On campus
In the harbour


1. Andrew Younger

Yesterday, Andrew Younger issued the following statement:

Andrew Younger
Andrew Younger

This morning I met with the Premier and Chief of Staff concerning my current temporary leave of absence from my Cabinet responsibilities, the purpose of which was to deal with personal matters.

I understand the issue of pay has become a distraction for the Premier and our government, therefore  I will not receive my ministerial pay during the leave.

There have been numerous media reports concerning the fact police believe a criminal assault was committed against me. A significant portion of the information reported as fact in the news and social media about the incident police allege to have occurred against me has been inaccurate and speculative, which is unfair to all those involved in this matter and those close to them.

I do not plan to comment further on this matter. I would ask media to respect my privacy on this issue, and refrain from speculation.


This is classic Younger. No, you don’t get to accuse the media of inaccuracy and then refuse to say, exactly, what was inaccurate. I’ve commented on this before: often, when people don’t like the factual reporting of news, they turn around and accuse the media of lying, without being specific. I’ve had a particular such instance with Younger, back when I started reporting on city council for The Coast. Younger called my editor and requested a meeting of the three of us. We met for coffee at the Wired Monk on Hollis Street, and Younger complained about “inaccuracies” in my reporting. I had brought my notebook, and wanted to be able to write down Younger’s specific complaints so I could check them against my articles—heck, we all make mistakes, and if I get something wrong I want to correct the record. But Younger had no specifics. He just went on and on about “inaccuracies,” I’d ask for examples, and he’d continue on vaguely about inaccuracies. I soon realized he wasn’t complaining about my factual reporting but rather about the tone of my reporting, so closed my notebook. Walking back to the car, I looked at my boss, shrugged, and said, “fuck him.”

Accusing the media of “inaccuracies” is serious business. If Younger makes such a claim, he better damn well say exactly what those inaccuracies are, and document it.

2. Racist toy monkey

The Chronicle Herald interviewed Truro’s deputy mayor, Raymond Tynes, who says that a toy monkey sold at Christmas Discounters is an example of continued racist attitudes. The monkey is “dressed up as a rapper wearing a T-shirt with the words black music and a dog-tag on it that says hip hop. And when you press a button, the monkey plays R & B artist Usher’s hit song Yeah and dances,” wrote reporter Sherri Borden.

“I’m looking at this and I’m thinking there they are depicting us as monkeys again,” Tynes told the paper.

3. EAC audited

The Ecology Action Centre was targeted by Harper government’s increased auditing of environmental groups, but was given a passing grade. Still, “we take a little more care. We converse more and we call our charity lawyer more often before we speak out on issues and maybe we back off stuff we wouldn’t otherwise have backed off of,” EAC director Mark Butler told the CBC.

4. Fatal fire

“At least” two people were killed in a house fire in Wyse Corner last night (on the Old Guysborough Road past the airport), and a man was arrested in Milford, a half hour away, after he rammed his car into a police vehicle. The unnamed man was arrested in relation to the fire.

5. Top employer

Chronicle Herald

Last month the Chronicle Herald reduced its newsroom staff by about a quarter through a process that seemed to pit employees against each other. It was an ugly, drawn-out fight with the employees’ union and bitter feelings remain. But, no worries, yesterday the Chronicle Herald was named as “one of Atlantic Canada’s top employers for 2015.” Amazing, that.

The selection was made by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which publishes trade publications for Human Resources professionals. “A blue-ribbon Academic Advisory Board oversees the selection criteria for each year’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition,” Mediacorp explains. “The distinguished panel members, drawn from universities across Canada, have each written or edited a major human resources textbook in Canada.” This year’s “distinguished” panel members are Daniel Ondrack, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, and Andrew Templer, a prof at the University of Windsor.

Ondrack ended his career in 2004, making $158,208.54 that year, and now seems to clutter up the hallways while shuffling between consulting gigs. Templer, who was paid $159,793.92 in 2013, co-authored a textbook called Labour Relations, no doubt a socialist pamphlet of some sort. Good to know these guys are on top of the local labour relations scene.


