1. Michelle Coffin on Jamie Baillie’s resignation

The CBC spoke with Michelle Coffin about Jamie Baillie’s resignation. Coffin, you’ll recall, was the former Liberal staffer who was assaulted by Stephen McNeil’s spokesperson, Kyley Harris. Last year, Coffin spoke of her experience — and how the party turned its collective back on her — in a Coast interview. Coffin now works as a prof at Mount Saint Vincent University.

“In my case, the Liberals were very tone deaf,” Coffin told the CBC:

“They continue to be very tone deaf, dealing with my experience. In fact, they sided with the individual that assaulted me,” she said.

“The PCs took a very different approach, a couple of years after my experience. The PCs are protecting the [complainant] involved. They removed Jamie from his role and they went public to try to manage the situation. So from my vantage point, that’s progress.”

2. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Annie Leibovitz’s Blues Brothers photo was supposed to one day be displayed at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Last year, the province hired Lord Consulting, a Toronto firm that specializes in planning for museums, to conduct a feasibility study for a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to be located either in a stand-alone building on the waterfront or “co-located” with NSCAD. Lord recommended the latter option.

The existence of the study was revealed by a freedom of information request filed by somebody in the media — that person’s name is redacted from the public disclosure related to the request, and I’m not aware of any reporting around the issue.

The final draft of the Lord study was completed in June 2017, but its contents are not yet public. However, an October 17, 2017 email from Bruce Henneberry lays out the conclusion of the Lord report. I don’t know exactly what Henneberry’s job is — his internet presence is remarkably thin, and he doesn’t show up as a provincial employee on last year’s Public Accounts report; he has a email address, however, and the email has the subject line “Memorandum to Cabinet,” so I’m assuming he’s a Liberal political appointee. Update: Henneberry is at the Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage.

The email was sent to Nancy Noble (the CEO of the art gallery), Jennifer Angel (the acting president at Waterfront Development), and Dianne Taylor-Gearing (president of NSCAD), and is heavily redacted. But, Henneberry wrote:

Earlier this week I received a draft of the report from our workshop and have started to pen the MEC [Memo to Executive Council?] needed to advance to the Executive Council Office. Generally speaking, the question of why the government may want to do this and the advantages of the collaboration are well articulated and can be easily translated into an MEC.

The plan to “colocate” the art gallery with NSCAD is reiterated in a November 8, 2017 email from Henneberry to Rebecca Doucette, a manager in the Department of Finance. “I have the latest draft [of the Lord report],” writes Henneberry. “Also the NSCAD business plan associated with the project.” Two attachments to the email, which were not provided in the freedom of information request, are titled “May 29 2017 AGNS NSCAD Co-Located Facility Study DRAFT” and “NSCAD_Business_Plan_FINAL” — meaning that NSCAD has been planning for the co-located facility for nearly a year.

Communications around the proposed project stopped in December, so it presumably has been presented to cabinet, and the premier is making up his mind.

But it doesn’t make sense for any new gallery project to move forward until there’s resolution to the Annie Leibovitz collection.

3. Abdoul Abdi

Abdoul Abdi as a child.

Rosemary Barton interviewed Abdoul Abdi on last night’s The National.

4. Irving Shipyard walkout

Irving Shipyard. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Workers at Irving Shipyard walked off their jobs at around noon yesterday, in protest of a change in pension payments. The union, Unifor Local 1, posted on its website that the job action had its intended outcome:

The bargaining committee is pleased to report that the employer has told workers who walked off the job in protest today that their pension contributions will be reinstated by the company.

Earlier today workers were very concerned to read on their pay stubs that the company had unilaterally stopped paying pension contributions on their overtime, something that has been in place for decades.

The bargaining committee was disappointed that this step was taken given they are working hard at the bargaining table, with the assistance of a conciliator, trying to reach a fair collective agreement.

The employer has now agreed to return to the status quo and bring this issue to the bargaining table, where it belongs.

The employer has also agreed that no discipline will occur as a result of today’s protest.​

5. Don Connolly

Today is Don Connolly’s last day as host of CBC Information Morning. Katie Toth writes about him for The Coast.

And Bev Keddy published a long interview with Connolly.


I’ve never had to wait for a train in Nova Scotia, which I find strange.

See, I grew up in Norfolk, and trains were an everyday reality, as mile-long trains wound their way from the Appalachian coal fields through the city and to Lambert’s Point, where they were unloaded onto colliers for parts unknown. I would guess that a couple of dozen trains a day came through town. There were underpasses at most of the main roads heading downtown, but not on most of the other roads, and waiting at crossing gates was an everyday experience; you just factored it into your travel time. The gates would drop, the train would come. People turned off their engines, read a newspaper, or got out to stretch their legs and smoke. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone who was impatient or angry — that’d be like getting impatient or angry with gravity; it’s just a fact of the universe. Six-year-old me would count the passing train cars — just over 100 cars seemed the normal length, but every now and again there’d be an especially long one, maybe 150 or even 200 cars.

On Sundays, after mass, Dad would sometimes take us to watch the trains unload, each car lifted by a giant machine, and then turned upside down over a conveyor belt that carried the coal to a waiting ship. The car was then righted and put back on the track, and the next car moved forward. It was fascinating, almost hypnotic, to watch this stage of West Virginian mountains being dismantled and carted away. Little did I know I was watching the destruction of the world.

