1. Ocean temperatures

“The Earth’s oceans have never been warmer,” report Tim Meko and Dan Stillman for the Washington Post this morning:

Every day since late March, the world’s average sea surface temperature has been well above the previous highest mark for that day. And there will be ripple effects: Marine heat waves are affecting about 44 percent of the global ocean, whereas only 10 percent is typical, and they can have “significant impacts on marine life as well as coastal communities and economies,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The exceptionally warm oceans are making heat waves worse, disrupting marine life and destroying coral reefs. They are also intensifying fires and flooding by increasing land temperatures, and could make hurricanes stronger.

A map of the North Atlantic, colour coded for the temperature of water. A dark reddish brown spot is off Newfoundland.
Ocean temperatures off Atlantic Canada are as much as 10º C higher than normal. Credit: Tim Meko, with data from NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch.

And the worst of the ocean warming is here, off Atlantic Canada:

The North Atlantic has baked in record daily warmth every day since early March. With the average sea surface temperature in this region now approaching 77 degrees Fahrenheit, as hot as it’s ever been and more than 2.5 degrees above average, the North Atlantic has warmed almost beyond the most extreme predictions of climate models.

The hottest zone has shifted from near Britain in June to the waters off the coast of Newfoundland, which this month have heated to a staggering 5 to 10 degrees Celsius (9 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal. This super-heated water could fuel stronger storms later this summer and fall.

“Here we do have some evidence that something exceptional is happening to North Atlantic sea surface temperatures,” wrote Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth and the tech company Stripe. “… The specific drivers of this anomaly … are still under investigation by scientists so it will be some time before we know for sure what’s driving these regional extremes.”

This explains why last week’s floods were so devastating.

There have been two tropical storms in the Atlantic already this year, but hurricane season doesn’t begin in earnest until late summer, and the season is now lasting into November. Should a storm come our way, it will be fuelled by the warm ocean waters, and could lead to historic damage.

Maybe we should prepare for that. Or not…

2. Four years after it was passed, the Coastal Protection Act still isn’t implemented

two pickup trucks and an excavator at a construction site
Construction has begun on a small parcel of land at Eagle Head Beach owned by former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet / Halifax Examiner

“The latest storm to hit the province and cause widespread flooding prompted reporters to ask Premier Tim Houston when the government intends to introduce regulations that would implement the Coastal Protection Act, which was passed four years ago,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

The regulations would prescribe how close to the coast and to flood plains new homes and businesses could be built. Two rounds of public consultations have already taken place and Environment Minister Tim Halman, who was out of town attending a ministerial conference, has twice postponed introducing them. In May, Halman suggested a public education campaign would be launched to improve compliance with the new rules. On Thursday, Houston said implementation of the act passed in 2019 “would move forward with more consultations.”

“I personally don’t think this should be a one-size fits all, so it’s important to have those consultations with communities around the province,” Houston said. “There are municipal planning and zoning processes, so to suggest that legislation is the only way to do this is something I don’t agree with.”

NDP leader Claudia Chender said she is mystified about why the Houston government is stalling on implementing legislation that all political parties supported in 2019.

“It defies logic that given the premier says climate change is real — and that we are facing increasing examples of its impact on our province — that we wouldn’t act in every possible way,” Chender said. “I think the premier’s comments offer a clear indication. He’s concerned that private property owners won’t have access to the coast in whatever manner they want… Nova Scotians enjoy their coast, yes, but we need to protect it on their behalf. That takes leadership and I think the government is abdicating that responsibility.”

Click or tap here to read “Houston says Nova Scotia coastal protection regulations need more consultation; progress continues rebuilding roads, bridges.”

Hey, Peter Kelly is happy, so there’s that.

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3. Man who had gun pointed at him alleges discrimination

A still from the video of a Halifax Regional Police officer threatening to shoot a Black man. Credit: DeRico Symonds/Twitter

“A Black man threatened at gunpoint by police on video in 2021 is suing the municipality, alleging the officer discriminated upon him, assaulted him, and violated his Charter rights,” reports Zane Woodford.

Woodford reported on the incident soon after it happened:

“I will fill you full of fuckin’ lead,” the officer said. “Stop fuckin’ walking.”

“You’re not allowed to fuckin’ shoot me in my back for no reason,” the man replied.

Then the man runs away. The officer starts to chase him, still pointing his gun, but he doesn’t shoot and doesn’t continue to chase the man.

