1. Wankers disrupt indigenous ceremony

YouTube video

On Canada Day, some indigenous people and supporters held a ceremony at Cornwallis Park, where, as Adina Bresge reports for the Canadian Press:

Organizer Rebecca Moore said dozens of people were gathered around the statue of Edward Cornwallis as British Columbia-native Chief Grizzly Mamma shaved her head in a ceremony to mourn the atrocities committed against Indigenous Peoples.

These folks have every right to express their take on what Canada Day means to indigenous people. As related via social media, the ceremony was thoughtful and peaceful. But it was too much for a group of self-described “boys” who descended upon the ceremony to disrupt it.

The boys showed up waving a Union Jack Red Ensign (thanks to each every one of the 14,000 readers who wrote passionately in to report the error), and went on to assert the supremacy of “Western Civilization.”

They are part of a group called “Proud Boys.” According to the group’s Facebook page:

The Proud Boys are a fraternal organization of Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world. Our values centre on the following tenets:

Minimal Government
Maximum Freedom
Anti-Political Correctness
Anti-Drug War
Closed Borders
Anti-Racial Guilt
Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment)
Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment)
Glorifying the Entrepreneur
Venerating the Housewife
Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism

We do not discriminate based upon race or sexuality. We are not an “ism”, “ist”, or “phobic”. We truly believe that the West Is The Best and welcome those who believe in the same tenets as us.

*We are by no means prudish Victorians. We merely believe that this energy is better spent going out, meeting women, getting married, and having children.

I particularly like that they have to put an asterisk next to “masturbation,” and then further explain it. I’m trying to imagine the meeting of the minds and the great intellectual debate that occurred as the founding Proud Boys debated and hammered out their political philosophy:

Toby Jefferson: Minimum government!
Constitutional delegates: Rah!

Bubba Madison: Maximum freedom!
Constitutional delegates: Oh yeah! we like our freedom!

Johnboy Adams: Closed borders!
Constitutional delegates: Here! Here!

Alex Hamilton: Anti-masturbation!
Constitutional delegates: wait, what?

What a bunch of wankers.

The wankers apparently went around town drinking to their success afterwards.

Two of the wankers are members of the Canadian Armed Forces, reports Bresge.

2. Mary and me

On Friday, Mary Campbell and I announced a collaboration between the Halifax Examiner and the Cape Breton Spectator:

Now, readers can subscriber to both news sites for $15. That’s a savings of $5 were you to subscribe to both sites independently. The hope, though, is that readers who have subscribed to one or the other site will now upgrade to a joint subscription.

The “extra” five dollars that we receive will be dedicated to new projects that will be published by both sites. It will provide a fund to hire freelance reporters to work on province-wide projects or stories that don’t take place in Sydney or Halifax, and for investigative costs.

The collaboration between the Examiner and the Spectator will expand the type of coverage you’ve come to expect from both sites. It is, I hope, the start of a collaborative model that can be expanded to support other journalistic initiatives in the Maritimes.

Mary Campbell

I interviewed Campbell for the Examineradio podcast. You can listen to the podcast here:

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Click here to purchase a joint subscription to the Examiner and Spectator.

3. Boomtown

I don’t have time to unpack it this morning, but writing for the Canadian Press, Brett Bundale says that Halifax is now “booming,” and points to all the construction downtown as proof.

I’d merely point out that construction can reflect a lot of things, including, sure, a demand for housing, but also a bloated housing market, out-of-control speculation, a place the wealthy can stash their money, and more.

Construction is just one measure of an economy’s health, and a not very good one at that. Better measures would be salaries, purchasing power, housing conditions and cost, health, environmental quality, and general happiness.


1. The Ministry of Truth

Is it always a bad idea to get governments involved in journalism?” asks Stephen Kimber:

I hesitate to disagree with Tim Bousquet, the editor of The Halifax Examiner, my colleague and boss. But in this instance I do. Not completely, but significantly.

Kimber is discussing my statement that “it’s always a bad idea to get the government involved in journalism,” which I made in reaction to the proposal by News Media Canada for a $350 million annual fund administered by the federal government and doled out to the selectively chosen worthy media outlets.

Kimber agrees that that particular proposal is wrongheaded, but he goes on to propose a  Canada Council for Journalism, akin to the to Canada Council for the Arts:

There’s an application process. Proposals are vetted by arm’s length peer review panels. The process has evolved and been refined over the years, and is now more inclusive and diverse than it once was. Again, it’s not perfect, but it has helped nurture and support many Canadian creators.

Click here to read “Is it always a bad idea to get governments involved in journalism?”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall. Click here to subscribe.

