1. Bar Society says Lyle Howe should be disbarred, ordered to pay $500,000

Lyle Howe (Jessica Durling, The Signal)

“The bar society argues Howe should now suffer the ultimate legal punishment — not being allowed to practise the profession for which he trained — and also be shackled with a debt he may never be able to repay, in Catch-22 part because he is not allowed to practise his profession,” reports Stephen Kimber for the Halifax Examiner.

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2. Tasty Budds


Well, this story sure has taken a turn…

“The chief executive officer of the Tasty Budd’s Compassion Club shot a man to death in a daycare parking lot in 1995,” report Aaron Beswick and Steve Bruce for the Chronicle Herald:

The Registry of Joint Stocks lists Norman Arthur Lawrence as the CEO, director and recognized agent for Tasty Budd’s Compassion Club Inc.


While the RCMP declined to confirm whether this was the same Norman Lawrence who shot Michael Forsyth seven times on Aug. 21, 1995, a search of court records by The Chronicle Herald confirmed this fact.

At the 1998 trial in which he was charged with first-degree murder but convicted by a jury of the lesser charge of manslaughter, Lawrence claimed that he shot Forsyth in self-defence after seeing him reach for a gun in his belt.

Meanwhile, “[o]ne day after Tasty Budds reopened its five Nova Scotia locations following police raids last week, one of them has again been searched by police,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke confirmed to Metro Tuesday afternoon that police searched the Tasty Budds location in Cole Harbour.

“We arrested four people, one of whom will be in court tomorrow morning in Dartmouth,” Clarke said.

Charges are expected against that one person, and Clarke said police will be naming them on Wednesday.

When you criminalize pot, some criminals will get involved in the sale of it, I guess. The worst part of this situation is that people are taking low-paying jobs at the pot dispensaries and being told that their jobs are legal and lawyers will be provided for them should anything go amiss. I kind of doubt that’s how it plays out, though.

3. Burnside connector

The red line shows the approximate route of the original proposal for a Burnside Expressway. The yellow line shows the current alignment of the western end of the 107 corridor, referred to in the 2017 twinning/tolling study.

“A Transportation Department proposal to build an extension of Highway 107 from Dartmouth, N.S., to Bedford is on hold because the department didn’t submit enough information in its environmental assessment documents,” reports Frances Willick for the CBC:

Environment Minister Iain Rankin sent a letter to the department’s acting director of highway engineering and capital programs on Friday stating that the information he received was insufficient for him to make a decision.

Rankin requested updated baseline information on fish and fish habitat, including Atlantic whitefish at Anderson Lake. He also said the department must develop a plan to mitigate possible effects of the highway project on Atlantic whitefish and Anderson Lake.

This is quite interesting. Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler has been questioning why the proposed highway was rerouted from a more or less straight shot from Burnside Drive to Duke Street in favour of a meandering and much longer (and more expensive) loop around Lake Anderson (see photo above). We hope to have more on that issue in a couple of weeks.

I don’t know if there are political machinations behind Rankin’s delay or if this is a case of a minister actually doing his job. I’ll assume the latter.

4. Creatures in the harbour

I took the Woodside ferry across the harbour Monday afternoon and saw a seal swimming next to the boat.

Yesterday, there was a whale in the harbour:

And at least three other whales and a porpoise were swimming about yesterday as well.

But, “[d]espite the occasional presence of whales in Halifax Harbour, the port authority is not keeping an ear out underwater to protect ships or marine life,” reports Tom Ayers for the Chronicle Herald:

Port of Halifax spokesman Lane Farguson said Tuesday the authority doesn’t do any underwater acoustic monitoring like the Port of Vancouver, which runs the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program to listen for noisy ships in hopes of protecting endangered killer whales in that area.

“At this time, we do not have an acoustic monitoring program in place to track or measure vessel noise levels in the Port of Halifax,” he said.

5. Thin skins at the DNR

WestFor clearcut on the former Bowater lands, 2016, St. Margaret’s Bay. Photo: Raymond Plourde. Credit: Raymond Plourde

In September 2016, the Halifax Examiner published an instalment in Linda Pannozzo’s forestry series, “Forest Tragedy: How the Forest Industry and Compliant Bureaucrats hijacked the public will.” She wrote:

They were heady days.

It was spring of 2008 and citizens started gathering in droves in community halls to talk about why the natural world mattered to them. A few months earlier Conservative Natural Resources Minister David Morse announced that Voluntary Planning would lead a year of independent public consultations on the province’s minerals, forests, provincial parks, and biodiversity. It was to be phase one of a three-part process to develop a new Natural Resources Strategy for the department. “This first phase is crucial. It will identify the foundation on which we can build a better plan,” Morse said at the time. For the first time the advice of citizens was going to shape resource policy in the province.

