1. Bedford school stabbings: the talking points memo

A bright blue sign in front of Charles P. Allen High School and the adjoining Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre welcomes visitors.
The sign welcoming visitors to Charles P. Allen High School and the adjoining Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre in July, 2021. Credit: Yvette d'Entremont

“Education minister Becky Druhan had an opportunity to address larger issues of violence in our schools and lack of mental health supports,” writes Stephen Kimber. “Instead, she retreated into bland obfuscation and deflection.”

Click here to read “Bedford school stabbings: the talking points memo.”

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2. Gun smuggling

Gun parts
Weapons seized as part of the investigation into Canada for the Jesse Lougue Crew in Dieppe. Credit: CBSA

On Thursday, the Mass Casualty Commission published a Canadian Borders Security Agency (CBSA) document, “Baseline Intelligence Assessment — Firearms Smuggling in Atlantic Canada,” written by security analyst Ghislain Saulnier.

Saulnier is refreshingly frank about the limits of his analysis, noting that much gun-smuggling probably eludes the CBSA at port-of-entries (POEs), and that in any event, “CBSA does not control the border between the POEs and are largely dependent on the RCMP… Because of this, CBSA becomes susceptible to RCMP priorities. At times, this has stalled CBSA efforts.”

Gun smuggling wasn’t even made a “Tier 1 priority” — that is, a top priority of law enforcement — until April 2020, after the Portapique murders. Three of the killer’s guns were semi-automatic weapons smuggled across the New Brunswick border.

During the time period he studied (Jan. 1, 2017 – April 30, 2020), Saulnier found four notable weapons cases in Atlantic Canada:

• after a double shooting in Ottawa, the gun used in the murders was found to have been smuggled across the border by someone with a gambling addiction who bought weapons in Maine and then resold the weapons in Canada. Saulnier appears to be referring to Lawrence Sears, a man who said he had a gambling addiction and who bought a collection of pistols at the Maine Military Supply store in Brewer, Maine. Sears then resold them to Andrew Porter, who was himself addicted to VLTs, and who smuggled the guns across the border and sold them across Ontario and Quebec. The guns were repeatedly resold, and one of them was used by Kawku Frimpong in the killing of Ziad Ahmad and Phillip Salmon in a botched drug robbery.

• a 2007 case in which someone “directly linked to Mexican Cartels” flew into the Halifax airport in a private plane with a restricted firearm. The person (their name is redacted) was charged and convicted, but then “removed from the country.” As of 2013, that person was still flying for the cartels in West Africa.

• in another 2007 case, CBSA busted a Halifax man who had weapons parts sent to him in the mail, and he assembled them in his apartment. But those guns were not resold.

• in an undated incident at the St. Croix POE, a man “with possible ties to Organized Crime Groups” (OCG) was found to be smuggling oversized magazines and other gun parts in a compartment in his work truck.

But most of the weapons found at POEs by the CBSA don’t rise to the level of smuggling for organized crime, wrote Saulnier. Seventy-two of the 86 seizures were American citizens, most of whom were simply ignoring Canadian law and carrying weapons for their own personal protection as they were tourists in Canada. Another 10 were Canadian citizens seeking to avoid paying taxes on hunting rifles purchased in Maine.

Additionally, Saulnier notes some tips received by the CBSA that don’t appear to have resulted in any arrests and 59 intelligence cases involving gun smuggling. One of the intelligence cases involved possible gun-running through the Autoport in Dartmouth. Others involved the Black Pistons biker gang in Fredericton (a support group to the Hells Angels) and the “Jesse Lougue Crew” in Dieppe, the latter apparently related to the murder of an elderly couple in 2019. (Given the closeness in time to the Portapique murders and the close geographic connection to the Portapique killer’s family and youth, there was much speculation that these two sets of murders were related, but I’ve seen no actual evidence to suggest they were.)

Saulnier argues that the commonly held view that most guns are smuggled across the border from Detroit to Ontario, and then make their way east to Atlantic Canada is wrong, or at least incomplete, in that the lots of weapons are are coming across from Maine to New Brunswick. That’s in part due to Maine’s ridiculously lax gun laws — even as US states go — and in part to the inability of the CBSA to catch the smuggling.