I’m not convinced. From my own selfish perspective, I know that I could not get a job at a mainstream news outlet in Canada, so it’s highly unlikely that a review panel made up of my “peers” who come from those same outlets would fund me, and just thinking about the paperwork and buddying up to and buying drinks for people I don’t like just to gain access… well, that all exhausts me. Frankly, I don’t have the social skills for it.

But more generally, we’re once again in the business of deciding who is and who is not a journalist. And that will inevitably lead to government officials deciding who can have (and can’t have) access to press conferences and communications, who gets to use (and doesn’t get to use) the “public interest” exemption to get freedom of information fees waived, who has status (and doesn’t have status) in court cases, who gets to use (and doesn’t get to use) the “responsible journalism” defence in libel actions, and on and on.

And since I’m on the subject (I think Kimber would agree with me here), I’d like to point out one aspect of the News Media Canada proposal: the $30,000 per journalist subsidy that is the core of it. There are lots of problems with this. For instance, as Jesse Brown points out, if the program is adopted, we’ll be paying $30,000 of the salary for such reprehensible “journalists” as Margaret Wente.

But forget those issues; my bigger concern is the people doing the grunt work in journalism — the daily reporters slogging through courthouses and covering traffic accidents and calling up government communications offices and the like. These reporters’ work provides the bulk of what shows up in the daily newspapers, and yet many of them aren’t even paid $30,000, and most of them are paid only a pittance more than $30,000.

Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis are right now trying to pay their reporters less money. That’s what the newsroom strike at the Chronicle Herald is all about. Moreover, their goal is to lay off reporters, and now that they have an effective monopoly in print journalism in Atlantic Canada, they’ll undoubtedly further reduce their newsrooms.

But if the News Media Canada proposal gets adopted, they’ll be handed $30,000 per reporter. Will that money go to raises for reporters? Fat chance. Will it go expand the newsrooms? Not likely. Rather, the money will go straight to the Herald’s bottom line, and so to Lever and Dennis personally.

All the philosophical issues about journalism aside, that’s my biggest problem with the News Media Canada proposal: it amounts to a transfer of wealth to the already wealthy.  If we must subsidize journalism, we should at least tie it to salary — i.e., you’ll get a $30,000 subsidy for the reporter, but only if the reporter is paid at least $60,000 and has job security, a pension, decent working conditions, and is on track for regular pay raises.

It’s clear to me that the News Media Canada proposal was written by a bunch of rich dudes who either (as in Lever’s case) have never worked as a reporter or have never experienced the real economic crunch that is the everyday reality of most working reporters today.

2. Maple Leafs

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald finds maple leafs everywhere.




City Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — today, council is addressing only one issue of substance: a proposal by councillor Steve Craig to repeal Administrative Order #35. And what, you may ask, is Administrative Order #35? Some background:

Once upon a time, city staff could approve contracts up to half a million dollars all on their own, assuming the money was in the various department budgets. But anything over a half a million dollars had to be approved by city council. There’s was one exception, however:

During the summer months (July and August) and for occasions when a regular Regional Council meeting has been cancelled or the regular schedule creates more than eight (8) business days between Council meetings, the CAO or his designate, may approve the award of contracts…

As I reported back in 2011, this was a contributing factor in the Washmill Underpass fiasco, where then-CAO Wayne Anstey approved an $8.1 million contract while council was on vacation, and didn’t bother to tell council about it for another six months.

Administrative Order #35 revoked the CAO’s summer signing authority. Craig’s motion will un-revoke it, bringing us back to the glory days.


Federation of Canadian Municipalities Advisory Committee 2018 Conference (Wednesday, 3pm, City Hall) — exactly what it sound like.

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, Sackville Public Library) — here’s the agenda.


No public meetings.

On campus



Plakoglobin (Wednesday, 4pm, Room 170, Collaborative Health Education Building, Halifax) — Qinyan (Andy) Song will speak on “Structural Characterization of the Interaction Between p53 and Plakoglobin.”

Bridging the Divide: Engaging States and Armed Groups in the Protection of Children (Wednesday, 7pm, Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library) — Roméo Dallaire will speak.

In the harbour

4am: Torm Atlantic, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Montreal
5:30am: Tortugas, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
5:30am: Port Stewart, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for Saint Michael’s, Maryland
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
6am: Pinara, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
9:30am: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York

Robert E. Peary. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Robert E. Peary. Photo: Halifax Examiner

2pm: Robert E. Peary, US naval ship, sails from Dockyard for sea
2:30pm: Pinara, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Mariel, Cuba
4:30pm: Tortugas, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea

East Coast. Photo: Halifax Examiner

7pm: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John


I took the weekend off, more or less. I may do that again.

