but it will still be the decision makers who make the decisions. Nothing will change unless the decision makers make the decisions to make change happen. The public can complain and often does; but if their pleas fall on deaf ears, there will be no change.

  4. IKEA should taken the “be Bold” step and called their new store IKEA HΛLIFΛX… of course that would not satisfy all critics; but then unanimity is always hard to find, eh?

    1. That’s to differentiate them from one another, which are in the same metropolitan area. If Halifax had two IKEAs, one over on the west side, I’m sure we’d get “IKEA Bayer’s Lake” and “IKEA Dartmouth” or something. But there’s only one, so.

      Trust me, no one in Etobicoke or Scarborough–which, like Dartmouth, were separate cities until the ’90s– exhibits anything like this Dartmouth parochialism. They’re perfectly happy to call themselves “Toronto.” Because they are, and because they no longer exists as independent municipal entities.