1. Road death

“A woman is dead after a crash involving a fire truck on icy roads in Timberlea, N.S., Thursday night,” reports Cassie Williams for the CBC:

RCMP say the crash happened around 9 p.m.

The fire truck was on route to another accident call, of which there were many last night, a fire official told CBC’s Paul Palmeter. 

The dead woman was not immediately identified. She was described in the article as “young.”

2. It’s baaack…..

Mother Canada™

On Fridays, the Examiner publishes an extensive list of new business and society filings. As an example, here’s one entry from this week:

Sydney Mines Tourism Development Society
Sydney Mines
Chair: Cyril E. Aker
It’s baaack!!!!! Aker, who is the harbourmaster for the Port of Sydney, wants to place the Mother Canada™ statue at Cranberry Head in Sydney Mines.

This week I compiled 27 listings. The list isn’t exhaustive — there are a lot of holding companies and such that will hold no interest for most readers — but rather contains the filings I found most interesting.

Click here to read “D.O.P.E. T-shirts and a skeptical dog: New company & society filings, December 23, 2016.” The list is behind the Examiner paywall, and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

3. Just how bad can the Chronicle Herald get?

Yesterday, a reader told me (to my great surprise) that I had been quoted in the Chronicle Herald.

The article, which was written by an unnamed scab, concerned the tender that the province issued for a new computer system for the Registry of Joint Stock Companies.

I wrote about the tender on Wednesday. The unnamed scab lifted some of what I wrote and turned it into a note for their article:

Commenting on the tender, Halifax blogger Tim Bousquet said he accessed the registry via his computer “pretty much every day.” Bousquet said while registry employees were “. . . beyond patient . . . the computer systems are horrible.”

There are a few things wrong with this. First, I think the scab implies that they interviewed me directly. For the record: no reporter at the Chronicle Herald contacted me, probably because they knew I wouldn’t speak with a scab reporter.

Which leads to the second issue, which is a total neglect of accepted journalistic practice. Journalism students are taught how to reference a quote: you give the context — you spoke with the quoted person directly, or over the phone or via email; the quote came from a press release, or it was found in written material. If the latter, you give attribution, by saying exactly what publication the quote comes from.

In this case, the scab should have directly named the Halifax Examiner. It’s common practice on the internet, although not required, to additionally provide a link to the original source. The scab did neither.

This has become the routine at the Chronicle Herald: they lift quotes without giving attribution, implying that their own reporters hunted down the quote, which often is not the case.

Thirdly, I’m not going to get worked up about this, but I think the word “blogger” here is used as an insult. There are plenty of bloggers doing fine and important work, and I do an awful lot of opining that can be called blogging. But that’s by no means all of what I do. I am a reporter, and do real reporting. I’d note, for instance, that I beat the scab to the Registry story.

This brings up a related issue concerning another recent article in the Chronicle Herald.

Last week, a distressed woman took to Facebook to complain of her treatment by Halifax police. The woman said she had mental health issues, and the police confused those issues with intoxication. She was jailed for the night in a holding cell in the police station. The woman accused the police of mistreating her while she was in custody, and posted photos of injuries she said she sustained while in custody. By the time of the posting, she had not filed a formal complaint with police. It’s not clear if she has filed a complaint since then.

A Chronicle Herald scab turned the woman’s Facebook post into a story, but failed to speak with the woman directly, or even to contact police about it. If this was just a one-off story about something not-so-important, this wouldn’t be an issue, but the article was relating possible criminal activity on the part of police. It absolutely required a stepped-up level of reporting — the reporter should have at least attempted to contact both parties.

After the story came out, the police department issued a statement about the incident. The statement did not name the woman, but said she had a “mental health issue.”

At Monday’s police commission meeting, commissioner Jeff Mitchell asked if the police statement had inappropriately disclosed personal information — a mental health issue — of someone who after all had not filed a formal complaint. Mitchell was told he’d get an answer at the next meeting.