No copyeditor this morning; please be kind.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Just fyi — the provincial flags of Manitoba and Ontario are both Red Ensigns with a provincial shield added.

  2. Once upon a time I was watching TV with my late grandfather and I expressed enthusiasm for our Canadian flag. He grunted and said something along the lines of, ‘that’s not the flag I fought for’ (North Nova Scotia Highlanders). I was thinking about him last week and in tribute changed my Facebook profile pic to the Red Ensign. After this incident last weekend I quickly changed my pic lest I be associated with these losers at life. So, am I self-censoring, and is that a good thing?

  3. If the Herald strike was just about money, it would have been settled long ago. It’s really about the degree of power the ownership wants over its employees (preferably with the union reduced to ashes), with notions of responsible (and readable) journalism now a year-and-a-half in the rearview mirror.

  4. Regarding the wankers, and the Proud Wankers & similar organizations:

    I’ve been trying to put my thoughts together ever since I saw the video of these morons on Sunday. I wrote most of this post yesterday. My thoughts on the specific incident are pretty straightforward, they barged in on something morally equivalent to a funeral and were completely disrespectful – there’s no possible justification or apology for their behavior.

    Lets just play the tape forward and talk about the sequence of events to follow:

    1) CBC and other national news organizations will cover the event and condemn the idiots
    2) The military will release a statement condemning the idiots behavior
    3) All of them are going to lose their jobs and become unemployable in their chosen professions
    4) Leftist twitter will have a nice circular gender-non-specific self-love session once these young men “discover that speech has consequences” (choose your epithet)
    5) If those men weren’t closet Nazis to begin with they will likely be radicalized after losing everything – not polite to point this out but it’s true
    6) The armed forces will issue more statements and promise more diversity and inclusion training
    7) A few thinkpieces about banning the Red Ensign will waft from the usual orifices
    8) Our country will continue to divide itself up into warring camps

    I’m not content simply to say “those guys are assholes and should be punished” – I agree with most of the Proud Boy points that Tim listed and have been trying to put my thoughts together about why. Like a lot of political issues, I think that they’re really about the patterns of human experience and being, not the technocratic maximization of GDP, positive emotion and sexual pleasure that seems to have taken the place of religion these days.

    Here’s what I think those points are really about:

    1/2) Minimal Government / Maximal Freedom -> Self reliance and self-determination

    3) Anti-Drug War -> I think this can be taken at face value.

    4) Anti-Political Correctness -> The right not to be compelled to tell what you think is a lie

    5) Anti-Masturbation -> The basic pattern of heterosexual male sexuality and all that comes with it (competition for mates, the chaos and mystery that women represent, the transition from mother and son to husband and wife ) is worthwhile and good and you shouldn’t short circuit it because then you cut off a part of yourself.

    6) Closed Borders -> There should be order and an element of collectivism in society. The work that men do should belong to “us”, where “us” is not every member of the species.

    7) Anti-Racial Guilt -> Stop hitting us with the class politics stick.

    8) Anti-Racism -> We agree to not hit you with the class politics stick

    9) Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment) -> The right not to be compelled to lie by omission

    10) Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment) -> This is a complicated one that people in Western societies have been arguing over since before there were guns. I think the real question is “what does a gun symbolize, to young men in particular and how does our society feel about that?” I actually don’t quite know the answer to this, but think about it quite a lot – I don’t own a gun but I like the fact that I can buy one if I get a PAL and I don’t really know why..

    11) Glorifying the Entrepreneur -> Glorifying the adventurer who goes into the realm of chaos and brings back something of value / alternatively / Glorifying the one who leads men to success

    12) Venerating the Housewife -> Honoring the archetypal divine mother who sacrifices for her children. A billion Catholics aren’t wrong.

    13) Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism -> I come from a worthwhile culture which is worth honoring and preserving. Something can’t really be “good” without being better than something else.

    You could think about these points and how they appear in the classic hero myth, which is at the core of most cultures including ours. Luke Skywalker hits nearly all these points in 90 minutes, which is why we all liked A New Hope so much.

    It’s (approximately) the 50th anniversary of Trudeau The First beginning the deconstruction of White British-Irish-Scottish-French-Native (1) Canada into a multicultural economic zone where all cultures are to be celebrated equally (but never appropriated or criticized).