1. Vexillology

Toucan flag

Like me, Stephen Archibald is a fan of the the 99% Invisible podcast, and uses a recent episode about city flags as a launching point to examine our own rather shoddy municipal banner (above). I call that our Toucan Flag, and I keep meaning to head over to the flag store to buy one to perversely decorate my home office; it violates four of the five rules of vexillology (flag design):

1. Keep it simple
2. Use meaningful symbolism
3. Use two to three basic colors
4. No lettering or seals of any kind  (take note) .
5. Be distinctive

There’s a new flag being flown nowadays, which Halifax Magazine editor Trevor Adams was tweeting about yesterday, but it’s not the official flag. Even that violates the rules.


Archibald puts out the plea: will someone please design a proper city flag?

2. Looking back

The CBC’s Jean Laroche and Graham Steele look back at 2014 at Province House.

3. Fefergrad

Parker Donham takes Irwin Fefergrad, the Registrar of the Royal Ontario College of Dental Surgeons, to task for “waltzing before the cameras and bloviating about matters of which he has no first-hand knowledge,” that is, the Dal Dental School mess.

Back when CBC broke the story, executive producer Nancy Waugh issued a statement explaining why the broadcaster wasn’t releasing the names of the participants in the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook page. Explained Waugh:

Among our reasons:

First, while we know names, we don’t know the full extent of each member’s involvement in the group, or which ones were knowing participants in its discussions and activities. This isn’t clear from the material in our possession.

And we know that naming names could have serious implications for the personal and professional futures of the people involved. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly or on incomplete evidence.

Second, CBC News doesn’t want to influence the current investigation at Dalhousie University, which is in possession of this same information and is the proper authority to determine responsibility.

That seemed reasonable at the time. But is it still? The “serious implications” for the men involved are now just a fact: no matter what happens, the scandal will be following them and their classmates around for the rest of their careers. Yesterday, rightly or wrongly, some of the other provincial regulators followed Ontario’s lead and indicated they would take some action related to the Dal situation. And this won’t simply go away; the public is engaged and, again, rightly or wrongly, the men will be followed into their professional lives. As for giving the university time to investigate, it’s been four weeks.

My understanding is that the CBC, the Globe & Mail, and The Coast have all been given 40 pages worth of screen shots of the Facebook page going back to 2011. Why not just publish the whole thing, names included, and let the public debate be informed by actual firsthand facts? We don’t now know, but the full record might even provide some needed context that will show that some of the men were not active participants, or tried to walk back the worst of the behaviour. And, it will show who the worst of the offenders were.

CBC should now publish the screenshots, without redaction, besides of course the names of the women, who are victims.

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the New Glasgow News:

…A few special notes worthy of mentioning to the parents of Thorburn bantam B players: To the gentleman who intentionally side-checked me as we were walking by each other and did not acknowledge doing so. To the constant chants throughout the game of “give it to them.” To the coach of the opposing team who showed great sportsmanship by flashing “the middle finger” from the bench to all of us, in front of the players and our young children who were present. Finally to the guy I stood behind at the canteen during intermission, who reminded his 13-year-old son that this is why God made elbows, so use them. “I want to see you throwing elbows.” Wow! Thank you for making me realize that when I see an ice bully, it is not the youth at all, but a parent forcing these kids to be ice violent.

I am very proud of our team players for hanging in there and resisting the urge to fight back–and especially our coaches who insist on coaching them to play clean hockey and to walk away from confrontations.

To the coaches and parents of the opposing team: you should feel considerable shame from your comments and actions. You definitely sour the sport of hockey. Please try to remember that these are our children who want nothing more than to have fun playing hockey and not having to worry about being intentionally injured while doing so. This is not the UFC. Children do live and learn by example.

Darcy Rafuse, Parent of Pictou Maripac



Appeals Standing Committee (10am, City Hall)—bylaw officers have been busy citing demolition scenes.

Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (2pm, City Hall)—the committee will discuss how the city might support affordable housing initiatives.

Harbour East–Marine Drive Community Council (6pm, Nantucket Room, Dartmouth Sportsplex)—at issue is the proposed development of the “Hammerling” lands at the southwest side of the intersection of Portland Street and the Circ. Three apartment buildings, of 10, nine, and four storeys are proposed.


Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (9am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Major Tim Dunne will talk about commemorating soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

On campus


Planetarium show (7:15, Room 120, Dunn Building)—the “Christmas Star — Fact or Fiction?” show was such a hit they’re bringing it back for an encore performance. Five dollars or its equivalent in gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


I got answers to my questions for Greater Halifax Partnership, but they didn’t come in until after I finished work yesterday so I haven’t had time to even read them, much less think about them. But here they are:

1. What’s the budget for the campaign, and where is the money coming from?
The current work is being done in-kind by the endorsing organizations listed on the Bold Halifax website
2. Who is administering it?
Bold Halifax is a collaborative initiative endorsed by several organizations. No one organization is administering it.
3. How were the endorsing organizations chosen? Can any organization endorse the campaign, or is there some vetting system?
Bold Halifax was started by a group of individuals and organizations who have a common desire to see Halifax grow and who believe in working together to improve our city. It is open to any individual or organization in Halifax who supports the initiative and wants to get involved.

4. Are the endorsing organizations contributing financially to the campaign?
At this stage, organizations and individuals are offering time, effort and in-kind services to the initiative.

5. Who came up with the six points in the Bold Promise? Was the wording approved by the GHP board? By city council?
Endorsing organizations developed the Bold Promise. It wasn’t approved by the Partnership Board or City Council because it is a community-driven initiative.
6. What is being done with with the names, email addresses and company names collected through the promise?
People voluntarily provide their contact information and give permission to receive updates about the initiative. We follow Canadian privacy laws.

7. Is there an explicit goal for the campaign? How will GHP measure results and value for money?
 The goal is to get 100,000 people to sign the Bold Promise – to get people thinking about what they can do to improve our city and to take action. 

8. I have a critique of the campaign as follows: The campaign elevates “positivity” as the highest community good, with “pessimism” derided, and we’re to “trust,” well, everyone apparently. Apparently, the idea is that Halifax citizens have a bad attitude, and we must cajole them into a better attitude. But the campaign seems to devalue, or even disparage, questioning, critique and contrary opinions for whatever the party line is.
Could you respond to that critique?
This initiative is about showcasing the great things happening in Halifax and getting people and organizations to celebrate our city and take action to improve it – on their own and in collaboration with others.  Diverse organizations, individuals, views and opinions are welcome.
9. How much was Victor Hwang paid, and for what? Was he hired through a competitive bidding process?
Victor likes what we’re doing in Halifax and chose to write about Bold Halifax. He is not a paid consultant on this initiative. At this time, there are no paid consultants on the Bold Halifax initiative.
10. What’s the city’s budget for this campaign? How much city staff time is involved?
This is a community-driven initiative. There is no city budget or staff time involved.

11. What is Revolve being paid, and was Revolve hired through a competitive bidding process?
Revolve is one of the endorsing organizations. Like every endorsing organization, Revolve is volunteering time and services for this initiative.
12. What other contractors are being paid for this campaign? I understand there outside designers, videographers, web people and marketers were hired. Can you tell me which firms were hired to do what work, and at what cost? Was any of the work tendered?
There are no contractors being paid for the Bold Halifax initiative. 