I’m still trying to get a handle on the ethical issues involved in this story. With social media, anyone can make all sorts of claims, true and otherwise. I have no opinion about the veracity of the woman’s claims, but the fact that she herself said she had mental health issues would cause me to proceed with extreme caution. That doesn’t mean her story should be discounted, but most definitely, the reporter should have contacted her and the police for the article. On the police side, sure, the cops are accused of all sorts of things, true and otherwise, and the natural inclination is to respond to those accusations… but the police should develop a policy about when and how to respond. I don’t know if that means the department should only respond when a formal complaint has been filed. But when someone’s mental health is an issue, they too should respond with extreme caution.

4. Syrian tailor

Anna Shoub and Rezan Iso. Photo: Brittany Wentzell

“When Rezan Iso was living in Damascus, he ran a tailoring shop with five employees, and in his spare time designed women’s clothes, mostly for parties and formal occasions,” reports Brittany Wentzell for LighthouseNOW:

Now, he’s in a different country with a language he’s still learning, but is already restarting his career.

The husband and father, who arrived in Mahone Bay with his family in September, recently got a job with Anna Shoub, Lunenburg’s Hat Junkie.


But as Iso started taking some of his work home, he realized he couldn’t keep up with his small domestic sewing machine. So Shoub went looking for two industrial sewing machines — one for him to use at the Hat Junkie and one he could use to make his own clothing and designs again.

She put the call out to the community, and started a Go Fund Me campaign. Within 24 hours, she’d met the $1,500 goal, with one of the machines donated by the owner of Suttles and Seawinds in Mahone Bay.

“There’s a little [money] left over so he can get a cutting table or whatever he needs to start his own business,” said Shoub.

Iso says he’s shocked by the amount of help he and his family have received in Canada.

“No one helps,” he said of living in Turkey and Syria. His experiences in Canada mark the first time people have truly helped him and his family, he said.

5. Hakodate

Photo: Masao Oikawa

The Japanese city of Hakodate, which did not at all help after the Halifax Explosion, gets a Christmas tree delivered by the City of Halifax every year, reports Katy Parsons for the CBC:

Every year for about two decades, a giant Christmas tree has traveled from Halifax to Hakodate.

The holiday tradition is little-known here but highly celebrated in the city 10,000 kilometres away.


Halifax pays for the tree — which usually costs about $3,500 — and its truck ride to Montreal. The city of Hakodate picks up the tab for the tree’s journey from Quebec to Japan.

As for why the annual tradition is not better known to Nova Scotians, [urban forester John] Simmons said Halifax could probably do a better job of tooting its own horn.

6. Christmas truce

Metro today publishes a “happy edition,” which national editor Cathrin Bradbury explains contains “only positive news stories.”

One story concerns historian Thomas Weber’s efforts to document the “Christmas truces” of World War 1, when the soldiers on either side of the front would throw down their weapons and meet each other halfway across no man’s land to “exchange gifts, sing carols, even play soccer with their erstwhile enemies.”

Weber has found that most of this history has been censored:

“If you want to make sure that the men of your country are willing to fight and risk their lives … you would want to make sure that you present the other side as a worthwhile and serious enemy to fight.”

Military authorities, trying to preserve the “us versus them” narrative, condemned and covered up Christmas truces, Weber said, but they weren’t able to censor every letter home.


1. Hygge

Photo: Stephen Archibald

“Are you aware of the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’ or ‘hoo-guh’)?” asks Stephen Archibald:

It is often translated as “cosy” but then quickly you are told that that is not really accurate. It has to do with the sense of well being you have in a comfortable setting, perhaps sharing a beverage with friends or wearing wool socks and wrapped in a blanket on a winter evening surrounded by candles. Hygge can be experienced year round but the warm glow of Christmas makes this the signature season.


On our fall visit to Copenhagen we asked people about hygge but it seemed to be something they understood and lived and did not think too much about. Tasteful surroundings and a populace who are among the happiest in the world handles a lot of it. In this photo the friend we were staying with in Copenhagen had set the table for lunch with friends. The food was as tasty as the setting.

