This date in history
In the harbour


1. Bill 148

The legislature passed Bill 148 this morning. Check out @MichaelTGorman and @larochecbc for live updates.

2. Lobsters


The lobster catch is huge, reports Greg Bennett of the Yarmouth Vanguard:

Catches are up. Way up for many boats.


Normally, catches fall precipitously after the first few days of the season, but [lobster buyer Michael] Cotter says fishermen are still bringing lots of lobsters into their home ports almost two weeks in.

 “Everyone’s catching them,” he says, noting that offshore, midshore and inshore boats were all reporting a strong harvest in the first few weeks of the season.


If there’s a fly in the ointment, it is in the quality of the lobsters being landed, notes Cotter.

Part of the problem is that water temperatures have remained high as unusually warm weather has settled in over the province.

Cotter thinks the sheer number of lobsters in the water meant a lot of the animals were hungry, affecting their quality when brought to market.

Surprisingly, even with the large catch the price is keeping steady at $6.25/pound, reports Bennett. In the short term, this is good news for the local communities that depend on the catch. But I can’t help but think the ocean’s broken.

3. “High prey drive”

Rachelle Coward and Diamond. Photo: Canadian Press
Rachelle Coward and Diamond. Photo: Canadian Press

The un-named owners of Bruce, the pit bull that killed Rachelle Coward’s dog Diamond, issued a statement yesterday:

Bruce loves people and gets along with other dogs, but has a high prey drive.

No shit.

The owners have been charged, reports the CBC:

Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said the pit bull owner has been charged with a dog attack, running at large and having an unlicensed dog.

The minimum fine for a dog attack is $300 and carries a maximum of $5,000. If unpaid, the owner could go to jail for up to 60 days.

Presumably it was the dog running at large, not the owner, but who knows, it’s Dartmouth.

Incidentally, there is nothing in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act that says people issued bylaw citations can’t be named. Without such a prohibition, when asked, the city should name the person.

4. Tireless

A police report from yesterday:

A man faces an impaired driving charge after a call from a concerned citizen last evening [Wednesday] in Dartmouth.  

At 8:45 p.m., police received a call from a witness who observed a vehicle driving while missing a front tire on Highway 111 near Mic Mac Boulevard. The witness followed the vehicle and updated responding officers with its location before losing sight of it near Burnside Drive. An officer observed the vehicle travelling over the MacKay Bridge towards Halifax and stopped the vehicle at the Windsor Street Exchange. A 28-year-old male driver was arrested for impaired driving and is scheduled to appear in Dartmouth Provincial Court on January 26, 2016.    


1. Sick box

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

As a child, Stephen Archibald had a sick box:

The cache actually doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas but was our family “sick box.” When a child was ill in bed this quite nice, old wooden box would materialize.


Items have been added and subtracted but there is a core collection I remember from the early 1950s. These tiny tin trains for example, chugged through many mountain passes of bed spread.

Of course he still has it.

2. Health costs

The real problem with the provincial budget, writes Graham Steele, is the cost of health care:

Each year, the health system represents a larger portion of the overall budget. Health costs are climbing faster than provincial revenue. Unless there are structural changes to health care, that trend will continue.

When health costs are steadily climbing, everything else in the provincial budget has to be squeezed and squeezed and squeezed. Just look at the CBC Nova Scotia news page. The lack of adequate funding is an undercurrent in many of the news stories: higher tuition, crumbling roads and bridges, inadequate mental health care, stresses in the classroom, flooded hospitals … the list goes on an on.

3. Christmas songs

YouTube video

“Am I a Christmas song apologist?” asks Lezlie Lowe. “Am I making excuses because of my privilege? I have wrestled for a week with the legacy of Geldof’s lyrics [of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”] and come to this: his words spell out our very essence. And it’s magnificently complex.”

[Video, explained.]

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Twenty horses in the middle of the city, across from a school and a hospital, but no chickens allowed here.

