In the harbour


1. Never forgotten because it’s so damn ugly

The proposed Never Forgotten monument.
The proposed Never Forgotten monument.

The Never Forgotten monument proposed for Green Cove in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is gaudy, monstrously oversized for its delicate placement, campy in all the wrong ways, and vile in its political intent.

And Parks Canada wants to hear what you think of it.

You know what would honour Canadians who have died in war? Stop having wars.

2. McCluskey and Doucette

I spent the day yesterday writing “How and why Gloria McCluskey stepped on a citizen’s right to due process.”

This article is behind the Examiner paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.

It’s unrelated to the Richard Doucette story, but in the process of researching the story I learned of the bust of McCluskey that developer Francis Fares had commissioned, and which now sits in the head office of Fares’ King’s Wharf development on the Dartmouth waterfront:

Photo: Halifax Examiner
Photo: Halifax Examiner
McCluskey bust plaque

As a piece of art, I kind of like the bust. There’s a pensiveness and uncertainty in the image of McCluskey that one rarely, if ever, sees in the person of McCluskey, and yet it conveys something like wisdom, or at least world weariness.

But who are we kidding? This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Developers aren’t supposed to be making and displaying busts of politicians, and especially not when they’ve got billion-dollar developments that are working their way through the city bureaucracy and will be voted upon by the very same politician.

It says something that the plaque on the bust doesn’t name the artist. This isn’t about the art — it’s about the relationship between Frances Fares and Gloria McCluskey, period. In that sense, the bust reminds me of Tony Soprano’s painting of Pie-O-My, Ralph Cifaretto’s racehorse:


The horse plays a central role in the drama between Tony and Ralph. Ralph is the equivalent of an old school developer, who crassly and rudely achieves his riches with brute force: “tell that midget not to be shy with the whip” he tells the horse’s trainer, referring to the jockey. Tony, however, is the new school developer. He loves the horse, wants it treated kindly, dotes over it. He calls the horse “our girl.” When Pie-O-My takes ill, Tony sits in the stable all night, lovingly stroking the horse’s neck, telling her everything will be all right. And because Tony’s love is pure, is sophisticated and worldly, he thinks he deserves an ever-greater share of the horse’s winnings.

The new ways are better than the old ways, and more profitable.

When Pie-O-My dies — in a stable fire, possibly set by Ralph for the insurance money (so old school) —Tony and Ralph come to blows. “The fight culminates with Tony shouting at Ralph as he strangles him and bashes his head against the kitchen floor until he finally dies,” explains the Soprano Wiki. “‘She was a beautiful, innocent creature!’ was yelled by Tony as he was bashing Ralph’s head.”

It is the perfect TV moment.

The painting would go on to feature in a future Soprano episode, but I’ve stretched this analogy as far as time allows this morning.

3. No joke

Former Mayor Peter Kelly is the subject of a NSCAD student's art project.. Photo: Tim Bousquet
Former Mayor Peter Kelly is the subject of a NSCAD student’s art project.. Photo: Tim Bousquet

The “Draft Kelly” campaign is not a joke, says CBC.

Of course it’s not a joke. It’s an art project.

4. Wild Kingdom

“Biologists say there’s new hope for struggling bat populations in Canada following laboratory and field trials that treated white-nose syndrome with a common North American bacteria,” reports the CBC:

Researchers at Georgia State University started using the bacteria Rhodococcus rhodochrousin in laboratories to inhibit the growth of fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in 2012, The Nature Conservancy said in a news release. 

I learned how to read with the help of a book called The King, the Mice and the Cheese. The exciting premise of the book was that a king loved cheese, and so had various cheeses stored all about his castle. But then mice came and started eating the cheese, so the king got cats to scare away the mice, but then the cats got up to their mischievous ways so he brings in dogs to get rid of the cats. I forget the sequence, but we go through a bunch more of these ever-bigger animals to get rid of the previous animals — lions are in there somewhere — until we end up with elephants rampaging around the castle, which clearly won’t do. In the end, the king realizes he didn’t have it quite so bad with the mice, so he invites them back to scare away the elephants and agrees to share the cheese with them.


The book is the bedrock of my scientific understanding of ecology. The Australians should’ve read it before shipping in all those giant toads, and the Americans before importing Kudzu.

I fear Rhodococcus rhodochrousin is the cat of the cave world, the start of a never-ending and fatal human tweaking of the natural cave environment.

I also learned some unflattering things about kings from that book.


