1. Money shower becomes money hurricane

We’ve updated the “It’s Raining Money in Nova Scotia” map to show $69,554,000 in public money being spent by the Rankin government since June 7 in its pre-not-an-election-campaign. You can zoom in and click on the money bags to get details about each expenditure.

Information collated by Jennifer Henderson; Google Map made by myself.

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2. Sobering centres

A screenshot of grainy surveillance video shows three uniformed police officers and a man laying on a brown brick floor. On the right there's a bench where prisoners would typically sit while getting booked. On the left there's a plexiglas barrier between the officers and a booking officer in an office.
Surveillance video from the booking area at Halifax Regional Police headquarters shows constables Justin Murphy (left), Donna Lee Paris (centre), and Ryan Morris (right) preparing Corey Rogers’ personal belongings for booking. Rogers is laying on the floor with a spit hood over his head. — Photo: Screenshot/Nova Scotia Police Review Board/HRP Credit: Screenshot/Nova Scotia Police Review Board/HRP

“A new report from the city’s public safety advisor recommends moving ahead with a tailored sobering centre in the hopes of diverting some frequently-intoxicated people out of the drunk tank,” reports Zane Woodford:

Sobering centres are safe places for people to sleep off the effect of drugs or alcohol. They’re sometimes located with detox centres or emergency shelters, and typically have healthcare workers on staff. The staff triage people to the hospital if they need medical attention, or to cells if they become violent. There are examples of sobering centres across Canada, including in Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Victoria.

Click here to read “Halifax staff recommend council consider sobering centre as alternative to drunk tank.”

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3. Publicity stunt

A photo of Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin standing in front of the welcome to Nova Scotia sign at the border. She's wearing a grey trenchcoat and a blue mask.
Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin as a greeter at the border. Photo: Facebook

“Tim Houston did the right thing, and it may cost him a legislature seat he can’t afford to lose,” writes Stephen Kimber:

Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin did the wrong thing, and it may make her the de-facto leader of an anti-vaxxer crazies’ cult no self-respecting registered nurse should ever want to be within spitting distance of.

And Iain Rankin, whose own mixed-message, about-face thing not surprisingly upset a lot of people and triggered the Smith-McCrossin wrong thing, may ultimately emerge electorally unscathed from a likely no-win with a big win, thanks largely to Smith-McCrossin’s publicity stunt.

Just another week in pre-election Nova Scotia.

Click here to read “Border crossed.”

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4. Space opera

A photoshopped illustration of the mythical Cyclone 4M rocket, with the earth below it. The rocket is a long white cylinder, shaped like a white crayon. There's a butane torch flame shooting out the end.
They made a pretty picture of a rocket in space, so everyone in Nova Scotia thought it must be real.

In early 2020, before all this, Joan Baxter reported that the PR firm Narrative Research was conducting a “push poll” — a telephone call disguised as a survey but actually intended to spread propaganda — on behalf of Atlantic Gold, a company preparing to devastate a large chunk of Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore environment and fill the highways with ore-carrying trucks for a couple of years.

Now that all this appears to be winding down, Narrative is back to its old tricks, reports Baxter:

Once again, Narrative Research is calling people in eastern Nova Scotia with a survey, but this time it’s to tell them how wonderful Maritime Launch Services (MLS) is and how its proposed spaceport in Canso is good for them and the economy, and oh yes, to ask a few questions too, but only after the propaganda spiel is delivered.

(The Examiner has reported in depth on the proposed spaceport here, here, here, and here.)

The calls seem to be going to people in Antigonish and Guysborough Counties, and Port Hawkesbury. Who’s behind the survey — whether it’s Maritime Launch Services (maybe it’s feeling flush with the $10.5 million in financing it finally secured in May?), or the project’s usual cheerleaders, the “private /public servants” in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough — it’s impossible to say. The Examiner has contacted Narrative Research for confirmation that they are doing the survey, and is still waiting for a reply.

But it is clear from the way the survey is designed that someone is trying to drum up public support — or make it look like there’s public support – for the spaceport.

Click here to read “Maritime Launch Services has hired a PR firm to conduct a ‘push poll’ for its proposed spaceport in Canso.”

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5. COVID-19

A graph of the jagged mountain shaped line that is the daily case numbers.
The daily new case number and seven-day rolling average since March 28.

There has been an outbreak of the plague among a “linked group of families” (whatever that means) in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone, with at least 21 new cases (of 27 — the others were travellers) announced from Friday and Saturday connected to that outbreak. Thankfully, by Sunday the number of new cases had dropped to just three — two close contacts in the Central Zone and a traveller in the Eastern Zone.

Vaccination data were not provided over the weekend, but by all anecdotal reports, a very large number of newly or doubly vaccinated will be announced this afternoon.

Hang in. We’ll get there.

