Good news! You can now link to any part of a Morning File post by simply scrolling past the headline or sub-headline you’re interested in, then copying the URL from your browser and posting it on Facebook or Twitter (or anywhere else) to share. Or, to put it a different way, you can now link to wherever you are on the page.

So, unless there are serious objections, I’m doing away with the menu that I’ve previously opened Morning File with.

I’d like to thank Dean Gallant at Pinwheel Design for setting this feature up. Dean has become my go-to tech person and has always come through in spades.


1. Strike vote today

“Nova Scotia’s 9,000 public school teachers will take a strike vote Tuesday,” reports Francis Campbell for Local Xpress:

Teachers are frustrated, tired and looking for relief, the union president [Liette Doucet] said.

“They are so inundated with paper work, data entry, data collection and all of those things take away from their planning time when they should be planning lessons that will benefit their students. They are coming away from the day, every day, feeling like they haven’t given their best to their students. And they are very angry that the government really isn’t listening to those messages.”

2. Oland murder conviction overturned

“New Brunswick’s Court of Appeal has overturned Dennis Oland’s conviction for the second-degree murder of his millionaire father, and ordered a new trial,” reports the Canadian Press:

The appeal court rejected Oland’s claim that the verdict was unreasonable, but found the trial judge did not properly instruct the jury on evidence around the jacket Oland was wearing the day of the murder.

3. Spatz in conflict of interest, charges Globe & Mail

Jim Spatz. Photo:
Jim Spatz. Photo:

“A condominium and retail-store developer named by the Liberal government to the board of directors of the Halifax Port Authority appears to have breached Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ethics rules by attending a $1,500-a-ticket fundraiser for the governing party,” report Robert Fife and Steven Chase for the Globe & Mail:

Jim Spatz, chairman and chief executive officer of Southwest Properties, was one of about 15 corporate executives who gathered on Oct. 13 at an exclusive Halifax fundraiser where Finance Minister Bill Morneau was the star attraction. He was the only person at the event who serves on a federal Crown corporation.


Mr. Spatz is a major land developer in Halifax. He owns Bishops Landing, which includes shops, restaurants and condominiums, on the waterfront adjacent to the Halifax port.

The Halifax Port Authority hired outside consultants in September to examine the potential of moving one of the terminals as part of a master plan for a so-called big ships strategy that could open up 175 acres to property developers on prime waterfront lands.

Soil and slate from another major Southwest condo development is being dumped in the Fairview Cove terminal. The terminal is a short drive from Mr. Spatz’s $140-million Pavilion in South Park condo complex, now under construction.

“We are able to help the developers by providing them with a reasonable disposal option, use that material to infill one of our water lots, and there is a development handling fee so essentially it’s become a revenue stream as well,” Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson told The Globe and Mail.

Spatz and the Port Authority denied that there is a conflict.

Speaking of infilling the water lot at Fairview, have you seen the extent of that operation? The Bedford Basin is being filled in at an alarming rate, as the container terminal wraps around to the north and east, enveloping the Africville site. If this continues much farther, the restored church will no longer have a water view.

I don’t recall this operation being discussed publicly.

4. Triggerfish

Photo: Ralph Cummings
Photo: Ralph Cummings

“A Digby lobster fisherman hauled up a bit of surprise,” reports Jonathan Riley for the Digby Courier:

Glen Oliver, first mate on the Randi & Brianne, was hauling traps in the middle of the Annapolis Basin Oct. 22 when he saw something he’d never seen before.

He hollered to captain Ralph Cummings to take a look.


Cummings had caught a grey triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) about a foot and half long with a deep body, tough leathery scales, eyes set back and high up on the body and a little beak-like mouth.


Triggerfish are more often found in the warmer waters south of here but often do end up off Nova Scotia in the fall when the waters are warmer.

5. Trees

Photo: Henryhartley on en.wikipedia
Photo: Henryhartley on en.wikipedia

This morning the city issued a tender offer for 155 trees. This should be unremarkable, but a few years ago city council had stopped buying new street trees, and only restarted the purchases when citizens demanded it. So this return to normalcy is welcome.

Even better, we seem to be moving away from the crappy little street trees that have for too long dominated urban forestry thinking. Back in the 1980s, I complained to an urban forester in California that he seemed to be planting only tiny trees whose roots wouldn’t threaten the sidewalk and that wouldn’t grow more than about 20 feet high. “Why don’t you plant some shade trees?” I asked (shade is really important in California). He looked me straight in the eye and said, “every tree is a shade tree; even a telephone pole casts shade.” What do you do with that?

But, thankfully, the current city order includes 65 Gingkos, which can get fairly large and cast significant shade, and to my great surprise, 25 American elms (the other trees are an assorted lot of maples and such). Urban foresters used to have complete disdain for the truly majestic elms because they supposedly were all dying from Dutch Elm disease, but I think the real reason is they need to be properly cared for and no one much had the training or time for them.

I have no idea exactly where these trees will go, but this is a good news story.


