1. Rich woman says we should cut taxes on rich people

The Liberal government hired Laurel Broten, a lawyer and former Liberal Ontario cabinet minister, to review Nova Scotia’s tax system. Her report was published yesterday. It recommends that we eliminate the top tax bracket on those with incomes of more than $150,000, while doing away with the tax rebates on diapers and tampons.

In short, discredited Reagan-style trickle-down economics.

If you need any more evidence that the Ivany Report will be used to justify attacks on working people, here’s what Broten wrote about her proposal to do away with the top income tax bracket:

As the Ivany Commission emphasized, innovation and risk taking hold vital keys
to a prosperous economic future in Nova Scotia. The OECD points out that high
top marginal tax rates reduce the payoff for risk taking, so reducing them should boost entrepreneurship and innovative activity in the economy. 30 A boost to entrepreneurship—rewarding risk-takers, dreamers, doers, and builders—is exactly what Nova Scotia needs, and another emphasis of the Ivany report. Nova Scotia needs more people who will stay here or come here to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and build a prosperous future. An important way to do that is to rebalance the risk-reward imperative. This recommendation will provide $36 million in annual tax relief to Nova Scotians.

You will pay taxes on your baby's diapers so this woman can live in the style to which she is accustomed..
You will pay taxes on your baby’s diapers so this woman can live in the style to which she is accustomed..

Too bad Broten didn’t recommend a tax break on Jagermeister, because we’re going to need multiple shots for every citizen in order to swallow this nonsense.

Where to start? First of all, “dreamers” and rich people don’t “create jobs.” You know who creates jobs? Customers. Regular people with everyday jobs who have cash to spend. It’s that cash that “risk-takers” figure out how to appeal to and “build” their fortunes on. That’s why we need good-paying, union-protected jobs for as many workers as possible: because those workers are the bedrock of the economy. Without them, our economy is a race to the bottom, as we rely increasingly on ever-lower paying jobs in whatever slave-labour hellhole we can find them in, and loot the collective social wealth that took decades and centuries to accumulate.

I note that Broten quit her well-paying job in Ontario and moved her family to Halifax despite our supposedly onerous high taxes on people like her, giving the lie to her argument that she and her fellow rich people are scared away from the place. In truth, like all people of her class, she has no problem working the political circuit to land positions to continue her privileged lifestyle.  She hadn’t even finished unpacking before she was handed a $50,000 contract from the Department of Finance (that’s from the last fiscal year, ending April 1,) and being appointed to a SMU advisory board. Meanwhile, her husband, Paul Laberge, was hired as senior counsel for…Emera. Yea, that’s some serious risk-taking, better give those people a tax break.

2. Holly Bartlett

Yesterday, the Halifax police released their response to the Quebec City Police Department’s operational review of the Halifax PD’s investigation into the death of Holly Bartlett. I dropped what I was doing (my city council recap) and ran over to the police department for Chief Blais’ press conference, and then spoke with Holly’s family last night. As soon as this Morning File is published I’ll write an article about all this. Check back to the home page later this morning.

3. Driver charged

The 23-year-old driver who struck and killed a 74-year-old pedestrian in Portland Estates last month has been charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and with operating an unregistered vehicle. If convicted, he’ll be fined $693.95 and $176.45.

4. Wild Kingdom

“At one time, there were an estimated 7,000 moose in mainland Nova Scotia, but now that number is believed to be below 1,000,” reports CTV, which explores why the animal is threatened.

Seals sometimes rape penguins.


1. Roundabout

Parker Donham is a big fan of the new roundabout by the Halifax Common, and has an aerial photo of it to prove it.

2. Agricola Street

Liquor store
Before and after. Photos: Stephen Archibald.
Before and after. Photos: Stephen Archibald.

Stephen Archibald celebrates the redevelopment of the liquor store complex on Agricola Street, which now includes Cyclesmith and the parenting store Nurtured. ” I think of it as a hipster trifecta: bicycles, babies and booze,” he writes.

3. Broten will be ignored

Graham Steele pans Laurel Broten’s tax review recommendations as politically unviable.

4. Chronicle Herald

Some unknown person has created a Friends of the Chronicle Herald Newsroom page on Facebook. I highly recommend you go over there, like it, and follow along.

5. Linden Lea

Linden Lea

I’ve written a couple of times about this the proposed Linden Lea development in downtown Dartmouth, without much reaction. But now, says Kate Watson, a citizens group has formed and come out in opposition to the project.



Active Transportation Committee (4pm, City Hall)—the committee will be looking at the Macdonald Bridge bike lane, among other issues.


