1. Vision Nothing Much

Just a partial collection of Vision Zero’s representation on Google Images. Vision Zero is being adopted by a growing number of North American cities and towns, but not Halifax.

“There are on average 1,400 personal injuries and 14 fatalities per year due to vehicle collisions in HRM, according to the new Strategic Road Safety Plan (SRSP), recently approved by city council’s transportation committee and now on its way to full council for debate and approval,” reports Erica Butler:

If all goes according to the new SRSP, by 2023 only 11 people will get killed and 1,120 injured. At least that’s the five-year goal of the plan approved by council’s transportation committee last week, a 20 per cent reduction. (The original goal as presented by senior transportation staff was 15 per cent, allowing for one more death and 70 more injuries on average per year, by 2023.)

At this point I hope you are thinking, wait, what? Why are Halifax senior staff and council discussing what’s a reasonable number of people to get mown down on city streets?

Click here to read “Vision Nothing Much: Halifax’s new road safety plan ignores the experts and embraces more of the same.”

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2. Accessibility

Last week, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission announced that it will hold an inquiry tomorrow, July 5, into a complaint that alleges “discrimination on the part of the Department of Environment for not enforcing what they view is a law requiring restaurant owners to have accessible washroom facilities if they have an outdoor patio for the summer.”

The complainants are Warren (Gus) Reed, Ben Marston, Paul Vienneau, Jeremy MacDonald, and Kelly McKenna.

A photo of Gus Reed
Gus Reed. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Alex Cooke, reporting for the Canadian Press, interviewed Reed:

Some establishments, he said, have their washrooms up or down a set of stairs in a building that doesn’t have an elevator, while others may have doors that are difficult to open or stalls that aren’t wide enough.

Reed says Nova Scotia’s accessibility standards are ambiguous as to where exactly they apply: outdoor patios in Halifax, for instance, need to comply with the Canadian Standards Association’s accessible design standard.

“But what’s the point of having an accessible patio if you don’t have accessible washrooms?” he said.

The hearing starts Thursday, 9:30am, at the Best Western Chocolate Lake.

3. Immigration

I don’t know if this has been reported before (if it has, I can’t find it on either the CRA or Nova Scotian government websites), but the province last week published the details of responses to questions about immigration that it commissioned in the Atlantic Quarterly omnibus public opinion survey conducted last November and December.

The survey showed general support in Nova Scotia for increased immigration, with 65 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement that “Immigrants serve to increase the number of jobs in the province and thus tend to strengthen the economy overall” and 71 per cent completely or mostly agreeing with the statement that “The province should do more to attract immigrants to Nova Scotia.” And 83 per cent completely or mostly agreed that “Having immigrants come to the province makes it a more interesting place.”

However, there are interesting demographic differences in the responses. For instance, while 72.5 per cent of respondents in Halifax agreed that “Immigrants serve to increase the number of jobs in the province and thus tend to strengthen the economy overall,” that number drops to 58 per cent in Cape Breton. Also, 71 per cent of men across the province agreed with the statement, but just 60 per cent of women did. And by far the largest support for the statement  — 85.7 per cent — came from respondents making more than $100,000 annually; 63.8 per cent of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 agreed with it; while 58 per cent of those making less than $50,000 did.

You can drill into the numbers here.

4. Atlantic Lottery responds

Atlantic Lottery responded to my bit yesterday about Argyle Street:

Mr. Bousquet,

We read your coverage this morning in the Halifax Examiner regarding Atlantic Lottery’s new retail and office space at the Nova Centre. We want to take this opportunity to clarify a few items for your readers.

Atlantic Lottery has always had a presence in Nova Scotia, and we are excited to be moving to the core of downtown. The new space will better meet the needs of not only our employees, but also our winners and our players with the establishment of a retail storefront. The space is not just an office — it will also have a retail/winners component.

An office and retail space in the downtown Halifax core will generate a significant amount of brand awareness for Atlantic Lottery in Atlantic Canada’s largest city. One-hundred per cent of Atlantic Lottery profits go back to Atlantic Canadian communities – in 2016-17, $137 million was returned to our Nova Scotia shareholder.

The office space is being planned to accommodate 10 to 15 employees, along with some ‘hotelling’ space for our other regional employees.

We are looking forward to meeting winners and hosting win celebrations in the heart of downtown Halifax. When we hold our first win celebration at the new space, if you’re interested, we would love to welcome you to attend with the media and take a look.