1. Sick pay

Danny Cavanagh. Photo: Unifor
Danny Cavanagh. Photo: Unifor

In an op-ed written for Local Xpress, union president Danny Cavanagh writes:

I am calling on our province to implement the following changes that would be good for our health and well-being, good for our health-care system, and good for workplaces: 

Amend the Employment Standards Act so that all employees accrue a minimum of two hours of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked and amend the act to prohibit employers from requiring evidence such as medical notes to entitle workers to personal emergency leave or paid sick days. 

Way back in July 2014, just a few weeks after I started the Halifax Examiner, I critiqued “a weasely, unfair, untrue, and sensationalist attack on workers” published by the CBC. The CBC article, which was not bylined, channeled the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s dishonest framing of the sick pay issue. After I detailed the multiple dishonesties in the article, I wrote:

Exploring why government workers take more sick days than private sector workers is a worthy project. I can think of lots of reasons that might explain it, starting with: Public employee unions better protect actual sick people, while actual non-unionized sick people in the private sector are often required to work even when they’re sick. There’s also a greater desperation level among private sector workers, which in borderline cases probably causes private sector workers to go into work while government employees stay home — ”jeesh, I don’t feel so great, but if I don’t go to work I won’t be able to buy groceries this week.” …

I do credit the article with discussing employee stress, but I wish it had also asked the question: Do you really want the guy in the next cubicle over to come into work and cough up Ebola all day long? Haven’t we just gone through a flu season when we were urging sick people to stay home?

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

I am 17 years old, grew up in Grand Narrows and I have always seen the environment as being something that we should care for.

On Oct. 10 a large amount of rain fell from Hurricane Matthew. My father and I decided we’d go for a drive to see the damage done, checking in with neighbours to see if they needed help and so forth.

We drove to Iona and going along the road towards Grasscove we came to a small bridge. The water from the pond had come across the road and ran into the lake. We thought we would stop and try to make some drains so the water would go under the bridge rather than over the road.

It was then we noticed a hole in the road with yellow stuff in it. We got closer and realized exactly what it was – yellow spray styrofoam.

I couldn’t believe it. Rather than fill the hole in the road with gravel someone did this right beside a pond where wildlife is all over the place.

They should have just left the hole in the ground. 

Lily MacLellan, Grand Narrows



No public meetings.


Human Resources (10am, Province House) — one of those “collect the per diem” meetings called to appoint people to agencies, boards, and commissions.

Legislature sits (1-6pm, Province House)

On campus


Katie McIsaac
Katie McIsaac

Head injuries and prison health (12:30pm, CH&E Classroom, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research, 5790 University Ave) — Katie McIsaac, from the Nova Scotia Health Authority, will speak on “The Health of Men and Women in the Criminal Justice System.” Her abstract:

1 in 250 Canadian adults will be in a correctional facility in their lifetime and over 110,000 are under correctional supervision on any given day. The health of people in correctional facilities tends to be poor: characterized by high rates of substance use, infectious disease, and mental illness. This talk will focus on some past, present and future initiatives that I have engaged in with respect to prison health research with a particular focus on how head injuries may impact correctional outcomes in the federal justice system. 

Trigger warnings (1pm, Killam Library, Room B400) — PhD candidate Jill Marie McSweeney will speak on “Should we create trigger warnings for trigger warnings?” She explains:

The University of Chicago’s incoming 2020 class received a much debated welcome letter from their Dean of Students. The letter was meant to prepare incoming students with their policy to promote freedom of expression and academic discourse, and that they would not be supporting a “trigger warnings” policy. Trigger warnings – a technique used in teaching to alert students to sensitive, uncomfortable and potentially traumatic material – are designed to create safe spaces for learning, and protect students from topics and speakers that may have a negative impact on them.

Since the dissemination of the letter on August 24th, 2016, University of Chicago has received both an outstanding amount of support and backlash to this stance. Some believe that the point of higher education is to challenge our perspective and understandings of the world, and that this discomfort is a critical and significant part of learning. Others believe this goes against the creation of a campus that supports civility and respect, and may spark disruptions in the learning process rather than fostering a safe space for uncomfortable learning. This session will discuss the use of trigger warnings, the importance of academic freedom in teaching, and discomfort as a part of learning. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences with trigger warnings (both as a student and a teacher).

You’re supposed to register for the event, here, but just show up and see what they say.

Thesis defence, Electrical and Computer Engineering (1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Fadhel Al Humaidi will defend his thesis, “Increasing Throughput in Multiuser Two-Hop Relay Networks Using Time Scheduling and Signal Processing.”

YouTube video

The Internet’s Own Boy: The story of Aaron Swartz (6:30pm, Killam Library program room, fifth floor) — a film about Aaron Swartz, an internet whiz kid who was driven to suicide by US federal prosecutors. This Guardian article gives an overview of the film and the man.

