On campus
In the harbour


1. Flood

That flood at the Victoria General is turning into a huge mess, and both opposition parties are calling for the building to be replaced.

Photo: Eric Theriault
Photo: Eric Theriault

Eric Theriault took the above photo and commented:

Yesterday I was leaving the Victoria General Hospital when a “Code Green” was called. As my elevator door opened I saw water flowing from the shaft. I took the stairs seeing hospital staff going to the 5th floor; I took a peak see what was going on. I saw workers trying to contain a flood caused by a busted pipe. I just took a quick photo to document what I saw without disturbing the fine workers. The flood caused evacuation of lower floors and major problems for health care workers.

2. Bill Freedman

Bill Freedman. Photo: Mike Dembeck/Nature Conservancy of Canada
Bill Freedman. Photo: Mike Dembeck/Nature Conservancy of Canada

“Bill Freedman, a respected educator and author who championed Canadian conservation, has died,” reports the Canadian Press. Freedman worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and was former chair of the biology department at Dalhousie:

Freedman authored more than 100 scientific papers, publications and science textbooks.

[…]“He taught us all to cherish our natural world,” John Lounds, conservancy president and CEO, said in a statement. “We remember a generous, thoughtful man who leaves a conservation legacy right across this country that will be appreciated by generations to come.”

3. Deranged person visits Halifax

We’ve got plenty of home-grown deranged people; I’m not sure why we need to import them, or why this is news.

4. McNabs

“Someone has done thousands of dollars worth of damage to interpretive panels at McNabs Island,” reports the Chronicle Herald’s Kelly Shiers:

[Cathy McCarthy, president of the Friends of McNabs Island Society] said the large interpretive map, along with five panels that tell the story of the Halifax Harbour island, were “gouged and scratched” likely in the past two weeks.

Another panel of the image of Midway King, Bill Lynch, one of the island’s most notable residents, was drilled and had wall anchors put in it.

It will cost the cash-strapped Friends of McNabs Island about $20,000 to fix the damage.

5. International Right to Know Day

There will be a panel discussion at 6pm tonight at Halifax City Hall, with the following people:

Catherine Tully, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Nova Scotia

Steve Kent, Deputy Premier, Newfoundland and Labrador
Toby Mendel, Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy
Maria Lasheras, Chief Information Access and Privacy Officer, Nova Scotia
Sean Murray, Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, Newfoundland and Labrador

I’ll be there.


1. Bernie Miller

Stephen Kimber untangles the Bernie Miller issue; Miller is the Deputy Minister of the provincial Office of Planning and Priorities:

[A]s a matter of public policy, we need to ask serious questions about McNeil’s deal with Bernard F. Miller Services P.C., Inc., the company that provides the services of its sole employee — one Bernie Miller — to the government. 

And beyond that, we should question Stephen McNeil’s cavalier, condescending attitude to legitimate questions about Miller’s contract. The major concern raised is that this type of employment arrangement may allow someone to pay less income tax.

2. Attachment to place

The CBC’s “guest blogger” Hannah Main discusses her attempts to find a job in Nova Scotia. I don’t now want to weigh in on the job issue (it’s complicated), but I’m struck at how many young people have such a strong attachment to place in the Maritimes.

Understand I’m not passing judgment here, but when I was a kid, the very last thing I wanted to do was stay where I was. I grew up in a prosperous place with an economy buoyed by enormous — outrageous, even — military spending, and I could’ve stayed there and done well enough. But I wanted to get out into the world, explore, be challenged, learn new stuff, and so set to wandering for probably too long before settling down 3,000 miles from where I grew up. Even then, I was prepared to pack up and move again, when the opportunity arose.

I know a lot of academics, and it’s just taken for granted among them that you’ve got to move, and often. Undergraduates are supposed to go elsewhere for grad school — you won’t learn much new from the same set of instructors, and going somewhere else will broaden your horizons. Once you get that Masters or PhD, you have to go on the job market, and that means flying all over the continent, if not the world, applying for jobs or post-docs, but you’ll still be on the job market until you hopefully land that tenure track position. None of that is possible, though, if you insist that Bible Hill must provide for you from high school through to PhDdom.

I don’t mean this as a political statement. Nova Scotia can and should do better by its young people. And I don’t for a minute think the experience of me or my friends should be a roadmap for anyone else’s life.