He uses the example of a dual citizen and meth addict who had smuggled “20 to 30” weapons across the border for the Jesse Lougue Crew in exchange for meth. First the guy smuggled the weapons “in the rusted holes in his truck,” then “on his person as a foot passenger” across the bridge in Grand Falls, and then “in the woods after he was deported from the country.” This speaks to the “ingenuity and brazeness” of the trade.

Saulnier says that “organized criminal groups are willing and able to smuggle firearms and that there is a demand for firearms and there is no logical reasons (sic) to conclude these factors have changed. Therefore, it can be reasonably concluded that firearms smuggling is continuing or is regularly occurring across the New Brunswick/Maine border. In addition, considering national trends of deep concealments and their effectiveness at eluding CBSA, this is the most likely method of firearms smuggling at POEs in New Brunswick.”

“Deep concealment” means things like hiding guns in gas tanks, but the Portapique murderer merely rolled the weapons up in the tonneau on his pickup truck.

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3. Sharenting meets police impersonation

Credit: RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador

RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador shared the above photo on various social media platforms last week (I’ve blurred the boy’s face and redacted his name) showing a six-year-old dressed as an RCMP officer.

You know who else impersonated an RCMP officer?

That’s not snark. How oblivious do you have to be blast out a photo of someone dressed as an RCMP officer just days before the Mass Casualty Commission releases its final report on the murder of 22 people by someone who disguised himself as an RCMP officer?

Sure, the six-year-old is just a kid. But the photo also includes pretty good representations of an RCMP badge and hat:

So someone is out there either re-purposing actual RCMP gear or manufacturing look-alike RCMP gear for civilian use with the endorsement and encouragement of the RCMP. Both are illegal in Nova Scotia under the Police Identity Management Act.

I don’t know if Newfoundland and Labrador has similar legislation, but one thing we know is that lessons learned in one jurisdiction are not being followed through with in other jurisdictions.

Besides, this is a good example of sharenting, the over-sharing of kids’ lives on social media. No six-year-old can give genuine consent to having his photo spread by police on social media, nor comprehend the potential long-term impacts.

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4. Port of Sydney discovers wind

“How much do I love that the artist behind this rendering felt the need to specify that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris?” asks Mary Campbell. “Very, very much.”

“I didn’t get the invite to Novaporte’s ‘transformational’ announcement at Membertou on Thursday (note to self: ask Tim Bousquet if ‘transformational’ and ‘transformative’ have become the new ‘innovative ‘— applied to everything from sewage treatment plants to wind marshaling ports),” writes Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator.

Hmmm. I’ll have to monitor, but I think ‘transformative’ is more likely replacing the clunker ‘pivot’ than the high holy word ‘innovative.’ Businessspeak overwhelms me at times, to be honest.

But to the meat of Campbell’s report:

Once again, Barbusci has identified a real problem: the United States has big plans for wind energy but does not have enough marshaling ports (which are just ports where turbines are assembled) to see them through.

Once again, Barbusci has decided he is the man to solve this problem.

Once again, there is no reason to believe this to be the case.

According to CTV’s Kyle Moore, Barbusci actually told that enrapt audience … that he’d discovered the world of offshore wind just “six months ago.” Because that’s who you want spearheading the drive to turn your port into a wind marshaling hub, eh? The guy who discovered the existence of wind turbines last September.

To be fair to Barbusci, he had to announce something—it’s been two years since he proclaimed the port a done deal except for the rail component and the three-year extension to his exclusive contract is up in June 2024.

His goal now, according to CTV, is “to find a customer and sign a contract” which, it’s probably incredibly insensitive of me to point out, has been his goal since 2014.

Barbusci hopes to attract “three or four” American offshore wind developers:

“We’re off to Baltimore next week, we just announced it, so the industry at large will know who we are,” said Barbusci.

That’s all it takes, you see: an announcement and a press release that gets picked up in the local press and by a lot of little websites dedicated to publishing shipping news press releases and suddenly, the industry knows who you are.

Click here to read “Who has seen the wind?”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator.

This is silly. Sydney was going to be a megaport because it’s “closest to Europe,” but now it’s going to be a megaport because it’s going to be a marshalling area for US wind farms? Aren’t there “closest to US” ports like, you know, in the US?

