1. The Mulroney Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, and the honorary arms dealers

Writes Stephen Kimber:

The former prime minister has had many “good” friends, many of whom pop up in leaks of information about tax havens. Many of those same names — surprise — also figure prominently in helping underwrite the soon-to-be Mulroney Institute.

Click here to read “The Mulroney Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, and the honorary arms dealers.”

This article is behind the paywall. Click here to subscribe.

2. Examineradio, episode #139

Taxpayers spent $2.4 million to design this 25,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park, and a half a million dollars more to study building a 10-14,000 seat stadium at Shannon Park, and then another million dollars to study building a 20,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park.

This episode is really about the city you want vs. the city you need.

Take professional sports. There’s been some talk about a group of investors bringing a CFL franchise to Halifax. Some people are excited about this.

I am not.

Still, we wanted some perspective. So I talked with Moshe Lander, an economist at Concordia University who studies the economics of professional sports. He explains all of the parts that need to fit together for a CFL franchise to work in our city.

You want stadium sponsorship, you want in-house sponsorship, you want community outreach.

Make sure to hear the full conversation.

[iframe style=”border:none” src=”//″ height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]

Plus, we discuss the new convention centre and the news that it’s finally opening on Dec. 15.

And we talk about the Halifax Explosion since we’re coming up on the 100th anniversary on Dec. 6. You’ll find a number of news stories about the disaster and its aftermath, but the CBC’s Sherri Borden Colley has this reminder about how African-Nova Scotians were treated unfairly in the relief effort.

(Direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

3. Irving workers give strike mandate

Irving Shipyard. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Unionized employees of the Halifax Shipyard voted Sunday afternoon to give their negotiating team a strike mandate,” reports Elizabeth McMillan for the CBC:

About 800 of the union’s members, ranging from electricians to metal fabricators, work at the shipyard and more than 700 members attended an off-site meeting in Halifax Sunday afternoon.

“After a healthy discussion, a strike vote was held, which resulted in a decisively strong mandate for the committee at more than 99 per cent,” Unifor said in a message to members posted online. 

4.  Sexual assault allegations against St. F.X. football players

St. Francis Xavier University

Two varsity football players [at St. F.X.] have been charged with sexual assault,” reports Brett Bundale for the Canadian Press:

Both have been released with conditions and are set to appear in provincial court in January, police said.

The allegations first came to light after an 18-year-old woman reported an alleged sexual assault to Antigonish RCMP on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

She said the incident took place over the previous weekend.
During their investigation, another victim — a 19-year-old woman — came forward and alleged that one of the accused had also sexually assaulted her, RCMP said.

She said the assaults happened on two separate occasions on campus, once in September and again in November, police said.

RCMP said Jonah Williams, 19, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault, while Tyler Ball, 18, was charged with one count of sexual assault. Both men played defensive back for the X-Men varsity football team, but their online profiles have since been removed.

5. Human remains

An RCMP release from yesterday:

December 3, 2017, East Uniacke, Nova Scotia . . . At 9:36 a.m. on December 2, East Hants District RCMP responded to a call of found human remains in a wooded area off East Uniacke Rd. The remains were found by a hunter who was in the area.  

The Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Service is assisting the RCMP with this investigation and an autopsy will be conducted. The RCMP’s Northeast Nova Major Crimes Unit is investigating this matter, which is ongoing. 

6. Black in Halifax

Metro today unveils a special weeklong feature called “Black in Halifax.”

“More than two months in the making, this feature is the result of a partnership with important voices in the Black community: from Coun. Lindell Smith to renowned activist and poet El Jones to anti-violence advocate Quentrel Provo,” writes Metro Editor Philip Croucher. “We have also brought in three Black journalists and a guest editor, Carlos Beals. He is a long-time community activist who ran for council last year in District 6.”