Standing Committee on Resources (9am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Alan Grant, the Executive Director of Agriculture and Food Operations Branch in the Agriculture Department, will be asked about the strawberry industry.

Legislature sits (2–8pm, Province House)

On campus



Thesis defence, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Thursday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Courtney Weir Stairs will defend her thesis, “Functions and Origins of Mitochondrion-Related Organelles in Anaerobic Protists.”

Land Exploration Seismology (Thursday, 11:30am, Milligan Room, Room 8007, 8th floor Biology Tower, Life Sciences Centre)—Peter Cary will talk on “Known knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknown Unknowns in Land Exploration Seismology.”

Rumours (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building)—Abbas Mehrabian, a mathematician from the University of Waterloo, will talk on “Bounds for randomized rumour spreading protocols.”

Adaptation (Thursday, 3:30, Fifth Floor Lounge in the Biology wing of the Life Sciences Centre)—Rowan Barrett, from McGill University, will talk on “The experimental genomics of adaptation.”

Eukaryotes (Thursday, 4pm, Theatre D, CRC Building)—T. Martin Embley, from the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, will lecture on “Investigating the Origins of Eukaryotes: An Evolving Synthesis.”

Climate Change, Oil Sands and Marine Navigation (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building)—Julie Gelfand, who is the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development, will be speaking.

Medieval Islam (Thursday, 7pm, Room 1009, Kenneth C. Rowe Building)—Maria Subtelny, from the University of Toronto, will lecture on “Rules for Rulers: Political Ethics in Medieval Islam.”

Planetarium show (Thursday, 7pm, Rm. 120, Dunn Building)—”Andromeda and the Autumn Sky.” Five bucks at the door.


Thesis defence, Engineering Mathematics and Internetworking (Friday, 9am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building)—PhD candidate Farzaneh Naghibi will defend her thesis, “Serviceability Limit State Design of Deep Foundations.”

Has anyone else noticed a department name creep at Dalhousie? At some distant point in the past Organic Chemistry morphed into Biochemistry, and now into Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. We can’t just have Mathematics for Computer science, but rather Engineering Mathematics and Internetworking, because “internetworking” must trigger some google alert somewhere. The centuries-old field of Civil Engineering is now Civil and Resource Engineering because of oil money, I guess. I wish the university would avoid this continual degradation of the language.

Thesis defence, Chemistry (Friday, 10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Laura Albrecht will defend her thesis, “Local Stability Analysis of Hydrogen Bonding and Other Non-covalent Interactions.”

Brains (Friday, 12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building)—Jennifer Chandler, from the University of Ottawa, will talk on “Brains on Trial: Neuroscientific Evidence in Canadian Criminal Cases.”

Empty space (7pm, CIBC Auditorium, Goldberg Computer Science Building)—Toronto artist David Rokeby will talk about “The Secret Life of Empty Space.”

Saint Mary’s


Sonya Novkovic (Thursday, 2pm, Room LI135, Patrick Power Library)—Novkovic, from the Economics Department, will discuss her book, “Co-operative Innovations in China and the West.”


Henry Veltmeyer (Friday, noon, Room 227, McNally North)—Veltmeyer will talk onNatural Resource Extraction as a Model of Development: A Blessing or a Curse—or an Economic Opportunity?”

Randy Newman (Friday, 2:30pm, Sobey Building Room 260)—No, not that Randy Newman. This Randy Newman is from the Department of Psychology at Acadia University. He explains:

Research in my lab combines traditional behavioral measures with event-related brain potential (ERP) and eye tracking methodology in order to provide a comprehensive view of language processing. There has been a longstanding debate in reading research as to the nature of phonology’s role in activating the meaning of written words, especially amongst skilled readers. My talk will focus on experiments that have taken advantage of the homophony of the English language to clarify phonology’s role in reading. Aside from the impact of phonology on reading, there is mounting evidence to suggest that acquisition of orthographic knowledge shapes phonological representations. Given the primacy of spoken language both in human evolution and in child development, it may seem counterintuitive that orthographic knowledge would influence how we process speech. My talk will also discuss recent work in my lab that has begun to explore the nature of orthographic effects in spoken language

Kings’ College

John Stackhouse
John Stackhouse

John Stackhouse (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall)—the former Globe & Mail editor will talk on “Byte- sized democracy: Can the Internet save our democratic media and our political system?”


Over 800 scientists from around the world have co-signed a letter urging Stephen Harper to end “burdensome restrictions on scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.” Here’s the letter:

An Open Letter on Science to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

To:  Prime Minister Harper

As scientists outside of Canada committed to international cooperation in confronting threats to the planet and human health, we urge you to remove excessive and burdensome restrictions and barriers to scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.