1. Martello Towers

Prince of Whales Tower

The Prince of Wales Tower in Point Pleasant Park was just one of five Martello Towers built in the Halifax area, explains Peter Ziobrowski, who gives exacting architectural details and the history of each. The others were at Fort Clarence (later the site of the Imperial Oil terminal in Dartmouth), York Redoubt, Georges Island, and Maughers Beach on McNabs Island.

2. Maps of early Halifax

Writes David Jones:

Throughout the last few years, I have spent tens and tens (and probably hundreds) of hours pouring over the beautiful digitized historic maps of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, looking for pre-Deportation Acadian villages, colonial frontier fortifications, portage routes, you name it… A few months ago, a large swath of portefeuille 133 du Service hydrographique de la marine was put online, of special interest to those of us studying 17th and 18th century Nova Scotia.

Jones posted several images from the collection showing the Sawmill River in Dartmouth, including this one:

old map

3. Spryfield

John DeMont is a fan.



City Council (10am, City Hall)—there’s a lot on the agenda today. I may be a bit late to the meeting, as I’ve got something to research related to the meeting. But when I get there I’ll be live-blogging via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer.

It’s hard to observe the meeting and write long articles at the same time, but that’s my hope for today’s meeting. If I can manage it (big if), I’ll have a post up early this evening.


Human Resources (10am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Sandra McKenzie, the deputy minister in the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, will talk about the Schools Bus Program.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15 Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15 Tuesday. Map:

Oceanex Sanderling, cargo, arrived at Pier 41 from St. John’s this morning, will sail back to St. John’s this afternoon
Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro cargo, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning, will sail to sea this afternoon
APL Belgium, container ship, Damietta, Egypt to Fairview Cove West
Torino, car carrier, Fawley, England to Autoport, then sails to sea


I haven’t forgotten about your emails. I’m just ignoring them.

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

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  1. Tim, you may have done the impossible: Created a forum where the comments are actually worth reading! Great work 🙂

  2. You have valid concerns about the use of the bacterium to control the white-nose fungus. However if it is indeed a common bacterium that is already found in the same locations and habitats as the bat colonies (as the linked article suggests), then it would not be a situation analogous to the cane toads etc. Hopefully it is a bacterium that has naturally protected that tiny fraction of the populations that survived in the wild, and the researchers are simply able to magnify and accelerate the protection it provides.

  3. As a rule, biological intervention to already biological (or ecological) problems is a downward spiral, including the case of the cane toads. There are however, a few exceptions to that and biologists are increasingly careful about the associated risks. My guess would be that the introduction of a voracious predator would be the most risky way to do it, whereas introducing a bacterium might be a bit more predictable. In a case somewhere in the middle of those two options, a small beetle was introduced to reduce populations of Purple Loosestrife and it seems to have worked reasonably well.
    Bats are an extremely important group of species and make up about half of the global biodiversity of mammals. The bats in North America are in dire straights and you know, desperate times…
    Hopefully this a problem that can be solved, but in all likelihood it will not be humans who solve it. More likely everything will adapt and get used to a new norm.

    There is a great documentary about the Cane Toads that is quirky and funny ( They say that the fastest, strongest and most aggressive toads always lead the pack and are at the edge of the invading line of toads. Because these toads are able to mate with each other, their offspring become super toads and can invade even faster. The phenomenon is called the Olympic Village Effect, which I think is hilarious.

  4. I hope Examiner readers will take the trouble to respond to Park’s Canada’s call for public comments on the monstrous Never Forgotten monstrosity proposed for Green Cove in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Unless people protest, this wretched blight will go ahead.

    1. Download the Draft Impact Statement:

    2. Fill out the brief comment survey:

    The impact statement, prepared by Stantec, is a shockingly unprofessional whitewash that glosses over the massive flaws in the concept and design of the project. Angry denunciations of the proposal at public meetings are largely ignored, and to the scant extent the objections are noted, they are brushed aside with vapid generalities.

    The main criticism–that a beautiful National Park is a terrible setting for such a garish monstrosity–is dismissed with the explanation that the site “had to be” at the same latitude as the Mother Canada statue at Vimy. Except, it’s isn’t. Vimy is roughly on the same latitude as the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.

    You can read my critique of the monument on Contrarian here:

    You can read comments from Contrarian readers here:

    Parker Donham

    1. Oh gawd. It includes a “Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love”, and a “With Glowing Hearts Sanctuary”. Canada as self-parody.

      “Phase 5 may involve construction of a Gratitude Pavilion.”

  5. The King, the Mice, and the Cheese was an early favourite of mine. Never forgotten the story, or some of the illustrations, but I had forgotten the title. Thanks for the memory jog.