But I just don’t quite understand the obsession many young people have with staying here. It’s a big, wide world out there, with lots of wonderful people, interesting cultures, beautiful places, and unexpected opportunities. Learning how to navigate the unknown and appreciate things outside your childhood world view can make one a better, wiser person.

Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to reject leaving.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cumberland News:

An Amherst town councillor is rightfully frustrated at the ongoing lack of signage at the NS-NB border to inform travellers of local attractions in Amherst and Cumberland County. “This could be the difference between a tourist bypassing a destination or extending their stay,” councillor Bird said.


Visitor exit surveys conducted by the tourism ministry reveal that there are two important “high yield” market segments of visitors from outside the province, who self-identified as “outdoor” enthusiasts and “cultural” enthusiasts


Of real interest to us in Cumberland County, is that these surveys reveal that over 80% of these well-heeled travellers listed “beach exploring” and “visiting museums” as their most popular activity while visiting Nova Scotia

Can you believe our luck? What do we have in spades in Cumberland County? How about endless beaches to explore and much admired large and small museums in Joggins, Parrsboro, Spencer’s Island, Port Greville, and Springhill? But to repeat what councillor Bird has said “You drive by Amherst and what do you learn? Absolutely nothing.”

How expensive can it be to install a new overhead truss to promote attractions in our area that is currently being whizzed by, by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year?

Wouldn’t it be great to put up a sign that said “Looking to explore beaches and visit museums? Fill your boots in Cumberland County – Next right!”

Just kidding, but it’s time to put together a couple of hotshots from the transportation and tourism ministries with a ministerial directive to rectify this situation in time for the next tourist season.

Alan Walter, Oxfor



District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (4pm, Halifax Central Library) —

Jae Hang Kim, the owner of the laundromat at the corner of South Street and Henry Street, wants to turn the place into a cafe. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not, but the apartment above the laundromat is where police allege that William Sandeson killed Taylor Samson.

Community Facility Master Plan Information Session (6:30pm, George Dixon Centre) — details here.

Bird droppings 


This morning, the city issued a tender offer asking for a “Remedy to Fix Bird Droppings at the Front of Keshen Goodman Library.” I don’t think they mean “fix” so much as “prevent.” Regardless, this became a big deal in the spring, when it was discovered that the contractor was using the poison Avitrol. Reported the CBC:

Avitrol is described by its manufacturer as a flock deterrent. It’s designed to look like corn kernels and left out for birds to eat.

​Once it’s consumed, Avitrol affects the birds’ central nervous system and causes convulsions that can last more than four hours. The prolonged, uncontrolled flapping is meant to scare other birds away.

The company’s website states there is no way to effectively use Avitrol without some birds dying from the product.

Hope Swinimer, founder of Hope for Wildlife, says she’s seen a number of poisoned birds brought to her shelter.

“It looks like they are struggling, just like mini seizures,” she said. “They look really confused and there’s sometimes vomiting too.”

The resulting public outcry resulted in the city banning Avitrol, reported the Chronicle Herald:

“We have decided not to use Avitrol going forward as there are other means by which we can mitigate the negative impact of bird feces at public facilities that are more consistent with our corporate values and environmental management best practices,” municipal spokeswoman Tiffany Chase said in an email.

Halifax recently awarded a new three-year contract for pest management at a number of city facilities.

Chase said the municipality will be amending the tender to explicitly note that Avitrol is not to be used at city-owned facilities.

And yet, this morning’s tender offer makes no mention, explicit or otherwise, of Avitrol. In fact, the “Specification Requirements” of the tender seem to anticipate the use of chemicals (see #5):

The front of the building at Keshen Goodman Library only for Bird Droppings solution.

1] Halifax Regional Library staff etc. are looking for a solution to fix or stop the bird dropping in front of the library. All the dropping are going on the windows and walkway and roof.

2] All areas need to be cleaned up by the contractor, in front of the building from bird droppings.

3] Job installation (labour) must have two-year warranty from completion date of the work at Keshen Goodman Library.

4] Contractor agrees to provide and honor (sic) ten (10)-year warranty on all material that are used to solve the bird dropping in front of the Keshen Goodman Library.

5] If contractor is suggesting using a chemical(s) etc. Contractor must supply a Material Safety Data Sheets for the chemicals proposing (sic) and return this information with HRM Quotation Q15M176.