Odd, isn’t it?

Derek Mathers, Halifax



No public meetings.

The OvalUpdates here.


Legislature sits (all day, Province House)

This date in history

On December 18, 1992, federal Fisheries Minister John Crosbie cut groundfish quotas up to 70 per cent, saying there were “too many plants, too many boats, too many people chasing fish.” The same day, National Sea Products closed its plant in Canso.


Halifax's Anchor City Rollers are legally bad ass.
Halifax’s Anchor City Rollers are legally bad ass.
Halifax’s Anchor City Rollers are legally bad ass.

An emergency bill was tabled at the Maine legislature yesterday; if passed in January, the bill will legalize… roller derby. Reports the Portland Press Herald:

“Can I just clarify that we’re now considering an emergency bill that seeks to promote roller derby?” asked House Republican leader Kenneth Fredette of Newport.


The problem lies within a provision of law that defines the responsibilities of skaters at roller rinks. It says, “A skater attempting to overtake other skaters shall do so in a manner that avoids collision with objects and other skaters in that skater’s field of vision.”

The prohibition was adopted by the Legislature in 1991 in an apparent attempt to limit the liability of rink owners and shift it to skaters.


“Changing this law is going to legalize roller derby in Maine, which has been — technically — illegal,” said Heather Steeves, 28, who skates as Hard Dash for Maine Roller Derby. The timing is important, she said, because Maine Roller Derby has a capital campaign underway to buy a property to grow the sport, in part by creating a junior roller derby for children and young women.

“Derby is such a positive influence in so many women’s lives in Maine, but most people don’t even know about the sport,” said Steeves, who founded Rock Coast Rollers in Rockland. “We have several leagues in rural areas where there are not a lot of options for adult women to exercise and build a community.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Friday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Friday. Map:

Dinkeldiep, ro-ro cargo, arrived at Pier 42 this morning from Saint-Pierre, then sails back to Saint-Pierre
CSAV Rio Grey, car carrier, Emden, Germany to Autoport, then sails to sea

Oceanex Sanderling sails to St. John’s



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

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  1. The lobsters are moving north from the Gulf of Maine as it warms. Unfortunately the Gulf comes all the way up to the tip of Nova Scotia and the warming is on the way and the lobsters will keep on moving.

    Maybe it’s time to start treating pit bulls like guns. All their defenders sound like the people who say, “I didn’t know it was loaded.”

  2. Thanks Tim!
    “Presumably it was the dog running at large, not the owner, but who knows, it’s Dartmouth.”
    Love it. Made my day.

  3. Health Care – is sickness care in this province, like most other places. If we had true wellness care (vision, dental, physiotherapy, dietary, etc., plus stronger incentives to encourage physical activity for all ages) we’d fend off an awful lot of the high cost illnesses that we currently deal with. High prey drive dog – too bad it didn’t have a stronger territorial instinct and stayed on its own property. Pursuing a small pet into others territory indicates a creature that is out of control. Sick Box – I had a pile of books that I reread whenever I was home with a cold.

  4. Tim,
    The pit bull that killed Rachelle Coward’s dog Diamond story can only be newsworthy in a two-horse town like ours.
    I sincerely hope that was the last time you reported on this touchy-feely stuff; crap happens. The pit bull owner has been charged. Hope dude gets a fined and learns from it.

  5. Re: Health costs. Fascinating piece by Graham Steele. He informs the reader that the province has a “structural deficit”. O.K. Good to know, thanks for that. He also tells us that health care costs are growing. Who knew? He then goes on to tell us that successive premiers have failed to tackle the deficit and McNeil will also fail. That’s uplifting. Finally, he says that putting the boots to all public sector workers won’t solve the problem, but he approves of the move anyway and admires McNeil for passing this “well crafted” legislation. I hope the financially strapped CBC didn’t pay too much for this well crafted “analysis”.

