In the harbour


1. Byelections

Results as reported by the CBC:

The unofficial results saw Cape Breton Centre, Liberal David Wilton winning the seat over the NDP’s Tammy Martin by 522 votes. 

The Liberals had an even better showing in Sydney-Whitney Pier with candidate Derek Mombourquette winning the seat by 1,462 votes.

Almost three hours after the polls closed, Dartmouth South was still too close to call, but just before 11 p.m., the NDP’s Marian Mancini had the unofficial win by only 81 votes over Liberal Tim Rissesco. Rissesco had been leading most of the night.

By early this morning, Mancini’s margin had increased to 1,131 votes.

Parker Donham provides this breakdown:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 7.00.18 AM

Voter turnout was 38 per cent in Dartmouth South, 47 per cent in Cape Breton Centre, and 42 per cent in Sydney–Whitney Pier.

Donham and Graham Steele provide analysis below.

2. Peter Kelly, consultant

Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet
Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet

For the most bizarre news story of the week, check out this CBC article:

City councillors in Charlottetown are getting a bump in pay thanks to a non-tendered independent review that was conducted by Peter Kelly, the former mayor of Halifax.


Clifford Lee, Charlottetown’s mayor, says council reached out to numerous people in the Charlottetown area to do the review, but nobody was interested. He says a few council members were tasked with coming up with some names.

“Peter’s name was one of the names we thought of and [we] touched base with him and he was willing to do it,” said Lee.


In the section of the 26-page review containing the author biography, Kelly does not identify himself as the former mayor of Halifax. He mentions that he has more than 30 years of “senior management and consultant experience,” as well as his work on many boards and committees which has left “lasting legacies during his public and private sector work.”

Kelly said while his author biography made no mention of his time as an elected official, it points out that he has extensive experience in municipal government.

“It’s one that if one knows the name as you do, it’s also well known as well,” he told CBC News on Tuesday.

That’s such a wonderful Kellocution that I’ve got to see it again, Buzzfeed style:

It’s one that if one knows the name as you do, it’s also well known as well.

The ceeb continues:

The review found growing expectations and demands on councillors outside of attending regular meetings. A survey of similar-sized cities found the mayor, deputy mayor and councillors in Charlottetown were getting paid up to 12 per cent below the average.

Effective immediately, the mayor’s salary will be increased by $7,000, councillors by $6,000 and the deputy mayor by $5,000.

Kelly was paid “a couple of thousand dollars” for the work.

3. Internet is essential

ACORN demonstrated outside the CRTC Atlantic office in Dartmouth yesterday, “to have the internet deemed an essential service,” reports Metro:

“Internet nowadays has not become a luxury, it’s become a necessity,” Jonethan Brigley of ACORN said.

Brigley is correct. One cannot be a fully participating citizen in today’s world without the internet. Being an informed voter requires the internet. Finding a job requires the internet, and many jobs require employees to have access to the internet at home. Being an informed consumer requires the internet.

In today’s world, the internet is as essential as roads. Like roads, the internet is part of the infrastructure that holds our society together and makes commerce and communication possible. Just as with roads, the internet should be a government service, provided equally to all at no direct cost to the user.

It’s long past time to socialize the provision of internet.

4. Living wage

“The Nova Scotia Fair Wage Coalition is holding an information picket outside McDonald’s on Quinpool Road in Halifax this morning,” reports Dan Arsenault. “The coalition is fighting for a $15 per hour minimum wage.”

Despite a political culture that strives to pit people against each other, and especially against working people, the living wage movement has had remarkable success in the US lately, with an increasing number of cities passing living wage ordinances, requiring any company that deals with the city to pay at least $15/hour.

The living wage movement strikes a chord with people. As the economy continues to stagnate, with most economic gains going to the 1%, companies are flush with cash, and yet wages are decreasing. People who used to be comfortably middle-class find themselves working in low-wage jobs. It’s the McDonaldization of the entire economy.

I think that’s what was behind the recent wave of coffee shop unionization in Halifax. People who were at the stage in their lives — college graduates, on the job market — where people would normally expect to soon find an entry level job in their chosen careers suddenly found that those jobs no longer existed, or if they did exist they paid so low that a second part-time job at a coffee shop was required to make ends meet.