Well, that’s what we were told and at the time the sense of possibility and excitement was palpable. I remember the meeting I attended at the Blockhouse Fire Hall on the south shore about a half-hour drive from my home. It was held one evening in May, middle of the week. The hall was filled to capacity, standing room only. It was hot. And when the committee asked its first question, “What is your vision for forests, biodiversity, minerals, and parks in NS?” it was like a rusty spigot had finally been pried loose. And it gushed. I felt buoyed by the spirited crowd and the visions being articulated — it was gritty, sometimes maddening, and in many ways profound. My heart pounded. It felt like democracy in action.

But about a month ago when the DNR released its progress report, on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 Natural Resource Strategy, any hope that a new vision had been put into practice was dashed. Instead of reporting on its progress toward meeting the citizen-led targets, including a significant reduction in clearcutting and prohibiting whole tree biomass harvesting, it has instead abandoned them.

Pannozzo went on to explain in great detail how the the Department of Natural Resources has been “captured” by the forest industry.

One example: Jonathan Porter, the former woodlands manager at the AbitibiBowater pulp and paper company. Pannozzo continued:

In the second phase of the Natural Resource Strategy process, Porter reappeared. He was selected along with wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and forest scientist Donna Crossland to put together two reports for then-DNR Minister John MacDonell: one about biomass and one about clearcutting. Panels of expertise like this one were selected by a three-person steering committee appointed by the Minister and its job was to research the issues and themes that emerged from the public meetings, hold “stakeholder” consultations while “remaining faithful to citizen values articulated in phase one.” The panels would submit draft reports and recommendations to the steering panel. But, according to Bancroft, “Porter did everything he could to block any progress for change… he did not collaborate as he was supposed to with respect to the panel mandate and the Voluntary Planning public consultation results, but rather strove to sabotage our efforts.” In the end, Porter wrote his own dissenting report, in support of clearcutting and biomass harvesting.

In it, Porter also set forth his vision for the role of government in the forest sector and in particular the role of regulation. In a nutshell, he said less is better. Porter argued that compliance with existing regulations should be improved but that any new regulations to control harvesting practices “should not be implemented.” He suggested that voluntary compliance through education of best practices would be enough to turn the tide.

Here’s where the “regulatory capture” part comes in:

In 2013 the NDP government lost the election to Stephen McNeil’s Liberals, who a year later hired Jonathan Porter as the Executive Director of the department’s renewable resources branch and appointed Allan Eddy, a former senior forester with Nova Scotia Power, as Associate Deputy Minister. They joined Jonathan Kierstead, also formerly of Bowater who had been hired a couple years earlier and was Director of Forestry.

In essence, “company men” now dictate forest policy in Nova Scotia.

A month after Pannozzo’s piece came out, the Chronicle Herald published an op-ed by author Mike Parker about Nova Scotia’s forestry practices. In it, Parker questions the province’s heavy — almost entire — reliance on clearcutting and says clearcutting is not based on science.

What’s curious about this is that DNR didn’t respond to Pannozzo’s 5,000-word piece or to Parker’s op-ed, but rather to a short letter written by Donna Crossland and Bob Bancroft the Herald published on November 1. It reads:

Mike Parker’s forestry article (Oct. 29) brings to mind the provincial government-sponsored phase 2 science panel in 2009-2010 that followed Voluntary Planning’s comprehensive public consultations. The forest panel consisted of the two of us as well as Jon Porter — all with academic credentials. We were to apply scientific knowledge to the demonstrated public will for change.

Mr. Porter was a woodlands manager for a pulp company at the time.

Time and time again we would put relevant science on the table that Porter would dismiss, yet offer no other perspectives other than the status quo to forest management.

Mike Parker has it right — they ignore the science.

Porter’s pulp company subsequently went under and he lost the job. He’s now a senior bureaucrat in the Department of Natural Resources.

Our Nova Scotia forests are being run on the same broken, outdated, doomed business model as Porter’s pulp company.

We need a change of command.

Donna Crossland, Tupperville

Bob Bancroft , Pomquet

That letter set the bureaucrats off.

At 10:03am on the day the letter appeared, Allan Eddy, the former NS Power forester who is now the deputy minister of DNR, fired off an email to Cliff Drysdale, the chair of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve:

Cliff you have probably seen the letter from Bob and Donna in the Chronicle today. Where once again they provide a one sided view of the strategy process and take unprofessional pot shots at Jon Porter. Given your first hand experience with this situation, I would once again encourage you to put your views on the public record in order to provide some balance to the public discourse that so far has been one sided and very prejudicial to Mr. Porter.

Drysdale was more than happy to assist, but noted that “I don’t think me just getting involved with a pissing match with [Crossland and Bancroft] would be constructive, although I won’t hesitate to criticize, in principle, personally directed and polarizing discussions coming from some.”

And then a draft response bounced around the department for a few weeks, apparently getting tweaked by PR people and such. It was finally published in the Herald on November 30.