Today, Perry King profiles New Beginnings Ministries in East Preston and Janice Borden, who serves food at the Dartmouth North Community Centre. King also discusses affordable housing with Quentrel Provo. And guest editor Carlos Beals discusses the importance of good jobs in the community:

Many Black Nova Scotians are not as fortunate [as he is], and despite their willingness and eagerness to work, they still remain significantly underrepresented in the labour force. This triggers a cycle of poverty and makes it even harder to work your way out, driving Black people into a state of survival, making it impossible to support yourself, to raise healthy families and to make good choices.

Now factor in living in a stigmatized and marginalized community and being Black — it’s nearly inevitable to find yourself trapped.

A lack of viable opportunities forces people to break the law to get by, constructing the prison pipeline, giving permanent justification for their exclusion from the labour force.

The cycle continues.


1. Was the Halifax Explosion a war crime?

I’ve long been bothered by the decontextualiization of the Halifax Explosion. It just seems to have happened out of nowhere, for no assignable reason beyond two ships hitting each other. Boom, 2,000 dead, isn’t that sad? So we talk about the guy with the telegraph, the blind orphans, the Christmas tree to Boston; we talk about a million damn things about the Explosion, except for the one that matters: the Explosion was the natural byproduct of war.

Today, Judy Haiven reviews that context:

What we know now is that December 1917 was in the midst of World War I — a war which would not end for another twelve months. World War I was an inter-imperialist war in which Canadians served as little more than cannon-fodder for the Motherland, Britain. For instance, our parliament did not vote to go to war in 1914 — because nearly all our foreign policies were determined by Britain. One of the main contributors to WWI was British imperialism and the fear of British methods of war — such as naval blockades and concentration camps. The British empire (including Canada), plus France, Serbia and Russia went to war against the German and Austro-Hungarian empires.


World War I was responsible for 7 million deaths in the military on both sides. More than 6.6 million civilians died — many from gas attacks. Chemical weapons and poisoned gas were used widely as instruments of destruction during WWI. The chemical attacks and gas drifted over civilian populations. The effect on civilians was disproportionate because people in nearby cities and towns typically had no warning of gas attacks and had no access to gas masks or any protection.

What of a 2.9 kiloton explosion in a “friendly” harbour? Today we know what the 5.8 million pounds of high explosives did to Halifax, and more importantly what it did to women, children, and men just going about their daily affairs.


Today, we rightly condemn countries that put civilians needlessly at risk by establishing military strongholds or garrisons in the middle of civilian populations.

There was no military justification for taking Halifax hostage with a ship loaded with 5.8 million pounds of TNT in our harbour. The Halifax Explosion was a war crime.

I don’t know if it does any good talking about war crimes — it might! — but I sure would like to see more discussion of that war. All wars are stupid, but that particular war was the stupidest god damn war ever. There was nothing glorious about it, nothing even tangentially redeeming. Even the peace was damnable, setting up more carnage a generation later.

We’ve got “war memorials” all over this town — we’ve got two “memorials” to the fucking Boer war — but they don’t seem so much to memorialize as to celebrate. As time goes on, even the cenotaphs to World War 1 are becoming militarized with flybys of military aircraft and such. In Dartmouth, they have been blithely singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” at the Remembrance Day ceremony (at least until I stopped going in protest a couple of years ago) — putting a religious and imperialist spin on war at a time when Canadian soldiers were in Afghanistan, and now when the Minister of Defence is a Sikh.

And I again point out that the long established view from the Bell Tower on Fort Needham Hill, down through the trees to the site of the Explosion, has been blocked by the gigantic new Assembly Hall at Irving Shipyard, where a new generation of warships is being built. We literally can’t even see the site of the carnage of the past because we are preparing for carnage of the future. No lesson learned here.

And to Haiven’s point, we still allow weapons of mass destruction through the harbour…

2. What tourists say about us

It always cracks me up to read what tourists say about their visit to Halifax. Today, Mary Alice Powell, a retired Toledo Blade food columnist, details her stopover in Halifax while on the Crown Princess.

Due to a passing hurricane, writes Powell, “the captain’s decision to cancel plans to stop in the port of St. John’s and the Bay of Fundy may have been disappointing to some passengers, but I welcomed it as a chance to double Halifax sightseeing and learn more about the city with the big heart.”

