November Subscription Drive

El Jones. Photo: Halifax Examiner
El Jones. Photo: Halifax Examiner

El Jones is the former poet laureate of the city of Halifax, a professor, a prisoner advocate, and author of Morning File each Saturday in the Examiner. She writes:

I could say that the Examiner is valuable because it provides me with a platform to write commentary from a Black, political perspective. I know that writing this way has upset some people and Tim has lost some readers as a result, but he has never asked me to not write what I want to write, or told me to tone it down, or suggested I do something else. I have friends writing for other publications who have had their columns cut, or reduced from being weekly, or who have been replaced. Tim has never exchanged my voice for the bottom line, and he’s supported me in whatever I want to write.

There’s so few places still where Black women are free to express ourselves, and Tim provides an important one. And it’s not just the news items, it’s that I can be silly, or personal, or do cat memes – I’m not locked into one idea of what is expected, and that freedom is amazing and important.

The Examiner is also a really great, and often unexpected community. Often I find the most random people will come up and tell me how much they like reading the Examiner — it builds local community and readership in ways that are really important. The computer I’m typing this on was given to me by an Examiner reader when I wrote about not having one — they simply told me to keep writing and never asked for any public thanks or anything. That’s a beautiful thing.

And I also like that we’re not expected to do the same five think pieces that everyone does, and that the focus is on local news. I feel like I message Tim every week bitching that there’s no news, but that challenge is also important and keeps us engaged in our communities and from being lazy — we always have to reach as writers to prioritize what’s going on here and that’s cool.

But most of all, Tim’s just a really good guy. I went through a really bad patch this time last year where I was completely broke, like literally couldn’t afford food broke, and Tim just kept paying me more. That money got me through. When I got a lot of courses this year I kept saying to Tim, “you know, it’s okay, you can pay me less, I’m working now.” And he flat out refused. I know the Examiner isn’t caking it, so knowing that he basically took and takes money from his pocket to make sure I’m okay really means a lot. And that’s what subscription money is going to — not to line his pockets but to make sure writers are paid enough to survive, and to make sure the people who write for The Examiner feel valued.

So if you have the money, please think about subscribing! The Examiner is really important, and I feel really grateful I’m able to work for a publication that values what we have to say over what’s most popular, or page views, or forcing writers to churn out constant material. It’s great news, different viewpoints, and we may not always agree — in fact, people may vehemently disagree sometimes! — but it’s so important that there’s a space not controlled by ad money, or corporate sponsors. Thank you!

Click here to purchase a subscription.


1. Murder

Shakur Jefferies, from a 2012 Facebook post.
Shakur Jefferies, from a 2012 Facebook post.

A police release from yesterday:

A man has been charged with second degree murder in relation to the homicide of Shakur Jefferies.

On November 12 at approximately 5 p.m., police received several calls to 911 of shots fired in the vicinity of 610 and 650 Washmill Lake Drive in Halifax. Upon arrival officers located Shakur Jefferies deceased at the scene.

Patrol and Emergency Response Team members took five males into custody in the general vicinity of the incident shortly after 5 p.m. last evening and transported them to Police Headquarters for questioning. One suspect was released earlier this morning. Of the remaining four:

• Carvel Clayton, 21 and of Halifax, has been charged with second degree murder. He has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court tomorrow.

• A 21-year-old man has his parole revoked as a result of this incident and will be returned to the custody of Correctional Services.

• The other two suspects have been released without charges.

“Carvel Clayton is also known on the provincial music scene as a rap artist who goes by the name Certi or Certified, and who spoke out in song against this year’s killings in Halifax,” reports Ian Fairclough for Local Xpress.

Certi recorded the song “Murder (Pray 4 Scotia)”:

Police say they don’t think Shakur Jefferies’ murder is related to the murders earlier this year.