Thank you,

Molly Cormier
Manager, Corporate Communications


A photo of a telephone

“I hate phone-in shows,” writes Mary Campbell in her Cape Breton Spectator:

When I lived abroad, I was deeply grateful for almost everything about the BBC World Service except for World Have Your Say, an international Sunday night phone-in show that, no matter what the ostensible topic, always seemed to end with some gentleman from Uganda calling in to condemn homosexuality. I used to play a game to see how few notes of the opening theme I had to hear before I could get to the radio and turn it off.

Likewise, as much as I enjoy my CBC Radio One, I don’t like Cross Country Check-Up and I don’t like the Maritime version either (in fact, I like it so little I can’t remember what it’s called.)

The idea that the shows are like “the kitchen” or “the coffee shop,” where everyone in the country can get together and swap ideas about important subjects is precisely my problem with them — if I wanted to hear lots of uninformed discussion of important subjects, I could go to an actual kitchen or coffee shop. I listen to the radio for informed discussion. (I have the same problem with the endless panels on CBC television — one journalist and three partisan hacks discussing everything under the sun and because nobody commands in-depth knowledge of everything under the sun, the panelists instead discuss everything in terms of how it will affect the opinion polls.)

Summer is a tough time for subscriber-supporter news media (see below), so if you’re able, maybe throw a little scratch to Campbell by subscribing to the Spectator, or better yet, get a joint subscription to the Examiner and Spectator.


A graphic of the constellation Canis Major with a dog in the foreground.

The Old Farmers Almanac says we entered the Dog Days of Summer yesterday, and they extend until August 11. The “dog” part of “dog days” refers to Sirius, which is called the “dog star” because it’s in the constellation Canis Major, or “major dog.” (Of course the constellation has no meaning besides the perception of its various component stars from Earth — the stars themselves are very far away from each other.)

According to Wikipedia (why would Wikipedia lie?):

In Greek Mythology, Canis Major represented the dog Laelaps, a gift from Zeus to Europa; or sometimes the hound of Procris, Diana’s nymph; or the one given by Aurora to Cephalus, so famed for its speed that Zeus elevated it to the sky. It was also considered to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs, pursuing Lepus the Hare or helping Orion fight Taurus the Bull; and is referred to in this way by Aratos, Homer and Hesiod. The ancient Greeks refer only to one dog, but by Roman times, Canis Minor appears as Orion’s second dog.

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, although this summer Mars is outshining all the other planets and stars, including Sirius. Sirius mostly stays in the southern sky, but becomes visible in Mediterranean latitudes in early summer, and the ancient Egyptians and then the Greeks and Romans after them blamed the heat of summer on the appearance of Sirius. And a lot of other stuff, too; during the Dog Days of Summer, “women are at their foulest but men are weak since they are parched in head and knees,” noted the Greek poet Alcaeus.

Foul women and weak men aside, this time of year in Halifax means everyone goes on vacation, government offices slow down or close completely, and no one pays attention to the news. Page views of the Examiner (and I assume every other local media) drop precipitously about now, only to return to normal numbers in late August.

Mary Campbell, my colleague in Cape Breton, slows publication of the Cape Breton Spectator down to every other week through the summer. I won’t go that far, but the general slow-newsness of the season will, I hope, allow me to use this space for musings and wanderings that may not be so Halifax- or Nova Scotia-specific, or that bring a longer view to things that are. I’ll probably write about myself too much.

You’ve been warned.




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.”

A photo of seven houses
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.

I wrote about this yesterday.


Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) —


No public meetings this week.

On campus



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.


Formulating Success Math-Stats Networking and Pitch Event (Thursday, 5pm, Room 1011 and Atrium, Rowe Management Building) — tech start-ups will make us all rich. I’m spending all my tech start-up riches at the beer garden tonight, how about you?

In the harbour

5am: MOL Paradise, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
5:30am: Heritage Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Bremerhaven, Germany
8am: Adventure of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,058 passengers, arrives at Pier 21 from Saint John
11:30am: Hercules Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
5:30pm: Adventure of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 21 for New York
9:30pm: MOL Paradise, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai


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

Unlike some of my media colleagues, I wasn’t invited to the Fourth of July party at the American consulate. I guess actually holding American citizenship precludes me. I’ll listen to Fourth of July songs instead.

YouTube video
YouTube video
YouTube video

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

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  1. Bring on the musings and wandering!

    I think NS needs immigrants because our population is aging and I like a diverse population. But we are not a particularly warming community (with some notable exceptions) and I don’t really understand the survey question – why would immigrants be expected to create jobs? That would be great, but shouldn’t NS create jobs too that can employ immigrants?