Campbell helpfully includes a link to an April 2022 press release from the University of Delaware about two of the university’s researchers, Sara Parkison and Willett Kempton, studying the marshalling issue, but the underlying academic article gets to the heart of the matter. It turns out that the port of Halifax has already been used as a marshalling point for US offshore wind project, but Halifax is considered too costly for broader use as it’s, yep, too far away:

With the logistical challenges presented by smaller marshaling port areas and the lack of large, Jones-Act installation vessels, planners for US projects have already explored several alternative installation methods to enable and optimize deployment without well-designed infrastructure. For example, the Block Island Wind Farm brought a deployment vessel from Europe (Fred Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Turn), and since the Jones Act prohibits moving components from a US port to build on a foundation, the marshaling port used for Block Island was the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax was not designed for marshaling and was sufficient for only five 6 MW turbines for that 30 MW project.10

Likewise, for the Virginia CVOW project, Jan De Nul sent a jack-up installation vessel from Belgium to use Halifax, Nova Scotia as the marshaling port. This solved both limited US marshaling port area and lack of Jones Act-compliant vessels. However, the vessel had to make three round trips from Halifax to the offshore Virginia site in order to pick up monopiles and transition pieces, then towers, then turbines and blades. CVOW is 43 ​km from shore, but the installation ship had to make 6 trips of 1,400 ​km each to or from a Canadian port–at substantial added cost in vessel and crew time (Buljan 2020).

The study is of marshalling requirements is complex and nuanced. You can read it yourself, but the takeaway is that there are a number of workarounds, and all is not dire, especially once Gulf of Mexico ports get into the game.

But good luck, Sydney.

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Lunenburg and the South Shore

A rocking chair sits in front of a window, with a landscape of rooflines behind.
The view from Stephen Archibald’s room on the Lunenburg waterfront. Credit: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald seems almost apologetic that he went to Lunenburg last summer and is only now getting around to telling us about it:

Are you yearning for the arrival of the softer days of spring so you can ramble in the countryside? Early last summer we spent a couple of days based in Lunenburg town and noticed many little things, but at the time it felt like there was no need to post them because folks didn’t want to see more “charms of the South Shore.” Now that the light changes every day it is just possible to think of spring and summer adventures. So here are photo reminders of what awaits you.

As usual, Archibald notices all sorts of things that would elude my gaze, and he takes photos them. Go to the post to see them all, but I was most happy to see his drawing of the view from his room on the Lunenburg waterfront, above.

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Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council (Monday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate, and online) — agenda

Halifax and West Community Council (Monday, 6pm, City Hall and online) — agenda

North West Community Council (Monday, 7pm, Sackville Heights Community Centre) — agenda



Law Amendments (Monday, 10am, Province House and online) — the following bills:
Bill No. 256 – Patient Access to Care Act (with representation)
Bill No. 263 – Public Utilities Act (amended)(no representation)
Bill No. 264 – Electricity Act (amended)(no representation)
Bill No. 269 – Construction Projects Labour Relations Act (amended)(with representation)


Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place and online) — Agency, Board and Commission Appointments

Legislature sits (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) 

On campus



The US Carceral State, Gendered Violence and Restorative Justice (Monday, 7pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building and online) — Donna Coker from the University of Miami School of Law will talk


Peer Gynt (Tuesday, 7:30pm, Dunn Theatre) — Dal Theatre production, until April 1; tickets $15/$10, more info here



TOUFAH: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement (Monday, 8pm, online) —Adelle Purdham talks to co-authors Toufah Jallow and Kim Pittaway; more info and registration here


Representations of Decolonization at a Generational Remove (Tuesday, 7pm, KTS Lecture Hall) — Asha Jeffers will talk

In the harbour

08:00: IT Intrepid, cable layer, sails from Pier 9 for sea
10:00: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
13:00: IT Intrepid arrives back at Pier 9
15:30: Humen Bridge, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
16:00: Great Epsilon, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Antwerp, Belgium
19:00: Fairwind Legion, cargo ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea
21:30: Atlantic Sky sails for New York

Cape Breton
05:00: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from sea
15:00: AlgoScotia sails for sea


I woke up at 5am this morning, and rather than try to fall back asleep, I got up to work on Morning File about an hour earlier than usual. Even with that, however, I find myself dissatisfied with the amount of material I could work into it. Just a slow news day, I guess.

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Tim Bousquet

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

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