Meeting today’s complex environmental and public health challenges requires the full participation of scientists around the globe. But recent reports (i, ii, iii) highlight a rapid decline in freedoms and funding extended to Canadian government scientists, which make it more difficult for them to continue research, communicate scientific information and expertise, and collaborate internationally.

A recent New York Times editorial, referencing the rapid development of the Alberta oil sands, went so far as to describe new communications restrictions on government scientists as “an attempt to guarantee public ignorance.”

Canada’s leadership in basic research, environmental, health, and other public science is in jeopardy. We urge you to restore government science funding and the freedom and opportunities to communicate these findings 

“For more information, read this blog post, or the three reports referenced in the letter: The Big Chill: Silencing Public Science, A SurveyVanishing Science: The Disappearance of Canadian Public Interest Science, and Muzzling Government Scientists: A Threat to Democracy,” explains the Union of Concerned Scientists, which wrote the letter and is organizing the ongoing collection of signers.

In the harbour

The approach to Halifax Harbour, 5:30am Thursday. The Elektra is passing Prospect, followed by Zim San Francisco and Bahre Jeddah. The green square is Chesapeake Highway, anchored.
The approach to Halifax Harbour, 5:30am Thursday. The Elektra is passing Prospect, followed by Zim San Francisco and Bahre Jeddah. The green square is Chesapeake Highway, anchored.

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)

Elektra, car carrier, Southampton, England to Autoport, then sails for New York
Bahri Jeddah, con-ro, Baltimore to Pier 31, then sails for Port Said
Chesapeake Highway, Emden, Germany to Autoport
Zim San Francisco, container ship, New York to Pier 42
Seabed Prince, offshore survey, Montrose to Pier 27
Bess, car carrier, Emden to Autoport


Hope to see some of you at the John Stackhouse talk tonight.

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

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  1. Love the TO Star article about garage mahal and Broten’s homeless Porsche. Priceless.

    We are truly lost if our “leaders” adopt this supply side pile of shit.

    Tell me we’ve moved past Reagan era voodoo economics.

  2. What voting alternative, what informed choice is left to a conscientious voter when successive elected Nova Scotia governments– first Dexter’s NDP, now McNeil’s Liberals — betray their fundamental ideological principles, the very ones influencing a voter’s decision? As I watched the Dexter government make bewildering choices, one regarding the Colored Children’s Home lawsuit and another on IBM, I wondered how on earth they reconciled with the party’s long-touted values. Expedience, I concluded, at least in their judgment. Conversely, the McNeil Liberals made the right choice on the Children’s Home lawsuit, but have been clearly leaning right of late. Expedience again. And insularity. The upper echelon tax reduction smacks of conservative ideology, and perception will do more harm than projected good. It’s interesting and disturbing how the ground has shifted in politics, and while I staunchly advocate voting, I do understand why many feel otherwise. Consider for a moment, party politics aside, U.S President Obama’s red line in Syria, and when push came to shove, he deferred to Congress though power to act was uniquely vested in him. I recall hearing it on the TV news and thinking, “Did they change their system?” Expedience again. The Dexter government made decisions more akin to Harper’s Conservatives, and in doing so, I fear irrevocably hurt our ability here in PEI to finally have a different option in the looming election. And now McNeil’s Liberals are leaning right, seemingly oblivious to expectations and the tradition of the party, especially with older voters who still traditionally vote. Who and what are these political parties anymore, and how can we believe anything they say? Lastly, regarding the Ivany Report, I read most of it; it dealt with startling demographics and how each would impact Nova Scotia fiscally and socially into the future. I don’t recall it suggesting specific public policies, at least none which any political party could uniquely claim.

  3. Come on, now. That highest tax bracket was introduced two years ago as a temporary measure. That doesn’t mean it should be eliminated – I’m not familiar enough with equitable tax policy to say one way or the other – but let’s not pretend it’s some long-standing bastion of equality at work in the Nova Scotian economy. Broten’s recommendations aren’t all perfect, but she’s presented a bold, comprehensive plan that deserves to be analyzed as a whole. Your considerable skill for big-picture thinking is better turned to actually reading and commenting on the full proposal, rather than zeroing in on character attacks and unhelpful cherry-picking.

  4. Broten thinks that a reduced personal tax burden will attract altruistic entrepreneurs to the province. But what kind of person would move here primarily because it will allow them to pocket more money? The kind that want to run their business more profitably for themselves, by hiring the fewest number of workers possible, and paying them the least amount of money they can legally get away with. Thats who.