2. Examineradio, episode #87

This week is a special Examineradio Subscription Drive episode. We look back on some of the highlights of nearly two years’ worth of the podcast and radio show, including interviews with former MPs Megan Leslie and Peter Stoffer, Toronto Star journalist Alex Boutilier, and lawyer-turned-author Philip Slayton. Oh, and Mayor Mike Savage.

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(direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

3. Pedestrian struck

A police release from yesterday:

At 4:06 p.m.on November 12, Halifax Regional Police responded to Main Avenue at Dunbrack Street for a car/pedestrian collision. A 41-year-old man was crossing Main Avenue when he was struck by a car driven by a 22-year-old man.The pedestrian was transported to the QE2 with non-life-threatening injuries.The pedestrian was not in a marked crosswalk at the time of the collision. The file remains under investigation.

4. Booze

“The Municipality of the District of Guysborough has adopted new expense policies — but council and staff will still be able to buy alcohol with taxpayer money,” reports Pam Berman for the CBC:

The Guysborough council adopted four new policies in early November, including one on hospitality. It recognizes that “the provision of beer and wine for diplomacy, business development or promotional advocacy is an acceptable expense in limited circumstances.”

Guysborough’s hospitality policy seems to be based on the Nova Scotia government’s rules for cabinet ministers. Both recommend giving preference to alcohol produced locally.

The prohibitionists are up in arms, but this is a reasonable policy. It’s a victory for common sense.


1. Three takeaways from America’s fool’s game election


Writes Stephen Kimber:

It probably is as much a fool’s game to try to find logic in the incredible illogic of last week’s U.S. election results by reading the leavings in the exit polls as it is to try to make sense of nonsensical future American policies by reading Donald Trump’s crazy-making, against-what-I-was-for, for-what-I-was-against first week of post-election pivots and pirouettes.


Anyone attempting to untangle all the disparate threads to come up with a one-size-fits-all explanation for what happened last Tuesday is bound to be wrong.

That said, there do appear to be a number of clear takeaways from last week’s results.

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

2. Teachers

Writes an anonymous high school teacher:

Last month, I compared my job – teaching university preparatory level mathematics in high school – to being a life guard expected to be personally responsible for multiple beaches simultaneously. No matter how hard I try, I cannot meet the expectations that are heaped onto my shoulders. I have been systematically set up to fail.


But I have hit my breaking point. I am the one who is now drowning and in need of a saving. I already have to pick and choose which parts of my teaching practice I let go of in light of all the new things that have been downloaded onto classroom teachers – and there is more to come if Stephen McNeil, Karen Casey and their merry band are to be believed. Instead of tritely de-valuing the opinions of teachers at every turn, here’s what I wish they would do:

The teacher then goes on to list a series of “ask me”s. The ones that most stuck out for me:

Ask me how many new initiatives I have been asked to implement in my classroom over the eleven years of my career so far. Ask how these initiatives have taken my time away from face-to-face interactions with students, and how they have (or haven’t) improved the experience of students.


Ask me how the constant obsession with data and results and live updates has twisted and crippled motivation and perceptions of success and how this might actually be DECREASING achievement.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To The Coast:

Please, Coast, cut it out! In Nova Scotia, you cannot talk sarcastically, ironically or symbolically about things supernatural without starting rambling hordes of rumours that are quickly converted to fact by repetition (“So is the Nova Centre cursed, or what?” City story by Adina Bresge, October 27). A year from now, the convention centre project will be no closer to completion because of ghost chasers from all over the world crowding out workers to hold seances. Stop, in the name of Helen Creighton!

Ray MacLeod



I was in Toronto over the weekend, so stopped by the Art Gallery of Ontario to check out the Impressionists exhibit. About that some other day… but while there I also toured the permanent collections, including Cabel’s Skaters on the Amstel, painted between 1620 and 1625.