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6. Bar Harbor ferry terminal

A technical drawing in various colours, showing the aerial view of the proposed marina.
An illustration of one of three concept-level designs for a new marina at the former ferry terminal site on Eden Street in Bar Harbor. Graphic: GEI

The ferry terminal in Bar Harbor, Maine is falling apart, reports Ethan Genter for the Mount Desert Islander:

The consultant hired by the town to study the deteriorating former state ferry terminal laid out three concept-level designs for a new marina at the Eden Street site and said doing work on the north pier — where the CAT ferry berths — in the near future would be a “reasonable approach.” 

All the concepts from GEI Consultants involved the long-term demolition of the north pier and replacing it with dolphins (the structure, not the marine mammal). 

A dolphin is a structure built out in the water that isn’t connected to land. It can help protect piers from being struck by ships. Continues Genter:

The former ferry terminal was built in 1956 and was designed specifically for the Bluenose ferry, which is no longer in service. The obsolete design currently consists of two causeways, a north pier, a south pier, two steel vehicle bridges between the piers and a dilapidated building that is a remnant of the former ferry service use. Bay Ferries, which runs the CAT between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia, also owns a roll-on/roll-off transfer bridge, a steel pontoon barge and pile dolphins extending from the north causeway.

Bannon showed pictures of pilings with gaping holes in them, exposed rebar and other issues at the terminal site.

“I don’t think there’s any benefit to saving the structure,” said council member Matthew Hochman, though he did want to see some of the south pier preserved.

All the marina concepts carried a rough price estimate of about $14 million. 

Council member Erin Cough advocated for doing the north pier work, saying it was an easy place to start, no matter what the plan is for the rest of the facility. 

“I think a priority should be making sure that the CAT is taken care of,” she said.

Bay Ferries had planned to return to service in 2020, but those hopes were dashed by the pandemic. Now the ferry is expected to come back next spring. 

In a letter to town officials Tuesday, Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald reaffirmed the company’s “long-term interest in working with the Town to provide ferry service to Nova Scotia and a long-term stable source of revenue to the Town.” 

This commitment on paper has been backed up by the company’s recent $10 million upgrade to the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, terminal, as well as two major projects to its vessel. 

“We thank the Town for its patience and understanding through all of this and look forward to working with you to assist the Town in realizing the potential of the ferry terminal property,” MacDonald wrote.

Wait… “the company’s recent $10 million upgrade to the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, terminal”? 

To be clear, Bay Ferries does not own the Yarmouth ferry terminal and did not pay for the upgrades. As the Yarmouth Vanguard reported in 2018:

The three levels of government are contributing more than $9 million in joint funding towards the phase-one redevelopment of the Yarmouth International Ferry Terminal.

Work includes upgrading and relocating passenger inspection line booths, replacing the pontoon and transfer bridge and improving overall terminal facilities such as external lighting and passenger waiting areas.

The federal and Nova Scotia governments are both contributing up to $3 million through the Small Communities Fund.

The town and municipality of Yarmouth are each contributing $1.2 million to the project. The Municipality of Argyle is contributing $300,000. The ferry terminal is a municipal-owned asset — having been transferred to the community by the federal government prior to the resumption of ferry service in 2014 — but Argyle declined the option of becoming one of the municipal owners and so it is committing to the terminal’s upgrades on a lower scale than the other two units.

I don’t know if Genter just got that bit wrong, or if MacDonald misrepresented the upgrading of the Yarmouth ferry terminal in his letter to the Bar Harbor town council. I’ll ask for a copy of it.

But a tremendous amount of public money is going into maintaining a privately operated ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine that doesn’t even sail. I honestly don’t even know how to add up all the money spent on the Canadian side of the equation — the annual subsidy plus the management guarantee plus the ferry terminal upgrades plus the marketing plus who knows what all else. And now the citizens of Maine are going to pump another $14 million in their currency into the project (to be fair, the town council envisions that the terminal will also be used by cruise ships, another industry with phantom economic impacts).

At some point, that boat should probably start justifying its existence.

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1. Marcia Sabowitz and her cats

Stephen Archibald went to Robbie Burns plaza in Victoria Park to ruminate on a bunch of things, but mainly to check out the donor bricks that pave the terrace in front of Robbie. He happened upon the Hfx Ladies Bicycle Club brick, and then:

A surprising discovery was the name of our former mayor PETER KELLY followed by what could be an apology: SORRY.

Stephen Archibald's photo of paving stones, one of which is imprinted with "Peter Kelly", and right next to that is one with "Sorry".
Photo: Stephen Archibald

“My real reason for scanning donor bricks was to locate Marcia Sabowitz and her cats,” continues Archibald:

Surrounding her name in the shape of a diamond are the names of eight of her cats. To allow for no ambiguity, each is headed MARCIA’S CAT. Seven of the names suggest Marcia had a serious affection for musical theatre, as well as cats.

A photo of a pigeon on top of a cluster of paving stones, one with the name Marcia Sabowitz, and the others with names of several of her cats. The pigeon looks confused. But don't they always?
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Here are my guesses for the origins of the names:

ROSA: Rosa Melba Ponzillo was an American operatic soprano.