Rebecca Shaw
Rebecca Shaw

The case of Rebecca Shaw is representative. Shaw, the copilot of Flight 3407, which crashed in Buffalo in 2009, was paid just $15,800 a year, and had to take a second job at a Seattle Starbucks. Shaw was sick the night of the flight, but worked anyway because she didn’t want to spend the money for a hotel room. On the flight recorder of the doomed flight, Shaw is heard complaining about her low pay, and that the airline was fighting her over $200 she said she was owed in back pay.

But it’s not just airline pilots who are getting paid shit, it’s the whole range of professional jobs, from child care workers to contracted academics to reporters to surgical technicians.

Pursuing a professional career no longer provides the income necessary for a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. And, as there’s downward movement in the job sector, it’s no longer primarily teenagers working in fast food joints — fast food workers are mostly adults, many with children to raise. As the Tyee reports:

“We’ve had economic downturns in the last couple years; it hasn’t been a great economy,” said Gwen Suprovich, a University of Manitoba labour studies and economics graduate who authored a report on the minimum wage released Tuesday by the Canadian Labour Congress. “More people are looking at what our economy is built on, and how we help people move out of poverty and get good jobs.”

More than one million workers, or 6.7 per cent of Canada’s workforce, toil at the minimum wage levels set by various provinces, according to 2014 Statistics Canada data. But the cross-country rates aren’t increasing fast enough to keep pace with rising costs for families, Suprovich’s report found.

Critics of raising minimum wages include some economists who have argued that lifting the legislated rate leads to higher unemployment by distorting supply and demand for jobs, and small businesses who say they can’t afford to pay more. 

Suprovich said there’s a grain of truth to the latter argument, but only if the minimum wage isn’t raised in a gradual and predictable way.

“Having a large increase [at once] is very devastating — that is worse for all businesses which need time to prepare, especially small ones,” the Winnipeg-based researcher said in a phone interview. “But small businesses aren’t really the ones who are employing most of the minimum wage workers. The majority are large companies with over 100 employees, some of these are very large corporations. 

“They are not using the minimum wage because they’re struggling to get by — they’re not mom-and-pop shops — they’re making millions on the backs of minimum wage workers.”


1. Byelections

Says Graham Steele:

In 2013, the Liberals won Dartmouth South by 1131 votes. That margin was (aided by a very low turnout) erased on Tuesday by NDP victor Marian Mancini. I thought Tim Rissesco was going to squeak out a victory for the Liberals, simply because voters aren’t as angry at the Liberals as the activists think. But it was Mancini’s night to do the squeaking.

That result will worry every Liberal MLA in the Halifax Regional Municipality, if not beyond. Most of them won in 2013 on a Liberal tide. Now they know that what comes in on the tide can be washed out on the tide.

Says Parker Donham:

On the surface, it looks like a great evening for Stephen McNeil’s governing Liberals: Decisive wins in two Cape Breton seats previously held by the NDP against a squeaker loss in Dartmouth South, a seat they won last time. Liberals took 44.3 percent of the combined vote in the three ridings, down just slightly from the 45.7 percent that swept them to power two years ago.

In fact, it’s the NDP who should be celebrating.

The party has been leaderless for two years, its caucus reduced to a five-seat rump, its base smarting from the ineptitude of its rookie turn at the helm. That the party was able to take 35 percent of yesterday’s combined vote puts paid to the triumphalist obituaries so many were writing after its 2013 humiliation.

2. Mother Canada™

Mother Canada™
Mother Canada™

Paul McLeod has updated his Buzzfeed article on the finances of Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, the non-profit group behind the Mother Canada™ proposal. Recall that the group has long promised that no public money will go into the project:

The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation responded to say that it will be looking for federal support through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. The government plans to give out $150 million over two years through the program. The foundation did not say how much they have asked for but said the program did not exist when they began work on Mother Canada.

It’s not clear if the Canada 150 program can be used to build a new monument. The government says the role of the program is to “support the rehabilitation, renovation and expansion of existing community infrastructure.”

Also, the cost of the project has lately been a moving target. When it was first proposed, Mother Canada™ was said to have a $24 million price tag; of late, however, the figure has morphed to $60 million.