There’s a lot going on in the scene, including a fellow shooting a bunch of dim-witted ducks dead with no concern for passing skaters:


…and what looks to me like some sort of weird 17th century group leapfrog courting exercise:


But what really grabbed my attention were the fellows in the foreground clearly pushing a puck around with a hockey stick:


My photo is blurry, but there are also some guys in the distance more actively playing with hockey sticks and a puck:


So can we set aside the ridiculous fight over who invented hockey? People in the Netherlands were clearly playing hockey or some similar predecessor game long before any settler population in Canada claimed the game (as I’ve argued before, the Mi’kmaq were also long playing a similar game).



Photo: http ://
Photo: http ://

Centre Plan dog and pony show (6pm, Northwood Centre) — brought to you by the same folks who brought you The Borg! Tell ’em I said hi.


No public meetings scheduled.

On campus


CNODES (10am, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building) — David Henry, from the University of Toronto, will speak on “Examples of CNODES Studies That Made a Difference.” CNODES is a sort of NSA for doctors; explains the event listing:

Many Canadians are hospitalized each year because of adverse reactions to prescription drugs. In the last 20 years, we have increased our capacity to quantify modest, but important, increases in relative risks of serious reactions to commonly used drugs by exploiting large linked databases comprising electronic medical records and claims data. The most recent development is the creation of large distributed networks of data centres with teams of collaborators using common scientific and analytical protocols. The Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) operates in eight provinces and through additional purchases of data from the USA and UK has access to data on almost 100 million individuals. In his presentation, Henry will highlight important studies completed by CNODES researchers and how the network will adapt to meet the needs of a growing number of potential users of the networks’ research products and will discuss the essential features of ‘impactful’ work.

Thesis Defence, Engineering (12pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Ebenezer Asamany will defend his thesis, “Waste Derived Fuels for Co-Processing in Rotary Cement Kilns.”

Saint Mary’s

Mauritius Francofest (6:30pm, Unilever Lounge in the grocery store building) — Students in French 4826 celebrate literature, history and culture of Mauritius.

In the harbour

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

5am: OOCL Kula Lumper, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from  Norfolk
7am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11am: Theban, car carrier, arrives at Pier 31 from Southhampton, England
3:30pm: Grand Cosmo, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
6pm: Theban, car carrier, moves from Pier 31 to Autoport
8:30pm: Saint Albans Bay, oil tanker, arrives at Berth TBD from Houston

2:45am: St. Katharinen, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Port Arthur, Texas
6am: Atlantic Conveyor, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
6:30am: Theban, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


The Halifax Typographical Union is having a press conference this morning, so I’m out the door to see what they have to say.

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

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  1. El Jones is simply a local and national treasure. Her voice, whether in poetry or prose, whether rapped at a protest or written in the Examiner, is extraordinary for its compelling, painfully human and politically challenging truthfulness, not to mention its artistry. If that drives some readers away it keeps my wife and I coming back. Kudos to you, Tim, for employing her. And all power to you, El, for your dedication to human rights and truthful speaking.

  2. Re: November subscription drive testimonial

    I have been in audiences when El Jones’ amazing spoken word makes people squirm in their seats. Similarly, some of the work she has published in the Examiner I am sure elicits similar reactions from readers. I say bravo for that.
    Rather than scare subscribers away (which I find hard hard to swallow), El’s work is an asset that should draw lots of readers. The purpose of journalism should not only inform but should make the comfortable uncomfortable. I for one appreciate being placed in that category and applaud Tim for engaging El’s truly unique voice and perspective in this publication. Hopefully there will be others too.

  3. Hi here’s a Monday morning “well actually” to help distract me from Trump:

    There have been various kinds of stick-and-ball games, some even on ice, throughout history. Wikipedia shows an ancient Greek bas-relief of what looks a lot like a face-off from 600BC, and mentions that “hockie” (hooked) stick games were banned in Ireland by statute in 1527. But the specific game that we call Hockey is much more recent and presumably actually Canadian.

    1. It’s probably been played in some form ever since humans spread to places where lakes freeze over. I doubt it, but it’s conceivable that Neanderthals did something for fun that superficially resembled hockey, so you could even say that nobody invented it.