DAISY: American soprano Daisy Newman.

EZIO: Ezio Fortunato Pinza, an Italian opera singer with a rich, smooth and sonorous bass voice.

JUSSI: Swedish tenor Jussi Björling.

SONDHEIM: Stephen Sondheim, composer and lyricist for musical theatre.

JENNY: “Jenny” Lind was a Swedish opera singer, often called the “Swedish Nightingale”.

AMELITA: Amelita Galli-Curci was an Italian coloratura soprano.

BUTTERSCOTCH: perhaps Marcia just wanted a simple, sweet name. Search “Butterscotch cat” and you’ll see many delightful pictures.

This is the best blog post ever.

This morning, I tried but failed to find an obituary for Marcia Sabowitz. A tiny bit of information about her comes from a Unitarian Church bulletin profile of her husband Norm Sabowitz in 2014:

Norm went on to become a librarian with Fisheries Canada for many years and eventually retired from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Along the way, his second marriage was to a high school teacher, Wendy, and his third to a librarian. “When Marcia and I got together we were amazed to have two salaries. We decided to buy a house and pay it off. That’s the house I live in now. She died of cancer about 12 years ago.”

Marcia went by a different last name most of her life, but I don’t know what it was. She possibly lived in Dartmouth as a child? If anyone knows, drop me a line.

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2. Representing!

A senior man wearing a dark ball cap and his female partner walk towards a store, pushing an empty shopping cart. On the back of his white T shirt is written in capital letters "Trump lives in Amherst."

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The Halifax Examiner logo, which is Halifax Examiner in capital letters on a black background, with a simple icon of a magnifying glass in yellow.

The Halifax Examiner is hiring!

Through the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), the Halifax Examiner has secured funding for a full-time African Nova Scotian community reporter. This is a contract position, exact dates still to be determined, but the contract will be for about nine months. It is our hope that the contract will be extended or the position will be converted into a staff position, but at this point we can’t guarantee that. Salary is competitive for the Halifax area.

Who we are: The Halifax Examiner is an award-winning digital news site covering Halifax City Hall, the Nova Scotian provincial government, COVID-19, resource issues (such as mining, fisheries, and forestry), social justice, prisons, breaking news, and more. We have a small staff of employees and regularly contributing freelancers, and are growing.

Who you are: This position is ideal for a reporter early in their career or between jobs, but we are also open to someone with an unconventional career path. You have, or can develop, connections in the communities you’ll be covering. You are a reporter with strong reporting and interview skills. You can work independently, but also join in team efforts, such as our upcoming investigation of the housing situation in Nova Scotia. You will have a nose for unusual and compelling stories, and can humanize the subjects of your articles. You are comfortable with digital news platforms and social media. You have a driver’s licence and access to a vehicle.

What you’ll do: The African Nova Scotian community reporter will be covering the Black communities in the Halifax Regional Municipality and throughout the province. In addition to daily news, you will bring an historical lens to contemporary issues, profile community members, investigate how government institutions interact with the communities, look at environmental issues, and reveal challenges and opportunities in the communities. 

Application deadline is July 9. Email resumé and samples of your work to:

Tim Bousquet, Editor

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Regional Centre Community Council (Monday, 6pm) — live streamed on YouTube


Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am) — live streamed on YouTube, with captioning on a text-only site



No meetings


Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am) — via video conference: Youth Workforce Programs, with Duff Montgomerie, Marjorie Davison, and Nancy Hodinott; also, appointments to agencies, boards, and commissions

On campus



Separating home and work support group (Monday, 12pm) — info and registration here

In the harbour

06:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
07:00: Lagrafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Reykjavik, Iceland
10:00: One Hangzhou Bay, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11:00: MOL Experience, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Port Everglades, Florida
11:45: Lagrafoss sails for Portland
21:30: One Hangzhou Bay, container ship,  sails for New York
23:00: Tropic Hope sails for Georgetown, Guyana

Cape Breton
No arrivals or departures.


No heat shaming, Bousquet.

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

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  1. “…a tremendous amount of public money is going into maintaining a privately operated ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine that doesn’t even sail. ”

    Yes but thank goodness the Liberals saved the province from all that outside money coming into the film industry by almost killing it in 2015. Responsible economic management. Got it.

  2. “No heat shaming.”

    Not a problem. Yes, it is warm here in NS; but we could be on the west coast where it is damn fucking hot!

    I much prefer temperatures in the 20s, but I’ll take today’s somewhere around 30 (before humidex) rather than something in the upper 40s, which is what many on the west coast will be suffering through. And many of them, like many here in our province, don’t have any place to go and cool off because they are people without homes.

    I’m very thankful today for my apartment where the inside temperature is under 25. Thank you to my Dad and his wife for providing funds that I used for blackout curtains to keep most of the heat outside.