6. Codey Hennigar

“More than two years after a mentally ill Nova Scotia man killed his mother and two grandparents, a team of mental-health professionals argued Tuesday he should be granted unescorted day passes,” reports Michael MacDonald for the Canadian Press:

They said Codey Hennigar has shown no signs of violence, aggression or psychotic symptoms.

But members of Hennigar’s own family and a Crown prosecutor persuaded a review board that the 33-year-old — declared not criminally responsible for the 2015 killings — is not ready to function on his own in the community.

“Please, don’t risk it yet,” Hennigar’s younger brother, Chandler, told the board.

In an emotionally charged hearing inside a psychiatric hospital, a six-member Criminal Code Review Board denied Codey Hennigar’s request for unescorted passes, concluding in a 5-1 decision that more time was needed to ensure he is mentally stable.

7. Seely Hall

Seely Hall in Port Medway. Photo: Queens County Citizen

My pal Philip Slayton and his wife Cynthia Wine bought Seely Hall, reports Scott Costen for the Queens County Citizen. Last year, Slayton gave me a walking tour of Port Medway, which took all of about 15 minutes as it’s just a speck of a place. We walked by Seely Hall, which sits in front of the ancient town cemetery, but I don’t remember Slayton telling me he had designs on the structure. I’m sure whatever he does with it will be a roaring success.


No public meetings this week.

On campus

Saint Mary’s


Thesis Defence, Computing and Data Analytics (Thursday, 11am, AT 216) — Matt Triff will defend his thesis, “Automatic Inventory Identification Through Image Recognition.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9:15am Wednesday. There seems to be much more oil tanker (red boats) traffic than usual; I don’t know if this is related to disruption of oil production in Texas due to the hurricane. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 9:15am Wednesday. There seems to be much more oil tanker (red boats) traffic than usual; I don’t know if this is related to disruption of oil production in Texas due to the hurricane. Map:

6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
6am: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Algeciras, Spain
7am: Hafina Lise, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for Milford Haven, England
4pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
4:30pm: ZIM Tarragona, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
7pm: NYK Artemis, container ship, arrives at berth TBD from Norfolk
7pm: Sichem Challenge, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage for inspection from Port-Alfred, Quebec


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. So it’s OK for citizens to criticize government bureaucrats, in general and by name, but it’s not OK for the bureaucracy to respond? Why the double standard?

  2. Allan Eddy is also a former forester with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, based in Truro.
    He is a monoculture-thinker of the 1980s and ’90s, where mass publicly funded replanting in the aftermath of Scott Paper mixed forest clear-cutting took place.
    A good degree of this replanting was undertaken through Scouts Canada, part of its Trees for Canada program.
    Free labour.

  3. Note how much the NS government’s approach to our forests resembles President Trump’s environmental policy, including putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

  4. The one thing that annoys me the most about the Tasty Budds busts is that there is no consistency across the country. If you have guns or cocaine I guess you can/should be arrested (I would decriminalise all drugs but that’s an argument for another day) but for selling pot in a dispensary that will not serve you without you producing your prescription (at least I Know this is true of the Cole Harbour Location) you should NOT be arrested. My main argument is not the usual one though — it is about consistency of the application of the criminal code. 100 Marijuana Dispensaries are licensed by the City of Vancouver. They cannot be close to Community Centres, daycares or schools. For-profit stores pay a $30,000 a year licensing fee.($1000 for non-profit compassion clubs) They are then subject to regulation and inspection by public health. So, in Vancouver, you can carry on the dispensary business quite legally, while in other parts of the country you are immediately shut down (Montreal) or tolerated for years, then shut down and then opened again(Halifax.) This kind of thing brings the law into disrepute. Everyone keeps talking about “they should have known, it is illegal” etc. But very much not consistently applied across the country, so no wonder lawyers are advising that they cannot be successfully prosecuted. . I also understand that the assurances of not being busted, given to low paid retail workers in these stores, have mostly been born out as (they tell me – have not verified) that the charges against all, but the owners/managers, have been dropped every time — and quickly. I am not sure that the dispensary model is the right one (something like Liquor Stores where they are non-profit/all profit is public, might be better) but they should not be subject to what appears to be quite arbitrary arrest, and inconsistent application of the law. .

  5. Interesting article about Seely Hall. I stumbled across it and took some photos several years ago, as I have an affinity for old, abandoned buildings. I judged it to be derelict and unrestorable.

    i would be happy to be proven wrong.

  6. My niece lives in Port Medway and I’ve spent a couple of weeks there each of the past three summers. Nice little village with a great village store/cafe.

    What I find strange about Seely Hall, originally a store with a hall upstairs, is that it seems to be built over top a swamp of stagnant standing water. Doesn’t seem like a very good arrangement for a wooden building, but it has stood there since the middle of the 19th century so something must be working. I will be interested to see what the new owners do with it. There is no running water or septic I was told…pretty hard in the circumstances.