The Black man is Roech Chan, and he is now represented by lawyer Hanna Garson. In Chan’s lawsuit, the officer is identified as “Constable Kirsten MacKay,” which is probably a misspelling of Constable Kristen MacKay’s name.

The lawsuit provides a more detailed and descriptive narrative of the interaction between MacKay and Chan. Chan is accusing the police of negligence, assault, and of violating Chan’s Charter rights.

None of the accusations have been tested in court, and the municipality has yet to file a defence.

Click or tap here to read “Black man threatened at gunpoint by Halifax cop in 2021 sues HRM.”

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4. SIRT clears officer

The main sign that reads Police Headquarters on the HRP building on Gottingen Street in June 2021.
Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street in June 2021. — Photo: Zane Woodford

“Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team has cleared Halifax Regional Police officers of wrongdoing in a 2021 interaction in the drunk tank,” reports Zane Woodford:

SIRT released a report on Thursday following an investigation it started in December 2022 into a December 2021 incident.

The Halifax Examiner reported on a lawsuit by the complainant in December 2022. She claimed officers struck her in the head with a baton…

SIRT director Alonzo Wright, in his report, said that didn’t happen. He referred to the woman as the Affected Party (AP). Police arrested the woman in Dartmouth after someone called to complain she was drunk and disturbing their family…

Wright noted the complaint wasn’t made until after the lawsuit, and made reference to last year’s Examiner article.

“This matter received one sided and biased press coverage that sensationalized the AP’s allegations without any supporting documentation and essentially defamed one of the officers that caused serious financial obligations to that officer personally and was based on no evidence whatsoever,” Wright wrote.

Reached by phone on Thursday, Wright refused to confirm he was referring to the Examiner’s reporting.

Click or tap here to read “SIRT clears Halifax police of wrongdoing in drunk tank case that sparked lawsuit.”

Wright’s criticism of the Examiner is entirely inappropriate. I take this very seriously.

The Examiner regularly reports on court filings, especially those alleging inappropriate actions on the part of police. This is what a free press does; it’s the point of a free press — to hold the powerful to account.

We are also fair, and accurate. Whenever we report on such a case, we make a point of saying where the case stands in the legal process, and we keep abreast of the case as it moves through the courts. We keep a running list of such cases and pull the court files whenever there are new filings, and then report on those.

In this case, Woodford’s initial reporting included this:

None of the defendants has filed a defence. The allegations in the attached statement of claim have not been proven in court.

And, as Woodford reports Thursday, “The defendants never filed statements of defence in the case. Had they done so, the Examiner would have reported on those as well.”

In this case, according to SIRT, when SIRT investigators, who are police officers, attempted to interview the complainant, she retracted her story. And now we’re reporting on that.

The SIRT director is apparently saying that there should be no media coverage of complaints against police. That should concern all of us.

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5. Flood damage

A blue car hangs on a guard rail and into a river.
A car lodged on a guardrail and partially submerged in flood water along the Little Sackville River in Middle Sackville, on Saturday, July 22, 2023. Credit: Communications Nova Scotia

“Nearly 500 sections of paved and gravel roads and 60 road shoulders that were damaged in last weekend’s historic have been repaired. That’s according to a press release from the province on Thursday,” reports Suzanne Rent:

About 20 of the province’s roads remain closed. That’s down from 60 roads that were closed on Saturday. Residents of three homes in South Rawdon, Hants County are isolated because of damage to Meek Road, although residents can get in and out on all-terrain vehicles.

Nineteen bridges that needed minor repairs are now reopened, but another 29 are still closed as work continues, while seven other bridges will need to be replaced. One of the closed bridges is Goat Lake Bridge near Exit 7 on Highway 103. That section is closed between exits seven and eight. Drivers can use a detour on Highway 3.

Click or tap here to read “40 Nova Scotia roads reopen after floods; work continues to repair, replace bridges.”

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6. Risley: Don’t give public money to Melford; give it to me instead

The superport of Melford, which will never exist.

In an op-ed published by the Globe and Mail, John Risley has come out against government funding for the proposed superport at Melford.

The company that owns the land at Melford (thanks to government expropriation of it from its original residents, including a 78-year-old man who had to be dragged out of his home kicking and screaming) has changed hands a few times, but the project appears now to be backed by a New York hedge fund called Cyrus Capital Partners. Proponents are asking the federal government to simply give them $175 million and, remarkably, the feds are taking the request seriously. I really have to get in on this hedge fund racket.