  5. On corporate tax, and “economic development” funds to counter them:

    Its like MSRP. No one pays list price, right?

    What if I just want to go about my day, and buy the thing? No bullshit, no talking with a salesdroid, no trying to be upsold, or rightsold, or whatever. I have no connections, I don’t have a guy, I just want the everyday low price. Where is the break for someone who just wants to buy the thing and get on with his day?

    Tax rates should not be negotiable. They should not be based on who you know, or who you lobby. The rate is the rate is the rate. If the rate is too high *and it is* …. lower it.

  6. Thanks for wrecking my day, Tim. These people – Broten and Laberge – are so divorced from reality that I’m almost speechless, but not quite. All I can think of is Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” quip. Seriously, our government paid 50 grand for that load of crap? If McNeil and his government don’t distance themselves from this ridiculous pile of discredited right wing talking points, there truly is no hope for this province.

  7. Granted, the little bit of gossip I’ve heard about the Linden Lea development has been third-hand and mostly overheard at checkouts and the like. I would agree that the comments I heard were about changing the character of the neighbourhood – but not in an architectural sense. Rather, there was “concern” expressed (and yes, those are scare quotes) about how the quality of residents would drop with a new development and how it is likely to attract younger renters without families – hipsters and those at the start of their employment trajectory. The residents of the current complex are likely those of limited to moderate income who have, as the opponents say, lived there for years and are obviously willing to put up with decades-old infrastructure in return for rent that is lower than other, more modern (and convenient) locations.

    I am neither for nor against the development, not being familiar enough with the area to have a strong opinion. Tim’s earlier comments about preserving the duck pond are legitimate. But density is the key to attracting more services to the Pleasant St corridor (for example: it is currently serviced by a single bus route in off-peak hours) and dressing NIMBY prejudice as concern about neighbourhood character is both disingenuous and offensive.

  8. Great aerial photo of the Agricola Street Roundabout that Parker Donham posted.

    I live on Princess Place, just steps from the roundabout and I can tell you, this thing is going to change my life. I don’t like to think of the hundreds of hours I’ve spent sitting at those red lights on the corner. No more lights, no more waiting. I can hardly wait for the completion of the next one at the other end of North Park.

    Roundabouts are a great way to keep traffic moving smoothly throughout the city.

    Also, I echo David’s comment on your thoughts on Broten. She seems to be quite unhinged.

    1. When I worked at The Coast, I walked trough both the Cunard/Park and Cogswell/Park intersections almost daily. They were incredibly dangerous, both for drivers and pedestrians. Some people are fearful of roundabouts, but they’ll soon learn that they’re much, much safer than the intersections they replace.

  9. You’re going to see Stackhouse & not the Discovery Awards celebrating science achievement in Nova Scotia? Huh.

  10. Was she asked to prepare an economic report or a politically correct report? Since our current financial package isn’t improving matters, perhaps it would be prudent to examine the income tax-consumption tax analysis before dismissing the ideas.

  11. Steele gives this fellow politico too much respect (being a politico himself that is natural). We will not find our answers in the political mind, they are too invested in the current system to make the required changes. They love the ceremony, the perks, the ability to spend tax money not to provide services, but to secure votes. The political mind will not accept cutting the ceremonial, eliminating politically charged “economic development” which does not develop the economy, cutting communications (which is just political marketing for the govt in power). They protect the kingdoms of their base (with the NDP it was the health boards, with the Liberals it is the School Boards). There is no way they will introduce term limits, cut pensions and make the MLA position the temp position it was meant to be, an opportunity for qualified folks to step up and get elected to give back. They will not do this in order to free up valuable resources for essential services like education, healthcare, social services, transportation and infrastructure. Those are essential but they are hard to use to manipulate the public and sustain power. They wont build a strong and professional civil service because they have found those folks will put public service ahead of political desires. We wont see progress until we change the rules of government to inhibit the game of politics. Until then we will bounce from one scheme another in and effort to do good (I don’t believe politicos are predominantly evil) but first and foremost retain power at all cost.

  12. If McNeil & Co did not know that this is what Broten would report – her views are not much of a secret – then shame on them for not doing their homework. If they did kinow, then shame on them for letting her dump on the working people of Nova Scotia.

    1. Actually, they bought a house in Kingswood for $766,000. Relatively modest, in comparison.

  13. Laurel Broten’s report is outrageous. She and Frank McKenna should have lunch and pat each other’s backs.

    Also, thanks for listing the university presentations. Great info to have.

  14. Tim – On Broten. You have never been as right as you are in your analysis above. Keep up the good work.