Powell can be forgiven for confusing Saint John and St. John’s — the Blade is truly a great newspaper, but I guess like most other dailies, they’ve fired their fact checkers.

Anyway, it appears that cruise ship passengers are told some claptrap about the “Order of the Good Time, a Nova Scotia original that is said to be the oldest social club in North America.”

You can read the history of “L’Ordre de Bon Temps” here; it’s actually a horrific story of Samuel de Champlain’s “the beatings will continue until morale improves” theory of human relations, and why anyone would want to inflict that on cruise ship passengers is beyond me.

And then there’s this:

Nova Scotians have a saying about fog: “The fog comes and goes at will. Don’t begrudge it. Wish instead you were as free.”

We do? I thought we just complained about all those damn fog horns.




Special Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee (Monday, 10:30am, City Hall) — the committee asked staff to prepare a report on potentially supporting a basic income, and staff came back with a recommendation to “monitor” efforts being made elsewhere.

Grants Committee (Monday, 1pm, City Hall) — the latest proposals.

Public Information Meeting (Monday, 7pm, St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, 3 Dakin Drive, Halifax) — WSP Canada wants to build a four-storey, 40-unit apartment building at 59 Kearney Lake Road.


Special Audit & Finance Standing Committee (Tuesday, 9am, City Hall) — an allocation of $600,000 for snow removal for old people.

Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.



No public meetings.


Community Services (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — the committee will discuss the Nova Scotia Sexual Violence Strategy.

On campus



Robin Urquhart. Photo: Twitter

Cancer Survivorship (Monday, 12pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Robin Urquhart will speak on “Cancer Survivorship Care: Designing a Research program to Optimize Survivors’ Experiences and Outcomes.”

Antenna Design (Monday, 3pm, Room B226, Sexton Campus) — Pawel Kabacik, from Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, will speak on “Modern Day Antenna Designs for Airspace, UAV and Maritime Communication. Environment Safeguarding with Novel Microwave and Radar Technologies.”

The Big Sing and Dal Unite: A Special Holiday Singing Event (Monday, 7pm, McInnes Room, Dalhousie Student Union Building) — Jingle Bell Rock, in three-part harmony. Admission is by donation in support of the Halifax Music Co-op.


Woodwinds Recital (Tuesday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Patricia Creighton, Brian James, Suzanne Lemieux, and Eileen Walsh will perform.

In the harbour

Splendid Ace. Photo: Halifax Examiner

5:30am: Splendid Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
6am: Hyundai Mercury, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
3:30pm: Splendid Ace, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
7pm: Federal Kushiro, bulker, sails from Pier 28 for sea
9:30pm: Hyundai Mercury, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Kingston, Jamaica


Another Monday.

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

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
    1. A common WW1 British pejorative for Germans. Likely well before your time Parker, maybe that’s why it sounds unfamiliar.

  1. I think the belief that wars are stupid stems from the distaste of the reason behind them. One reason why wars are fought (and many might consider this the main reason) is because of the age old addiction to power and control. I’d even argue that it’s the catalyst behind much of the sexual assault crimes. Women certainly aren’t immune this desire, although it tends to manifest itself a bit differently. But if certain people weren’t insistent upon gaining ultimate power and controlling others, there would probably be no need for war in the first place.

  2. “[In ww1]…Canadians served as little more than cannon-fodder for the Motherland, Britain.

    You have to understand Tim that the only way Britain could win large scale long term wars was by invoking The Call to Empire. Without dispatching recent and current colonials (even the Americans showed up eventually) to advance her interests on the battlefield, The Hun might well have won. Where would we have all been then?

    Great Britain had always striven to ensure that no one nation on the continent emerged as a dominant power in the interest of her own national security. The Kaiser becoming master of Europe would have spoiled all that.