    1. The thing is that immigrants are just people. Immigrants might reasonably be expected to be more skilled in the unique cultural arts of their home country than average Nova Scotians, but other than that they aren’t magic. The thing is, NS already has a bad labour market, even for white Nova Scotians. Why would it be better for immigrants?

      Second of all, in my field, immigrants are used to control salaries and working conditions. I have absolutely no animus towards the immigrants, but please don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining – the immigrants’ skills and talents are on par with Nova Scotians – not better or worse – the main thing is that there is an effectively infinite supply of Indian or Chinese immigrants who are thrilled to get 45 k a year.

  2. Okay, I ‘ll bite…Nova Scotia is not welcoming to a wide range of immigrants, even those who speak both French and English and who may have skills and education that would contribute much to Nova Scotia. Many of those well-educated folks who make over $100,000 and who say that they think immigration is good for Nova Scotia, won’t interview or hire older well-educated immigrants for positions that they are qualified for.

    I base my assertion on personal experience and on the experience of other older immigrants who are also professionals. Many of us immigrated here because of family considerations and most of us don’t want to leave. Included in my collection are lawyers, writers, health professionals, former business execs and artists. Some came with spouses or adult children and then started to look for work when the kids were in school. We have met through professional meetings, word of mouth and job hunting resources. Many of us remain without local jobs after many years in Canada.

    After 9 years of diligently looking for work here and having less than one interview a year, I am not convinced that NS really wants immigrants or their skills. Like others in my position, I started a small business and did employ a few people. But Nova Scotia is not a small business mecca. The Province seems to be chasing the dream of having big multinational businesses settle here and employ lots of young male techies. But there are lots of other types of immigrants, including the spouses and parents of the “desirable immigrants” , who are left out in the cold.

  3. Regarding surveys in general (and democracy), public opinion is determined mostly by a committed minority of charismatic people who can broadcast their opinions through the media. Given that media is primarily owned by the managerial class, it’s not surprising that public opinion is in line with the managerial class’ opinion.

    This is a sign that things are going better (depending on how you regard better) in Canada than the US or the UK, where both the election of Trump and Brexit indicate significant disconnects between public opinion and the managerial class’ opinion.

  4. I admire the work that the Examiner and the Spectator are doing, however, please do not skip or overlook the event that is about to unfold in Pictou, N.S. on July 6 th. from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The harbour will be receiving numerous lobster boats and pleasure craft. There will be a march through the town supporting options to the Northern Pulp proposal to put a pipe into the Strait of Northumberland- a pipe to dump 80,000 plus litres of effluent into the Strait on a daily basis.
    The opposition to this proposal is massive, and the demonstration of the opposition will be in clear evidence on the sixth of July. Hopefully, the Examiner and or the Spectator will have a journalist or two covering this and on site in the great town of Pictou.
    I realize that the summer is a slow news time per se, but it is not a slow news event that will unfold in Pictou Town and in the Harbour of Pictou on July sixth. Fishermen from across the Maritimes will be in that harbour and the walk through Pictou should prove to be anything but a ho-hum demonstration of support for groups like ‘Friends of the Strait ‘and ‘Clean the Mill.’

    One fisherman has promised quite a show for the sixth; I am one who believes that he is calliing it right. PLEASE, DON’T MISS IT!

  5. well, I am looking forward to collecting my 50 kazillion dollar WIN closer to home than New Brunswick, because, you know, that would be just too far to drive to make it worth my time.

  6. The idea that immigrants create jobs is nonsense – given that immigrants tend to be younger, a higher percentage of them are in their working years than the general population – if people who work created more than one job, there would be infinite jobs (because the number of jobs created would be equal to some number greater than one raised to the power of the number of immigrants), and adding immigrants would increase labor prices. This obviously isn’t what really happens. Of course everyone who works creates some additional work because they have money to spend – but the number of jobs created per worker must be less than one. It’s just simple math.

    If you are talking about “job creators”, meaning people who own businesses, sure – most of our immigration in the last 50 years has been upper middle class entrepreneur types from East to West Asia – but it’s also absurd to suggest that people who work for businesses owned by immigrants or the children of immigrants would be out of a job if we had not permitted those immigrants to immigrate. It’s also dubious to look at the relative performance of immigrants (a self-selected group) rather than the whole Canadian.