6] All equipment & material will be supplied by contractor per their recommended solution remedy for bird dropping in the front of the Keshen Goodman Library..

7) Contractors can quote on different solutions, if quoting two (2) different solutions must submit two quotes on two separate HRM Quotation Forms Q15M176.

For what it’s worth, the anti-roosting pigeon spikes employed at the Bridge Terminal seem to do a good job, except for at that one place they missed, on the overhang just by the stop for the #1. You’d think that after a year or so someone would’ve noticed the big pile of pigeon crap accumulating at that one spot and gone up and put a few more spikes up, but I guess no one in a position of authority takes the #1. Here’s hoping they go to the Keshen Goodman Library.


Standing Committee on Assembly Matters (2pm, Province House) — the committee will stand and think about matters related to the Assembly.

On campus



Senate (4:15pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Building ) — the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in the Faculty of Dentistry will be presenting. Agenda here.

Keith Lawson (5:30pm, Room 1020, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — I don’t know who Keith Lawson is, because you know, the Dalhousie Communications Department can’t possibly publish a coherent event listing, but maybe Lawson is friends with the golf dude:

A new interest in space and place has encouraged museums and archives to find ways to use mobile devices to create connections between items in their collections and the locations associated with these items beyond the walls of their institutions, giving visitors a new access and opportunities to create new experiences. This paper brings together ideas from Michael de Certeau, tourism studies, game studies, and mobile interface theory to examine how digital objects texts (images, audio and video) presented through mobile devices create an experience of place. This experience may be of a single place or of multiple places joined in a larger narrative space.

Just for shits and giggles, let’s all do a few shots and read that again:

This experience may be of a single place or of multiple places joined in a larger narrative space.


Moroccan Jurassic system (Tuesday, 11:30am, 8007 – Life Sciences Centre – Biology Tower, 8th floor – Milligan Room) — Driss Sadki, from Geology Moulay Ismaïl University in Morocco, will talk about “The sequence of events recorded in the Morocco Jurassic system.”

Micronutrients (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 3655, LSC) — Erin Bertrand will speak on “Micronutrients and microbial interaction: implications for marine biogeochemistry.”

Get Science Right (Tuesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library ) — the Dalhousie Faculty Association, the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT), and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) are sponsoring this event, which:

will kick off with a panel discussion, moderated by University of King’s College science historian Ian Stewart, followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion. The panelists are:

  • Katie Gibbs, Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy. Lead organizer of the “Death of Evidence” march
  • Thomas Duck, Dalhousie University atmospheric scientist. Featured in CBC Fifth Estate’s “Silence of the Labs”
  • Britt Hall, University of Regina biologist and Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) advocate
  • Peter Wells, retired Environment Canada marine scientist and adjunct professor, Dalhousie University

Not Your Typical Sex Talk (Tuesday, 7:30pm, Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Building, Halifax ) — Justine Shuey, who is “a Board Certified Sexologist and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality and a Masters in Human Sexuality Education,” will talk about, well, this:

A hilarious, honest, no-holds-barred approach to sexuality education that uses puppets, props, interactive activities and audience participation to address misinformation head-on while enhancing sexual awareness. The talk will start by covering a variety of sexuality topics including but not limited to Sex, Love, Healthy Relationships, Communication, with a focus on Consent & Respect.

Saint Mary’s


Forensic Investigation of the 17th-Century Chesapeake (Tuesday, 7pm, McNally Theatre Auditorium ) — Douglas Owsley is the division head of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History — he’s the real life Mr. Bones! — and he’s going to talk about, I don’t know, something about the 17th Century Chesapeake.

In the harbour

The entrance to Halifax Harbour at 8:15 this morning. The Glovis Century is the green ship just passing McNabs Island. Behind it (blue) is the cruise ship Maasdan. Further out to sea is the Kirsten (red), Stellar Sunrise (green), and the cruise ship Eurodam (blue). Map:
The entrance to Halifax Harbour at 8:15 this morning. The Glovis Century is the green ship just passing McNabs Island. Behind it (blue) is the cruise ship Maasdan. Further out to sea is the Kirsten (red), Stellar Sunrise (green), and the cruise ship Eurodam (blue). Map:

Onyx Ace, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning from Bremerhaven, Germany; sails to sea later today
NYK Demento, container ship, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning from New York; sails to sea later today
Glovis Century, ro-ro cargo, Montreal to Pier 9, then sails to sea
Kirstin, oil tanker, Finnart, England to Imperial Oil, then to sea
Stellar Sunrise, wood chips carrier, İskenderun, Turkey to harbour entrance to pick up pilot, then to Sheet Harbour
Northern Delegation, container ship, New York to berth TBD

The cruise ships Maasdam (up to 1,258 passengers) and Eurodam (up to 2,044 passengers) are in port today.