    Mr. Steele does a great job of telling us where we are (and where we’ve been for some time) but offers no insight into how we got here or how we might possibly get out of this mess. One major factor – which he neglects to mention – is the fact that federal transfers for our “national” health care system have been drastically cut so that both Liberal and Conservative governments could attempt to balance their budgets while lowering taxes for corporations and the most well-off Canadians. And in that regard, there is an ideological reason for this; the conservative notion of starving the beast. Just keep cutting health care until it is no longer sustainable, then turn it over to the private insurance companies.

    Finally, a safe prediction: When the dust settles on all of this, our local hotels will do a bang-up business catering to recruiters from various American HMOs and hospitals looking for doctors and nurses. But that’s all right, everyone knows that we have too many of both.

  6. Who ate Graham Street’s brain. Issuing a statement about how it’s all about healthcare is neo-liberally simplistic. Everyone knows health care is a major portion of our provincial and national budget. We’ve decided a long fucking time ago that we are going to throw some of our money in a hat to look after each other when we are sick. Without talking about employment and wages and taxes and like why there are only going to be old people living in Nova Scotia soon, the comment sounds empty and misleading.

    1. Great point, they often trot out the idea that infrastructure spending will increase tax revenue and build up the economy. They then complain it’s too expensive to actually build it. It’s bizarre they should wail on about healthcare and then cut everything else that would actually support increased expenditure in healthcare. As someone who lives in a rural area, a great way of increasing the economy is finding ways to get Nova Scotia produced products into the hands of Nova Scotians, keeping our money here will make us all wealthier. When it’s cheaper to buy apples from Washington state than from the Annapolis Valley, something is seriously wrong.

    2. Right on, David Frevola. One could write a treatise on how wrong Steele is in his analysis but let this one fact suffice for now. Over the last four years provincial government health spending has increased by less than the rate of inflation. In other words, there has been a reduction in health spending. If health costs are rising faster than provincial revenues then we need to be looking at provincial revenues and how to increase them. Over to you, former Minister of finance.

    3. Health care costs can be lowered, but that requires long term investments, patience, and drastic measures like enforcing existing environmental regulations. Scapegoats and simple solutions are much easier to sell.

  7. A three-wheel drive for almost FIVE MILES????? Over the bridge???? Where are the law-ewnforcemtn crews when they’re needed??? This is RIDICULOUS, also perhaps a tribute to the vehicle able to be dragged that distance without collapsing its undercarriage. But, REALLY…….

  8. I’ve noticed some wierd parallels between gun culture in the States (especially the type who own assault rifles for home defense) and a subset of people who own pit bulls, german shepherds, etc. I’m not a fan of guns except as tools for those who need them, but at least guns (even ar-15s) can’t attack people or dogs by themselves.

    1. Now that you mention it, I see the similarity but I would extend to 95% of dog owners as most feel their dogs can go and do whatever they please. I like dogs I just don’t like most dog owners.

  9. Perhaps it’s BRUCE’s OWNERS who needs to be euthanised.

    Homeward Bound also bears at least some of the responsibility for adopting out a DANGEROUS DOG to IRRESPONSIBLE people who are so self-absorbed that they eschew even the most basic dog ownership responsibilities like a pocket-change priced LICENCE!.

    Yes, Pit Bulls can be «sweet» and many are «loved by everybody» however, RESPONSIBLE Pit Bull owners take great care to AVOID «prey-seeking» situations, do NOT depend on an ABNSENTEE-substitute collar (supposing it was Abloy-locked Titanium!) to keep the dog UNDER CONTROL, and as most adopting agencies insist, keep escape-prone dogs SECURELY FENCED.

    MY sincere sympathy to Rachelle Coward. She’lll now be haunted by the spectre of BRUCE returning to rip apart her remaining oet. BRUCE needs to be either euthanised (although that would bother me not a little) OR, adopted to a RESPONSIBLE family with a firmly-embedded dog control ethos — NOT a bunch of irresponsible cry-baby entitlement pretenders.