    It is a neoliberal orthodoxy that immigrants increase wages (This statistic is created by observing that in places with job growth and rising labor prices, there are also immigrants. The assumption is that the immigrants are not rational, motivated people, and merely moved to Toronto rather than Truro by accident, thereby creating jobs in Toronto rather than Truro). I’m not a nativist or opposed to immigration, but the managerial class has always been pro-immigrant for a few reasons: 1) Cheap labor, 2) Reduced solidarity among workers, 3) New people to sell stuff to.

    Regarding point 2, its fashionable to say that the rich have used racial tensions to prevent workers from organizing, and this is certainly true, but it is not remotely the whole truth. Secondly, woke capitalism*, academia, the media and our government (It’s almost as if they are the same power structure…) encourage every ethnic group to identify more fully with their ethnic group (except white people) rather than with the supraethnic religious, civic or class identities that might allow them to get something done together. This power structure invests substantial resources in broadcasting the idea that if you are in favor of limiting immigration, you are a racist, which is neoliberal BS.

    *woke capitalism is when a company makes billions of dollars selling weapons to go kill brown people in the middle east but they make their logo rainbow colored for pride month and they have an affirmative action program. I’m just using this as an example and am not just talking about arms dealers.

  7. The surveys on immigration are troubling. They give the impression that there are no truths or facts on the matter and only people’s opinions, forged by near endless political posturing, matter.

    The survey is meant to confirm the dead certainty of the government’s position. But even that unconditional certainty under all circumstances should be cause for concern.

    It’s interesting to wonder a couple complex things:

    1/ The notion that immigrants create jobs, like the notion that immigrants take jobs, is not supported by the facts. Many studies have been done over long periods and differing circumstances. Here’s a single example of a study of studies.

    2/ Economics is a complicated mix of capital, resources, technology and labour. It’s astonishing that the government continues to act as if labour is the only variable and it can only go in one direction. It’s like trying to mix a cake batter and the only move you can make is continuing endlessly to add more eggs. What if at the moment, as PIkkity et al would have it, it’s actually access to capital that Nova Scotia lacks rather than labour? What if, far from being behind, we’re at the forefront of the age of ‘the end of work’?

    3/ What really drives the immigration obsession in Nova Scotia? It’s not a naturally intuitive, or supported by the facts, or a globally held view. From a social justice perspective it might even be immoral. We’re robbing vulnerable societies and cultures of some of their best and brightest hopes – the very people most likely to make change in their home communities might be stuck driving taxi cabs in Halifax.

  8. In fact, we don’t even know what the baseline # will be. From the accompanying staff report:

    “The baseline year for the SRSP will be dependent upon the quality and quantity of collision data available to import. Currently collision data is available to 2014. The intent is to set the baseline year as the start of the SRSP implementation (2018). Trends from 2014 to 2017 will be reviewed to determine if a single year or a rolling average will be chosen. ”

    So they have no actual target now, and they probably won’t know what the goal is/was for a few years…

    But that’s okay, we won’t know how we’re doing until it is all over anyway…

    ” A statistically accurate update on the progress of the plan will be provided when sufficient data is available, likely after year four or five. ”

    The injury/fatal collisions per year from 2007 to 2014 ranges from 1277 to 1574. It has swung 15% or more in either direction over that time frame as it is!

    If the goal were to be 15% less than the average from 2007 – 2014 we’d only need 1235 in a year to be successful… 2014 had 1277. #TowardStatusQuo

  9. The note yesterday about the ALC move to Argyle was disturbing. The ALC response today is fully sickening. A “storefront”? A cavalcade of “winners’? What worse possible use could there be of a central public space in the city? Maybe a Moneymart next door and a Hooters surrounded by trashy late night bars to fulfill the drunken dystopian nightmare.

    1. Tru dat! Sometimes, things are so awful (because they are true) that they make me laugh; this was one of those instances! Thank you for the laugh.

  10. “The space is not just an office — it will also have a retail/winners component.

    An office and retail space in the downtown Halifax core will generate a significant amount of brand awareness for Atlantic Lottery in Atlantic Canada’s largest city.” Why not just admit they don’t have many businesses knocking on the door so they’ll take what they can get as long as they can pay rent.

    To use a phrase oft used by the editor of this great news source, “Bullshit”! You need a 6′ x 6′ booth to sell lotto tickets and greeting winners is not “retail” because they are not now buying.

    Why does Atlantic Lottery need more “brand awareness”? It’s essentially the only game in the four Atlantic provinces. That’s like branding “HALIFAX” (I don’t know how to leave the bars off the “A”s) – it’s the only one! The reason, of course, is that branding keeps the PR companies in lots of loot.