Risley makes a couple of sensible arguments against federal funding for Melford: first, there’s plenty of existing capacity at the ports of Halifax and Saint John, and second, no one is going to spend the money needed for the rail lines to service the new port — “The cost of unloading a ship anywhere in Eastern Canada and moving its containerized cargo to mid-America (the destination of most such cargo now) is dominated by rail expenses, not port-related costs,” notes Risely, correctly.

But then the op-ed goes sideways.

“There is nothing wrong, per se, with industrial policy as a strategy,” assures Risley:

I completely understand why the federal government would want to grant the recent subsidies to Stellantis and Volkswagen to position Canada’s car manufacturing industry so it can play a meaningful role in the electrification of the sector. Thousands of jobs depend on that transformation.

I can also make sense of why Canada needs a competitive response to U.S. Inflation Reduction Act incentives that ensures investments in green energy happen here and not just south of the border. After all, we are an energy-based economy and we have fantastic renewable resources. We missed the boat on liquefied natural gas. We can’t afford to do the same on the green energy file.

Risley, of course, stands to be the recipient of an enormous public subsidy via a ‘green’ hydrogen project he is developing at Stephenville, N.L.

It’s a sticky wicket to oppose government largesse for someone else’s project while making sure not to put at risk government largesse for your own project, but Risley is giving it the old college try.

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7. Speaking of government largesse, meet Rob Batherson

A smiling white man with short dark hair, wearing a pinstripe navy suit, white shirt, and pale blue printed tie.
Rob Batherson Credit: Conservative Party of Canada

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson

Rob Batherson, the current president of the Conservative Party of Canada, was hired by Premier Tim Houston’s office last spring to provide administrative assistance to the Clean Electricity Solutions Task Force. Opposition parties are questioning the hiring, while Houston said Batherson was hired by a competitive process.

That task force was set up by the premier to make recommendations on how to green the grid. Batherson is being paid $100,000 and is on contract. The two people appointed to the task force by the premier are Alison Scott, a former Nova Scotia deputy minister of energy and member of the former National Energy Board, and engineer John MacIsaac, whose CV includes a stint on the Muskrat Falls project for Nalcor Energy and a short-lived career as an executive hired by the Halifax Regional Municipality

Batherson is the former president of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, and previously worked as part of the executive team at Colour, a public relations and advertising firm. He has volunteered on many community boards, including chairing Neptune Theatre. He worked as communications director for former PC Premier John Hamm. In 2017, Batherson ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the provincial PC party in the riding of Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

Batherson’s appointment with the Clean Electricity Task Force was not made public and was ferreted out through a Freedom of Information request made by Brian Flinn, a reporter with

On Thursday, during a scrum with reporters that lasted 15 minutes, Flinn asked Houston if he considered Batherson’s appointment “patronage.” Houston described the hiring as the result “of a competitive process” where five parties had been “invited” to submit bids and only one responded, Batherson’s Harbourview Public Affairs. 

“I think until the end of time reporters will sit in this room and look at people who are doing work for the government and ascribe some sinister motive to it,” Houston said. “When the government goes through a competitive process and one person responds, I guess your suggestion would be that we just not do the work because we only had one respondent and some people don’t like the respondent or their past.”

Liberal leader Zach Churchill has described the Batherson appointment as “cronyism.” 

After listening to the scrum with reporters on Thursday, Braedon Clark, the Liberal MLA for Bedford South, added: “Unfortunately, this is a pattern we see with this government where they are hiring friends and confidantes and people who are involved in the provincial or federal party. We saw that with Invest Nova Scotia, we saw that with Build Nova Scotia — we see that now on Clean Electricity and at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (with the appointment of Karen Oldfield as interim CEO two years ago). This is not an isolated incident but a pattern across government.”

For her part, NDP leader Claudia Chender had this to say about the appointment: “The future of our transmission grid and our electricity in this province is of massive concern. The fact the government is looking at this in a proactive way is a good thing. But to do it secretly, behind closed doors as usual, supported by the president of the Conservative Party of Canada, which clearly this government tried to hide from the public because it only came to light through a FOIPOP (Freedom of Information request) is deeply distressing. I think the Conservative Party of Canada has made it clear that climate is very low on their list of priorities. So, why in the world would the president of that party want to be involved in a project like this?”