    Thanks to the sacrifices made by the soldiers of The Empire (including ours), the Germans were forced into signing an ignoble treaty in a hall of mirrors that held them and their allies solely responsible for starting The War to End All Wars, something few Germans apparently believed. The result of course was a pause in the festivities for twenty years during which German outrage was cleverly fomented by a former corporal and we all got to play again.

    I was impressed that Canada avoided Vietnam and PM Chretien actually didn’t involve us in Dubya’s Coalition of The Willing in Iraq, for good reason. Well, yes, we are lending our moral authority to the wars in Afghanistan and Syria, but I’m hopeful that maybe it is possible for nations to learn about the downside of war.

    More female elected representatives might help.

  3. It’s been 100 years since the Halifax Explosion. Will this mark the end of the ritual rending of garments and gnashing of teeth by media and politicians on the anniversary? It has little to say to us beyond “bad things happen”. By contrast, on Dec. 6, 1989, a misogynist killed 14 women and wounded 14 other people, 10 of whom were women, at École Polytechnique. This anniversary — which occurs on the same day as explosion — is still relevant and, for many, the memories associated with it are fresh and painful.

  4. Colin, you and I know that arbitrators are creatures of their times. Thus, there can never be significant improvements or changes to the employment relationship if arbitrators decide everything. I’m not proposing that arbitrators have jurisdiction to make those decisions for companies, I was just wondering if those who propose arbitrators should decide everything for the workers would be prepared for a quid pro quo for the companies.

  5. The population of many countries would be significantly higher if not for the 2 wars.
    A large proportion of the Canadians killed in WW1 listed their next of kin as living in the UK, including a cousin of my grandfather. They signed up to fight for the lives of their mother, father,sister,brother and other relatives.

  6. Would you also agree that an arbitrator should decide how much profit a company can make, what investments it will be allowed, how much its CEO and top management are paid, and what products it can produce?

    1. No. But the arbitrator could award a share of the profits/losses.
      If an arbitrator did what you seem to propose you would find pension funds for workers voting against any such legislation. Public sector pension funds are part owners of the banks and also own significant public infrastructure, think airports, in Canada and Europe. They also invest in hedge funds. You and I are just part of another group of plutocrats running around the world making money.
      Not like the thirties is it Ron ?
      Hope you are keeping well and have a great Christmas.

  7. Typical union action… little more than a month into negotiations they call the members together to have authority to give a strike recommendation… time to do away with strikes and lockouts in favour of mandatory binding arbitration when/if the time for it arises.

    Strikes and lockouts hurt the workforce, the company and the local community financially, for no good reason.

    1. Ah – there is a reason. . . companies tend to favour profit over paying workers – without strike we are not negotiating just begging. Binding arb may be OK to determine a final percent increase (but only sometimes as they tend to come up the middle which means if employer wants a 2% cut, and workers want to keep pace with inflation – about a 2% increase – increase will be 0) but not for improvements in OHS, breaks or other things.

      1. When binding arbitration did not exist, strikes and lockouts might have made some sense; but in this day and age the strikes and lockouts are a tools akin to legalized extortion, not bargaining… the Chronicle Herald bargaining conflict would never have gone on for the length that it did… that was collective bargaining at its worst… all perfectly legal. It is time to revamp the rules concerning bargaining. Unions use other union’s gains to demand a better deal… they play leapfrog and in the end, it is our economy that suffers. Everyone deserves a reasonable wage that truly reflects the skills and requirements of the work performed; but unions are not concerned what is right, they are only concerned with getting as much as possible… whether the end result is proper or not.

        If you think CEOs are paid outlandish wages today, just image if CEOs were unionized.

    2. Agree; prefer mandatory binding arbitration be mandated when/if impasse occurs providing choice and parameters of arbitrator be clearly and equitably defined. Surely, we’ve progressed beyond brute force action as a means of settling irreconcilable differences. I like that you’ve included all parties in your final sentence. Enough with designating heroes and villains in labour disputes. Rarely do we, the public, know complete information, and both sides in this are guilty. Let’s demonstrate intelligence and judgment and devise a fairer system for all.