Meanwhile, a poll conducted by Postmedia and Mainstreet Technologies has found that 50 per cent of respondents objected to the Mother Canada™ proposal:

For the construction of Mother Canada, just as unsurprisingly, the most disapproval comes from the Atlantic Canada, with 34 per cent strongly disapproving and 18 per cent somewhat disapproving.

Aesthetic and history do matter, says Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history at the University of Toronto, adding very few memorials are memorable.

“Some memorials are ludicrous. Poor Mackenzie King on Parliament Hill looks like something out of Planet of the Apes. Taste matters, as does good design … the gigantic Mother Canada would be better located in ancient Egypt,” he said.

Respondents were also worried about commercialization of public space: 39 per cent said they disapproved of Mother Canada — which includes plans for a gift shop — because of its location in a national park, followed by objection to its location, size and appearance.

The poll had a margin of error of 1.96 percentage points.

And the Chronicle Herald’s editorial board has come out against placing the monstrosity at Green Cove:

For whatever its merits or shortcomings, the Mother Canada proposal is toppling into a sea of inappropriate approvals, conflicts of interest and political interference.


With such blatant conflicts of interest and a suspect process in the approval of national park land for a private purpose, it’s time to eliminate Green Cove from the list of proposed locations for this project.

And the men and women who have fought and died for our country overseas would surely be ill served by a memorial whose lovely but inappropriate location inspires rancour and bitterness, rather than grateful remembrance.

The Mother Canada™ proposal is quickly becoming the laughingstock of the entire country. The latest guffawing comes from Celine Cooper, in the Montreal Gazette:

To be fair, I don’t know that there is any right or wrong way for Canada to commemorate our history of death, war and loss. But it’s the slick mix of bombast, national remembrance, war commemoration and tourism being proposed by the NFNMF that makes me uneasy. Worse, I just can’t take the project seriously: some of the features from the planned site and the “experience” it promises include a “Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love,” “Glorious and Free Stone Pillars,” a “We See Thee Rise Observation Deck” and a “With Glowing Hearts National Sanctuary.”

I mean, honestly.

I’ve never been a fan of gifs, autoplay, or other things moving around uninvited on webpages, but in this case the annoyance of the gif on this National Post column so perfectly gets at the horribleness of Mother Canada™ that I can’t resist:

Mother Canada gif

(I assume the Post lifted the gif from the NFNMF site, but I can’t find it there.)

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Lezlie Lowe’s July 10 column “There will always be a Dartmouth, a Sheet Harbour and a Seaforth,” and Gail Lethbridge’s July 11 column “Halifax? Nope, it’s Dartmouth” stirred me to write this letter.

Although I am not Dartmouth-born or bred, I’ve lived the larger part of my life in Dartmouth after coming here from Montreal in 1942 to work at the Clarke Rues aircraft factory in Eastern Passage. Many years later, after my husband had retired from the RCAF, we came to live permanently in the Halifax area. There was no doubt about our preferred milieu: Dartmouth, which we already knew and loved.

When Halifax went for amalgamation, I believe it missed a great opportunity. Instead of trying to squeeze everyone else under the Halifax umbrella, we should have gone for a new all-encompassing name. The one I wish had been chosen is Chebucto — the real name given to this area by the people who first inhabited it. Does anyone in Canada now remember Port McNicoll or even Fort William? Yet Thunder Bay is recognized coast to coast. Instead of taking the name of the some long-gone English earl, we should be proud Chebuctans!

Obee Benjamin, Dartmouth



Audit and Finance (10am, City Hall)—the committee is poised to award snow and ice removal contracts for next winter. Councillor Steve Craig has said maybe the process ought to be slowed down.


No public meetings.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Wednesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Wednesday. Map:

APL Pearl, container ship, Port Said, Egypt, to Faiview Cove West
Atlantic Conveyor, ro-ro container, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning, sails to sea this afternoon
ZIM Alabama, container ship, arrived at Pier 41 this morning, sails to sea this afternoon
Nolhanava, general cargo, Saint-Pierre to Pier 36
Reliance, cable layer, Cove Point, Maryland to Pier 27
ZIM Shanghai, container ship, New York to Pier 42

Mariposa sails to New York


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 4pm.

Afterwards, we’re recording this week’s Examineradio podcast.

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

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  1. “It’s not clear if the Canada 150 program can be used to build a new monument. The government says the role of the program is to “support the rehabilitation, renovation and expansion of existing community infrastructure.””