In the harbour

The seas off Nova Scotia, 8am Thursday. Map:
The seas off Nova Scotia, 8am Thursday. Map:

ZIM Qingdao, container ship, Valencia, Spain to Pier 41, then sails for New York
ZIM Haifa, container ship, New York to Pier 42, then sails for Kingston, Jamaica
Asian Emperor, car carrier, Fawley, England to Autoport, then sails for New York

Bahri Jazan sails for Livorno, Italy


I have a dentist appointment today. I wonder what we’ll talk about.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. RE: Bold

    By taking the Bold Promise, I commit to be part of a movement of people who believe in a better Halifax; one that is open to new people, new ideas and a new economy. A bright future for Halifax starts with me.

    1. Be Positive
    2. Challenge Pessimism
    3. Trust And Be Trusted
    4. Collaborate
    5. Pay It Forward
    6. Celebrate Success

    “The message is clear: if you want to achieve something, just keep telling yourself “I can!” and envision yourself accomplishing your goals. Success will surely come your way.

    Not so, says years of psychological research. Certain kinds of positive thoughts, known in the research as fantasies, can actually be detrimental to performance. When we fantasize, we idealize our futures. We imagine all the wonderful things we can achieve and the ease with which we can achieve them. Fantasies are not based on past experiences, meaning that we can have fantasies about achieving things for which we have no training or practice. They are also not at all based on what we believe will happen. We are fantasizing when we talk with our friends about what it might be like to win the lottery or be an NBA superstar.

    Fantasies are different than having positive expectations about the future. Expectations are based on past experience and future probability.”

    1. Very constructive comment, Michael, thank you.

      Sounds like this “Bold Halifax” thing is basically old-fashioned boosterism, ala Boston circa 1909.
      This list is as vague and mindless as a leaky vessel that broke away from its moorings.
      1. Be Positive
      2. Challenge Pessimism
      3. Trust And Be Trusted
      4. Collaborate
      5. Pay It Forward
      6. Celebrate Success

      Random counter-responses:
      1. Why be positive for the sake of being positive?
      2. How do you challenge pessimism, if you haven’t studied the problem?
      3. Trust blindly and be blindly trusted? Not even in Disneyland.
      4. Collaborate – on what? With whom? Why?
      5. Pay what forward??
      6. To celebrate success, you have to define it, and to define it, you have to set out a goal or two – so exactly how and when does that happen?

      Why is it that the H-fax vocabulary is always missing words like “achievement” and “improvement”? Doing things BETTER than we do them now? Or is it a sin to suggest such a thing?

  2. Now over a MONTH and still waiting with bated breath for the Entitled Executives of the Nova Scotia Dental Board, and the Nova Scotia Dental Society to COME OUT OF HIDING and make the PUBLIC STATEMENT they should have issued within 24 hours of these sorry events coming to light.

    These highly-placed troughers are supremely paid, supposedly to PROTECT the PUBLIC, and hold their members to account, respectively.

    WHY is it that even the rabid ambulance chasers amongst the media REFUSE to even question them? What are they afraid of?? Who’s issuing the gag orders???

    There has not been so much as a peep from either body. One has to wonder if perhaps this issue is cutting a little too close to the «professional bone» or, that HEAT is getting uncomfortable and perhaps beginning to strain some entitled familial relations. There HAS to be a reason!

    1. Because the matter is not before them, that’s why. When it does come before them — assuming any of the 13 men are granted degrees in dentistry, which is far from certain, and assuming, as seems likely, some apply for certification in this province — then the board will have the solemn obligation to review the evidence and make an informed, unbiased decision. If the board speaks out now — without hearing evidence from either side — they will prejudice the case, just as the hotdog Ontario regulator has done with all his showboating before the cameras this week. We’re all disgusted with what we’re heard about what these men have done. Some of us are keen to pile on. But that is not a proper role for a regulator. The Dental Board and the Dental Society should hold their tongues until Dalhousie comes to a resolution of the matter, lest they prejudice the case and give these men an escape hatch they don’t deserve.

  3. 1. On “Younger”: Does he really believe that he can contain this story. I think I had the same hackles raise as soon as I heard increasingly perplexing details.
    2. On “Bold”: (a) I found NO listed organizations on their web site (or maybe I missed it), (b) what “community” are they talking about?