Saint Mary’s


Canada Since 1960 (Tuesday, 1pm, Library Room LI135) — Judy Haiven and Larry Haiven will talk about their contributions to Canada Since 1960: A People’s History – a Left Perspective on 50 Years of Politics, Economics and Culture.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 6:30am Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 6:30am Tuesday. Map:

3am: Berlin Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Cagliari, Italy
4am: Nordkap, general cargo, arrives at anchorage from Barranquilla, Colombia
4am: Seoul Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
6:30am: Seven Seas Mariner, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney with up to 779 passengers
9:30am: Patino, Spanish warship, sails from Dockyard
10:30am: NYK Remus, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
2pm: Nordkap, general cargo, sails from Anchorage for sea
4pm: Seven Seas Mariner, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Saint John
4:30pm: Rigel Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Zeebrugge, Belgium
5:30pm: Travestern, chemical tanker, arrives at Pier 9 from Come By Chance, Newfoundland
5:30pm: CSL Reliance, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Point Tupper

6:45am: ZIM New York, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from New York
9am: ZIM Luanda, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from Valencia, Spain


Running around like crazy today.

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

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  1. Hi Tim,

    On a phone or small tablet, the Morning File is a long scroll from beginning to end. I would like to see the menu remain, even if they weren’t hyperlinks. It’s nice to get a sense of what’s up each day before starting to read.

    You’re doing a fine job. Judy

    1. I’ll try to find a popup menu thing that works for this. That’ll require a bit of time, tho…

  2. I have watched that barge ply the harbour for months and wondered where the stuff was coming from. I thought it might be the dockyard. Now we know. And I share Tim’s concerns.

  3. I would add they are specifying 60mm calliper stock, which suggests a height of 4-5m: that means they will be useful as shade trees the day they are planted. Too often you see developers / cities planting spindly little trees already on the verge of death, destined to by run over by an inattentive lawn mower… A great result of the Urban Forest Master Plan.

  4. It is a conflict of interest appointing any millionaire developer to a public board, shouldn’t be happening.

    1. Why ?
      I sat on the Neptune Board with Jim Spatz and business his experience was invaluable, especially when David Dingwall was being an ass over providing federal financial support for the new theatre. Mr Spatz understood how to negotiate both the funding and also understood the construction difficulties the board faced.
      My only contribution during 2 years on the board was to persuade other board members that Officers and Directors liability insurance was a cost of doing business and essential before proceeding with the construction of the new theatre.
      Wadih Fares is on the Airport board and no doubt his experience has been valuable during the discussions and decisions concerning capital expenditures.

  5. I hate to be a dark cloud on a good news story, but….I lived in Kingston, NY where the streets are lined with Ginkos. I remember being enamoured with the beautiful leaf and then enamoured with the beautiful flower and then…then came the fruit. They fall on the ground, they fall on windshields, they get on your shoes and they smell like Lunenburg’s sewage treatment plant. The over ripe fruit sticks to everything, gets on everything and becomes the bane of your existence. But they sure are pretty. You know, come to think of it, this is a perfect Nova Scotia tree.

  6. Good news indeed about the trees.

    Perhaps now our city fathers are coming to realize it is important to invest in our city not just cut like a Richard Butts.

    Seems a new crop of forward thinking councillors are coming on board.

    Let’s have some more trees, more bike lanes, more affordable and accessible transit, more respect for workers and……..

  7. I remember back in my college days studying forestry I was a co-op student for two summers at the local municipality in southern Ontario. We had a very aggressive tree planting plan and budget, complete with professional arborists and equipment. Looking back it was hard work and fun times.

    Anyway, there were definitely some species we didn’t go anywhere near, even those that fit perfectly our native species desires. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) was one of those. Gorgeous large canopies that provided shade and a wonderful street view aesthetic. Problem was their roots and leaves. The leaves found their way through the grates and into sewers and storm drains clogging them up causing flooding and their roots were aggressive to the point of choking pipes and penetrating pipe joints. Those neighbourhoods were a nightmare for maintenance and the homeowners who typically cared very much for their highly manicured lawns did not take too kindly to both the city digging up their properties to replace pipes and the annual flooding of basements and backyards.

    We also need to be careful of monocultures, as we’ve learned from when a particular pest come ’round. Just look at the thousands and thousands (and thousands) of Norway Maples and Basswood (American Linden to you IS folk) planted in the endless suburban sprawl outside Toronto. The trees of entire neighbourhoods wiped out.

    All that to say that urban forestry needs competent arborists and planners who know both the quirks of each neighbourhood (terrain, soil, etc) and the trees (resistance to pollution, root growth, etc). It’s not cheap but just walk down a street with a well-designed streetscape. Totally worth it.

  8. There are varieties of American Elm resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. Some are listed here

    I would love to see the return of elms to our streets. In my childhood I walked to school beneath massive old elms, every one of which had to be cut down because of Dutch Elm Disease. We now have at least two generations who have no knowledge of the beauty and peacefulness of an elm-lined street or a park full of elms.

  9. Re: Sick pay
    Unfortunately I doubt if the same government that refuses to raise minimum wage because it will cause “hardship to small business” (even thought there is 0 evidence of that) will consider paid sick days. Again they will use off-the-cuff made-up reasons why society couldn’t afford that. If they did even a tiny bit of research they would find lots of solid facts on the economic value of paid sick leave. For example, a report done by the US Department of Labour states “Paid sick time promotes employment and income stability, which is a key component of economic growth.” (Google search “get the facts on paid sick time”)