Through the miracle of corporate mergers, Norfolk & Western became Norfolk Southern. I was in Chicago a few years ago and took the train down to the south side to see Lorraine Hansberry’s house. This turned out to be a ridiculous mission, but walking from the train station down 63rd Street, I passed the Norfolk Southern intermodal station, a gigantic complex where double-decker trains come in and offload their containers to trucks. I was there maybe 20 minutes and saw probably 1,000 containers shifted. This happens 24 hours a day, every day of the year. And it’s one of I think 13 such stations in Chicago.

All this makes me feel very puny. I have no other point, but it gives me the excuse to again post this Fred Eaglesmith vid:

YouTube video


No public meetings.

On campus


Industrial Ruination (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Andrew Parnaby from Cape Breton University will speak on “Roots, Region, and Resistance: Facing Industrial Ruination in Sydney, Nova Scotia, 1967.”

Successful Drug Development (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Brian Fahie will speak on “Analytical Chemistry: The Key to Successful Drug Development in the 21st Century.”

Saint Mary’s

Student Voices: Sexual Violence Prevention and Bystander Intervention (Friday, 9am, Room 422 in the building named after a grocery store) — students from across NS discuss the development of a new bystander intervention training program. RSVP Required.

Mount Saint Vincent

Senate (Friday, 2pm, Rosaria Board Room) — I notice that the MSV Senate gets more into the weeds of course offerings than does its counterpart at Dal.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 10am Friday. Map:

5am: Brotonne Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
5:30am: Aniara, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southhampton, England
7am: Pantonio, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
10:30am: Asterix, replenishment vessel, arrives at Dockyard from sea
10:30am: NYK Terra, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
11am: Brotonne Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
11am: Pantonio, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
2:30pm: Thorco Logos, cargo ship, moves from Pier 9 to Bedford Basin anchorage
3:30pm: Aniara, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
9pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
11pm: NYK Terra, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai


Got up at the usual time today, just not so much to write about.

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

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  1. This comment is from Karen’s husband, Richard Bell, who never thought he’d have a chance to write about Norfolk railroads in Halifax. My father was the chief engineer of the Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad, the railroad that operated the trains on the track to Lamberts Point in Norfolk. Whenever anything went wrong–a train derailment, a drunk ship captain smashing a barge into one of the Belt Line’s many bridges (Norfolk has almost as much water as Venice), my Dad would have to go. Eight different national rail lines came in to Norfolk from the north, west, and south, and the Belt Line connected them all up.

    One of the biggest headaches was precisely the place where the tracks going to Lamberts Point crossed Hampton Blvd. Unfortunately, Hampton Blvd. was the most direct route from what was then Norfolk’s infamous “East Main’ street of bars and strip joints to the Main Gate of the Norfolk Naval Base. So sailors who wanted to down one last beer would then jump into their cars and speed off dow Hampton Blvd., hoping to make it back to base before curfew. And in their drunken haste to avoid punishment, these sailors would ignore the extensive crossing gates and flashing red lights, and end up either getting hit by a train, or running in to a train, and dying.

  2. Another long train, originating from the gypsum mine located near Milford Station, passes through Burnside every weekday carrying gypsum material that is unloaded at the National Gypsum docksite located in Wrights Cove located off Windmill Road.

  3. If you’re into train songs, the Billy Bragg and Joe Henry album “Shine a Light – Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad” is well worth a listen. It was recorded while travelling across the US by train.

  4. Only ONE LONG (3 or 4 km long) freight comes in and out of Halifax daily.
    As another reader said, try going to Victoria park in Truro if you want a longish wait.
    You could also go to Windsor Junction, but the wait there is shorter as they are moving much faster than in downtown Truro.
    Typically, CN120 arrives mid-morning in Rockingham yard and departs as CN121 mid-evening
    Windsor Junction is the closest place to Halifax to get stopped by the most trains — go to near the Beaver Bank Cross Road to try and get stopped by 120/121 and the freights that go in and out of the Dartmouth sub — Car carriers to/from Autoport and gypsum hoppers to/from National Gypsum in Milford from/to Wright’s Cove
    VIA #15 for Montreal is scheduled to leave Halifax at 13:00 a few days a week and #14 comes in early evening (depending on delays)

  5. The elephant in the room on the art gallery move is just what do they plan to do with the existing building? Nobody is saying anything about the fate of the magnificent sandstone structure designed by David Stirling. Why not reinvest in this historic building? Will it become another McCondo development towering 20 or 30 stories over the downtown?

    1. Exactly what I was thinking.
      AGNS gets the bums rush for new condos or more unneeded off ice space.

      All planned in secret, of course.

  6. The only time I’ve had to wait for a train in Halifax was at the crossing at Alderney Gate. I was attending an evening meeting at the library and had parked in the lower lot. A train started crossing just as I reached my car and I had to wait what felt like an hour for the train to pass. Memory being what it is, it was probably more like 10 or 15 minutes, the train was moving incredibly slowly, I could easily have walked beside it for miles.

    1. The train is incredibly slow at Alderney Landing because there are so many risks. In the evening I park in the corner lot which allows you to access Alderney Drive without having to cross the railway tracks. That lot is open after six during the week and all day on weekends.

  7. You’re fortunate that you’ve never had to wait for a train. Delayed arrivals and departures are my typical VIA Rail experiences.

    Mind you, I do not travel by rail as frequently as I used to. Perhaps punctuality has improved.

    1. Ah, you’re referring to waiting for a train to pass rather than waiting for a train to arrive.

      Yes, it is a less frequent occurrence than it was when I was a kid.

  8. Having grown up in Truro, I feel like half my time in a car before the age of 17 was spent waiting at train crossings. Train horns immediately make me feel at home in a place.

    Thanks for the Eaglesmith. I needed that.