    I don’t think that will be a problem for our lords and masters. Bold! New! Action Plan! signs will abound.

  2. Over the next 24 hours we’ll be treated to pathetic coverage of the Halifax Water settlement with CUPE.
    None of which will expose the lies from CUPE and how we the consumers put $2 into the plan for every $1 put in by the employees.
    And we won’t be told that HRM & Halifax water workers have an expensive plan that is much better than the the plan covering municipal employees in Ontario. And a better plan than federal and provincial employees.
    Most journalists are financial illiterates. Coverage of the HRWC lockout has been pathetric, expect more of the same.

  3. “By early this morning, Mancini’s margin had increased to 1,131 votes.”

    When you get a minute, could you provide a link for this? I haven’t been able to find anything about this increase. Thanks!

    1. No link. The CBC article came out around 10pm, when they were still counting ballots. The last ballots to be counted were the early voting ballots, and those results came out later.

      1. Yes, I know that part. The Elections Nova Scotia website still has Marian’s lead at 81 votes so I wondered if something had happened that I didn’t know about.

  4. “It’s long past time to socialize the provision of internet.”

    Agreed! As mentioned by you previously Tim, true socialization will require anonymization. Google and Elon Musk are working to blanket the earth with free internet and drones. They do it because they make more money by giving you $0 bandwidth, and then monitoring you and selling your personal info a dozen times over. True socialization means that it needs to be out of corporate control. People who provide the means for anonymous connectivity are being targeted (see below youtube link).

    Great morning file today!

  5. Not in favour of the Mother Canada statue but if those who are in favour are bent on building it wouldn’t Chebucto Head be the ideal location?

  6. McDonald’s might be a popular target for picketing about low wages, but the Fair Wage Coalition could just as sensibly target Service Nova Scotia or City Hall. There are lots of minimum wage workers in government jobs.

    All three levels of government use “temporary employees,” supplied by private companies. Wages are low, there are no benefits, and no job security. In theory, these jobs can lead to being hired by the government, but many of the actual positions are designated as temporary, with no intentions of ever hiring someone and paying a living wage for the work. This is an invisible contracting out of government jobs – the people doing the work look like government employees, have a government email address and a government ID card – but they are not government employees.

    One of the more curious aspects of the high use of temps in the public sector is the distorting effect on average public sector salaries. Conservative and business groups love to point out the high wages in the public sector compared to the private sector. However, the lowest paid workers in government – the temps – don’t have their salaries listed in government payroll data, because their salaries are not paid by the government (the expense is listed as services contracts). Excluding the earnings of the lowest paid employees bumps up the average, leading to calls on government to reduce its payroll costs. So they lay off a few employees or stop hiring, quietly bring in some temps, proudly announce their savings, and contribute to the downward spiral of wages that hurts everyone.

    1. Absolutely. I’m a temp employee for the government. The government pays the agency $20+/hour and I see $11 of that, with no options/infrastructure for a raise, and no benefits. I’ve been here roughly three years.

  7. Smitty’s Top 10 reasons we should NOT build Mother Canada:

    10. What’s she looking at out there anyway……………?
    9. They’re building an identical one in Argentina, only taller
    8. It doesn’t look at all like Don Cherry
    7. Women don’t dress like that any more, except maybe in Boonamoogwaddy
    6. No visible tattoos
    5. It can’t be seen from outer space
    4. When you pick it up, MADE IN CHINA is stamped on the bottom
    3. Why not Father Canada, Aboriginal Canada, Pride Canada………..?
    2. There’s no revolving restaurant at the top
    1. It is an oversized, pug-ugly piece of kitsch

    1. The answer to stopping this statue is clear: someone needs to write a blog about why it perpetuates rape culture, and then they need to tweet about it. Project canceled, and home in time for supper.

  8. Good take on the living wage movement. The story about the pilot is one I hadn’t heard before – astonishing. Students, former unionized factory workers in Ontario and Liverpool and Port Hawkesbury, and all the other people who have a shrinking number of choices need to earn enough to live on. Thanks for that. The commentary on the by-elections was illuminating too.

  9. I’m wondering why the proposed location for Mother Canada wasn’t the top of Smokey. Green Cove is about the most boring part of the trail.

    Is it possible that NS park administrators are harder to buy than Parks Canada suits?