“This experience may be of a single place or of multiple places joined in a larger narrative space.”

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

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  1. Hey Tim,
    I agree people should roam, I’m doing so right now in Nanaimo. But I will eventually move home because there is a sense of community in the Maritimes I’ve not found elsewhere.

  2. Contrary to your disclaimer, you are most certainly passing judgment on Hannah Main for wanting to make a life in Truro. The patronizing tone is pretty typical of you, actually. You condemn any effort, private or public, to encourage economic activity in rural Nova Scotia.

    But what conceivable factual basis is their for your nutty claim that Nova Scotians are reluctant to move away? A steady flood of young people has exited Nova Scotia for generations — to Boston in the 40s and 50s; to Toronto in the 60s, 70s, and 80s; to Alberta. No place in North America can match our record of willingness to “get out into the world, explore, be challenged, learn new stuff, and… set to wandering.”

    What is your problem? The hemorrhage is not sufficient? Noting but a spurting artery will do, until the corpse twitches and dies?

    You find it strange that people might feel attached to a place abounding in spectacular shorelines, magnificent wildlife, skies clear and free enough of light pollution for the milky way to sparkle overhead, and musical traditions. I find it sad you have such a in ear for the place.

  3. “no one in a position of authority takes the #1”

    No one in a position of authority takes the bus period. Imagine if Metro Transit mgmt were contractually obligated to commute on the bus. I mean, if it’s good enough for us…

    1. I worked at metro transit many years ago and nobody in management took the bus. For one thing, there was no bus that stopped anywhere near head office in Burnside, making it next to impossible for anyone working there to use transit. Think about that. The biggest hassle was finding parking.

  4. “$20,000 to fix the damage.”

    Unless they’re replacing the entire thing I call bullshit. It cost $15,000 new, and since they don’t need to redesign them, or build the structure, it should only cost the cost of printing and putting it up.

  5. RE: Attachment to place
    WTF are you talking about? I challenge you to find another jurisdiction in Canada where young people leave to find opportunities more than Atlantic Canada.

    It is a wild generalization to suggest that all young Maritimers have an obsession with staying here when the opposite is probably true. Go to a summer wedding in any small town in Atlantic Canada and you will find that most of the twenty-somethings attending have traveled home from some other part of North America. Survey any high school in small town Atlantic Canada and you will find most students understand they will have to leave after high school to find opportunity. Like young people anywhere, including where you came from, you will find some that can’t wait to get out and some who refuse to leave, most are somewhere in the middle. The fact that most will have to leave is the only difference.

    There is a huge difference between complaining about leaving and yearning for home. If it weren’t for the latter there would be a whole lot of folk singers unemployed.

  6. The population is aging and dwindling, the workforce is aging and dwindling, the feds won’t let any substantial immigrants move here, assuming there are some who want to (perhaps a big assumption) – federal transfers will probably be going way down depending on the election results.
    Only 23% of the province has a bachelor’s degree or higher, let alone a masters or a phd lol – I don’t know if your narrative is typical for Nova Scotians.
    We’ve got government spending $100 million a year just to sell beer wine and spirits – yet on the other hand says there isn’t enough money for schools and hospitals. lol. Tough choices need to be made… indeed. ‘Nova Scotian priorities’, like good government retail jobs, are a microcosm of the real issue driving Nova Scotians away to greener pastures. No wonder its political. You talk university degrees and PHDs, whereas Nova Scotia invests more to sell beer wine and spirits that it does on its universities.
    Lack of opportunity – sure, also unresponsive, irresponsible asinine government policy, regardless of party. I’m glad that not all the places in the world are governed by the semi-retarded in a political system without ballot initiatives and recall – like here in Nova Scotia.