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8. Three flood victims identified

“Three victims of last weekend’s torrential rainstorm have been confirmed by CTV News as six-year-old Natalie Hazel Harnish, six-year-old Colton Sisco and 52-year-old Nicholas Anthony Holland,” reports Lyndsay Armstrong for CTV.

Natalie’s obituary notes that her dog, Molly, who also died in the flood, will be buried next to her.

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9. Tony Seed

A white man with grey hair, wire rimmed glasses and a blue shirt.
Tony Seed Credit: Facebook / Tony Seed

Tony Seed has died.

Seed was editor and publisher of Shunpiking Magazine. He was an old-school Marxist who continued advocating for workers right up to his death — writing about the striking salt workers in Windsor, Ontario.

I never met Seed, but from his writings found him thoughtful and principled. His friends clearly admired him.

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No meetings

On campus

No events

In the harbour

04:00: STI Marvel, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from IJmuiden, Netherlands
06:00: Tarifa, car carrier, moves from Autoport to Pier 9
06:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, moves from Pier 41 to Fairview Cove
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from anchorage to Pier 41
06:00: Contship Art, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
11:30: Tarifa sails for sea
15:30: CMA CGM T. Jefferson, container ship (140,872 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Tanger Med, Morocco
16:30: Contship Art sails for sea

Cape Breton
10:15: Baie St.Paul, bulker, sails from Coal Pier (Sydney) for sea
12:00: IT Infinity, offshore supply ship, sails from Mulgrave for sea


I’ve been thinking about the potential of our oceans boiling away, or at least getting so hot as to make our current civilization untenable, and it reminds me of something I wrote some years ago:

Back around 1985 or so, I had a cartographer friend, I forget his name now because I’m old and my synapses have mostly died, but I remember that he worked for Moon Publications, the travel book people, which is neither here nor there except he was paid well and didn’t have to actually go to the office most of the time.

And so my cartographer friend and I used to drink all day together and then go to grunge shows in the evening at Hey Juan’s, a ridiculously cheap burrito and beer place in Chico, and he’d heckle the bands: “you suck!” and “get a job!” I have no idea why management put up with us, or why the bands didn’t kick our asses.

Anyway, between sets, he’d tell me he didn’t give a shit about anything because the oceans will soon “go septic” and every speck of life on this sad orb will die, and so actually living fruitfully and consciously was a meaningless waste of time. I’d nod my head and call him an asshole, and then he’d order another pitcher of beer and heckle the band some more.

I thought then that it’s important to find meaning in life, not in spite of the precarious nature of existence, but rather precisely because of it. And I still think that.

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

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

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  1. “When the government goes through a competitive process and one person responds, I guess your suggestion would be that we just not do the work because we only had one respondent and some people don’t like the respondent or their past.”
    If the only person who has applied is somebody with zero expertise in the thing you’re hiring them to do…yes. Don’t do the work. Go back figure out what’s wrong with the process that resulted in nobody applying and try again…go to experts in green energy grids, energy production etc…real experts… and figure out how to get them on board. Don’t just hire somebody because they’re the only one that applied…
    Imagine. I put out a job ad for an engineer to build a bridge. The only people who applied was this public affairs company…and I said I guess we’d better give it to them because they took the time to apply…do you see how crazy that sounds!

  2. Any report of a policing incident investigative board that is made up of police can never be taken seriously. Everyone knows this even if they won’t admit it.

  3. Anecdotally . . . All these parables really set out to say merely
    that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that
    already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a
    different matter.
    Concerning this a man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only
    followed the parables you yourselves would become parables and
    with that rid of all your daily cares.
    Another said: I bet that is also a parable.
    The first said: You have won.
    The second said: But unfortunately only in parable.
    The first said: No, in reality: in parable you have lost
    – Franz Kafks

  4. Seed was intense, intrepid and very dedicated. One of the good guys.

    We were warned about this climate mess 50 years ago. Today we are still buying truckloads of cheap junk from China, watching grown men slap each other silly for money on TV and getting jammed by a silly timewaster called the Carbon Tax.

    We are the stupidest species on the planet….by far.

  5. Why would SIRT even mention media coverage of any case at all? If Wright wants to be taken as credible report on the facts of the case. Police officers have a union to defend their interests, that’s not the role of SIRT.