2. Dillon Garland

Dillon Garland

Paul Andrew Kimball has published the second edition of his View 902 Podcast, in which he interviews director Dillon Garland about the state of independent filmmaking in Nova Scotia, as well as:

[Garland’s] first feature film Afraid to Speak, which debuted this past fall at the Parrsboro Film Festival after being snubbed by the Atlantic Film Festival, which we discuss. Along the way, Dillon talks about his upbringing in the Shelburne region, what inspired him to get into filmmaking in the first place, and where he wants to go from here. We also get into an in-depth conversation about what it’s like working with actors, and how trust between actors and a director is fundamental to being a successful filmmaker. Finally, we manage to find time to chat about pro wrestling, telepathic space otters, and our experiences at the old Shelburne Sound Stage.

3. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

A super container terminal port for Sydney? At what cost? My questions for the wise who are proposing this fiction are as follows:

1. By the time the container terminal is built what shape will the railway be in? The trains are falling off the tracks now, the tracks are old, rusted and rotten, the ties and bedding are suffering from neglect and the whole line needs replacement. Who’s paying for that?

2. One has to wonder where the money used to pay consultants, hold meetings and wine and dine is coming from.  Is it taxpayers money?

3. What did the Chinese consortium that visited earlier this year walk away with. These business people are not stupid and they never spend their own money. Now we have a new group. Or do we?

4. What are these councillors up to? Some new and old voted on something as large as this without giving it more consideration.  

I don’t believe there ever be a container terminal port in Sydney Harbour. Why? Just look at Port Hawkesbury which has a deep harbour, is ice free and a railway that’s in fairly decent shape. They’ve been trying for 15 years to get a container terminal in Melford with no luck.

So how much are we in CBRM going to waste in dollars before we put the money to good use instead of in a pipe dream?

Don Dickson, Sydney


No public meetings.

On campus

The universities are deserted.

In the harbour

4pm: Tokyo Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
5am: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
5:30am: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
7am: Oceanex Sanderling, moves from Pier 30 to Pier 41
10am: Agios Minas, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Cagliari, Italy
Noon: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
1pm: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York

Maersk Pembroke. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Maersk Pembroke. Photo: Halifax Examiner

3:30pm: Maersk Pembroke, container ship,  arrives at Fairview Cove from Montreal
6pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
9pm: Tokyo Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
10pm: NYK Rumina, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Bremerhaven, Germany
11pm: CMA CGM Almaviva, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from Port Klang, Malaysia
11:30pm: Maersk Pembroke, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea


Examineradio will be published later today — the entire episode is devoted to the living wage issue.

Tomorrow, El Jones has a story about forgiveness.

I’ll return with Morning File on Tuesday.

Happy Christmas or whatever else you do.

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

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  1. I don’t understand how even scab editors can permit such unethical and ridiculous stories. I wouldn’t expect that low level of reporting and editing from the smallest of small town papers. It keeps getting worse. Perhaps it is an encouraging sign that competent reporters and editors don’t want to scab and thus they can’t find any willing to work there even in the current job market? But I’m assuming that eventually this is going to result in libel lawsuits, and perhaps, in the right context, criminal charges. Godspeed the day.

    And yeah, you’re more than a “blogger”, a rather quaint 2005-era concept anyway although there are still a few of substance around. You are a very good reporter and editor and publisher whose newspaper happens to be digital. (Although I know Halifax and like it and spend time there, one of the main reasons I subscribe is to learn from your journalistic approach and method.)

  2. Regarding the death in Timberlea, there have been numerous accidents over the last few days in the area of the 103, NW Arm Drive, and Old Sambro Road. All of these areas appear to be salted by one provincial depot located near Prospect Road. Last night they appeared to be dispatched later than most of the other trucks in the province (as indicated on the NS plow locator website). Something seems to be going on there that needs to be investigated – whether it is cutbacks, lack of resources or sheer incompetence. It could use an investigative journalist.