    1. I’m calling bull on the NSLC number. The Liquor Corp brought in NET REVENUES of $228 million in 2014/15. The province separates expenses and revenues in its consolidated statements (as per generally accepted accounting policies for almost every government financial department in the country), and that revenue goes into the general pot to pay for things like health and education. Privatizing the corporation would REMOVE upwards of $200 million from the provincial bottom line. Betting that whoever got this sweet deal wouldn’t pay taxes on the revenues because they’d negotiate payroll rebates or direct subsidies or some such garbage, and they would reduce employee salaries (reducing their tax contributions as well), so bye bye services. Screw the many to benefit the few. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

      Source of numbers? Didn’t have to look any further than the Provincial Public Accounts Volume 2: Click on Nova Scotia Liquor Commission for their audited financial statements:

      1. My friend Krista is right on the accounting point, but dead wrong that preserving a hidebound, centralized, overpaid, corrupt, bureaucratic system, slavishly adherent to antiquated rules, is a sensible way for the province to raise revenue.

        NSLC kowtows to foreign-owned mega-corporations that produce identical, crappy industrial beer, but makes life difficult for local craft breweries that turn out wonderful beer in great variety and employ people in places where generating employment is notoriously difficult.

        Diversifying sales would do even more to generate employment and income to help rural businesses survive. Some retail businesses that died in my area might have survived had they been able to sell beer and wine. As it is, I have to drive 43 km (86 km round trip) to purchase wine, beer, or spirits.

        The NSLC and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission generate forests of inane rules: Your children can sit at four tables by the window in Bearly’s (where Krista and I have enjoyed many glasses), but they mustn’t approach the stage end of the room; Your children can attend Irish ceilidhs at Governour’s Pub, but they mustn’t get up and dance near the musicians; your party of eight can order beer by the pitcher at the “bar” side of Boston Pizza, but not at the “restaurant” side of the room.

        Letting small private businesses sell beer, wine, and spirits could still produce the same amount of net revenue—if not more—because taxes are built into the price, and the cost of sales would plummet from the lavish self-serving bureaucracy to which we now entrust the job.

        I would privatize liquor sales in a heartbeat.

        1. My friend Parker is conflating the acohol and gaming act with the NSLC, for which I forgive him :-). We can change the legislation and rules without eliminating the LC. Quebec has both government run liquor stores and the ability to sell liquor in small stores etc. They can coexist.

          For instance, I remember when you couldn’t buy anything outside of the LC. No cold beer stores, no port of wines, no micro breweries. Change is possible without killing the whole structure.

          I won’t argue the bureaucracy – there’s plenty to go around, but I will argue the tax point. I suspect small business would have to make some crazy profits in order to make up for the loss of revenues. Guessing, and maybe I’m wrong. Small business typically pay really low tax rates… If I have time, I’ll do the math 🙂

        2. Nova Scotia would have had _$1.5 Billion more_ to put on other programs, or to pay down our debt, since the year 2000.

          It’s a no-brainer, which is probably why, here in Nova Scotia we are stuck with the status quo.

      2. See Operating expenses.

        $100 million a year.

        Those are operating expenses that aren’t needed, since Sobeys, or Superstore, or corner stores will pay for the privilege of selling beer and wine, not charge $100 million a year for it.

        Your whole argument is ludicrous.

        1. “Sobeys, or Superstore, or corner stores will pay for the privilege of selling beer and wine”

          Now that’s a ludicrous argument. Sobeys and Superstore would manage to get paid to deliver this “service”. If you think grocers in the province will come up with a minimum of $228 million dollars annually, on top of paying staff, operating expenses, and taxes, for the privilege of selling alcohol, you are living in a fantasy land.

          1. Given that the annual revenues are just shy of $600 million (let’s round up for argument’s sake), you are proposing that the private sector would be willing to pay between $100m and $200m for the privilege of selling alcohol. That would be 16.7 to 33.3% of GROSS revenues. That is not going to happen. The only way to lower those percentages would be to raise prices, which is contrary to what everyone thinks will happen if liquor sales are privatized.

  7. “This experience may be of a single place or of multiple places joined in a larger narrative space”.

    This is actually pretty clear as far as academic speak goes. Its about tying documents, artifacts and events to specific Places. Doors Open Halifax is a good (Analogue?) example of this. Visitors move through a Narrative space (the City) and view historic documents and records, and stories about the place they are in.

    heck, you even did it above, when you related documents about a Laundromat to cafe conversion to the location of a murder.

    The City archives is full of interesting stuff, but it suffers from limited access hours and a bad location. anything that can bring that material out is a good thing.