    Trudeau the Second could be said to have planned a similar fete – the shattered rainbow maple leaf being a perfect symbol of Canada as it exists today – but the first Trudeau was a tragedy and the second Trudeau is a farce. Rather than reconstructing a dismantled Canada we have put the fringes in the center of things – and the thing about fringes is that they’re discordant and chaotic, and that’s the way fringes are. The thing about centers is that they’re orderly, pretty boring, and resistant to change. The center tends to become hide-bound and totalitarian, which is why it needs the fringes, but the fringes also need the center because freezing to death in the dark is always an option whether we like it or not – easy as it is to forget that on a beautiful day in July

    You might say that pre-Trudeau Canada was wicked and racist and sexist and homophobic and probably islamophobic (although there was probably something like 1500 Muslims in Canada back then) and that might be true – even though I think that -ists and -phobic words are harder to use honestly than not. But we mess with things at our peril and just because we might believe we are good people doesn’t automatically make what we’re doing right.

    The thing about incidents like this – when the right response might be to make the jackasses sit down in a room with a bunch of Native people and explain themselves and give them a bunch of community service and probably still kick the ones in the Canadian Forces out – but instead (as I think is likely) the entire power structure in Canada comes down on these people, you show everyone sympathetic to their ideas that they better shut the hell up. And one problem with that is that Western culture, I think since the French revolution, – has had a very hard time accepting the idea that truth and power are ever in the same place. And I think that’s what’s really special and valuable about the West. And yes, if mass immigration changes the Canadian population too quickly, I think we will lose that distrust of authority.

    You might say “but Muslims/Native Americans/Asians/Indians are in favor of dismantling hierarchies and power structures” and that might be true, but perhaps it’s only because they simply want to be in charge – which is normal, most human societies are pretty damn authoritarian. You’ll remember how free speech was a really big deal for the radical left until they gained control of our institutions.

    The point is, that the more contradictory, disjointed and lacking a central consensus our culture becomes the more authoritarian it will become and that means stomping on anyone who disagrees with the premises of post Red Ensign Canada harder and harder. And so everyone has to lie, all the time, about everything which actually matters, and nothing becomes true anymore and it’s all just a Hobbsean power game. And so white people – who are required to studiously ignore or even celebrate their demographic replacement (again, impolite but true) will know on some level that when whites become a minority in Canada – white people will be on the losing end of a power game. Nobody is allowed to say this, but I’ll go ahead and stick my neck out and do it anyway. I think that a harmonious white-minority Canada is possible and maybe even a good thing but certainly not inevitable. If Canada as it is is so bad, people wouldn’t be trying to move here from everywhere else. I won’t play the game the Proud Wankers are playing and say that this has nothing to do with the racial tensions in Canada.

    In Canada one of the rules is that nobody with any serious status is allowed to question the cultural norms of our cultural, academic and political elite. It might not be illegal, you might just get pilloried publically and lose your career or your ability to make a living. This means that the only people who will do it are wankers like Gavin McInnes. This is also why anonymous speech (the only kind of speech which is ever free) without which, the French or American revolutions would have been impossible, is so important. Nobody knows anymore what’s lurking under the surface of our culture and that should scare everyone.

    And sure, I get it that you might disagree with me, or simply think that white people need to be collectively punished – although remember that collective punishment unites people in unhealthy ways. And you might think I’m a closet Nazi who is simply toeing the line – this isn’t remotely true. You might even threaten me or simply settle for insults. Fine. I don’t care anymore. If we can’t talk honestly this is what happens and worse. We have to agree to let each other speak and not hold anyone collectively responsible for anything or we will descend first into totalitarian order and then chaos.

    I could write more, but I’ll stop here.

    (1) I was told that the leaves on the shield on the Red Ensign represented Native Americans but I’m not sure if that’s actually true.

    1. The point is that our culture has become stale – despite the various fringe cultures that we elevate and celebrate – they can’t be the fringes from the center – and right now for a lot of young men the far right offers them the best and most challenging opportunity to enact the myth of the hero and resurrect their father from the underworld (as Jordan Peterson would put it) because the old center – White British Canada – is now what’s on the fringes. The new center has nothing of value to offer most young men and so rather than strive to perpetuate, renew and improve it, they want to tear it down.

    2. I’ll take some time to mull over the finer points, but I think you’ve hit on something that is, if anything, even more critical to understanding divisions here in the US. None of what you suggest minimizes the horrible privations most working people are suffering under neoliberalism, but it explains a lot of the nuances — the insults endured — that a strictly economic analysis overlooks. Unfortunately, I’m persuaded that the chances of understanding what’s going on across the divide on either side are approximately nil. There’s still too much money to be mined from identity politics and virtue signaling and indignation on the so-called left, and the legitimate anger and resentment among the abandoned working class on the right. This can’t end well. But any point of view that allows for greater empathy deserves consideration.

  5. Unfortunately those wankers represent the thin edge of the Trump/nationalist/xenophobic alt right.

    God I hope Canada is better than that.

    Just sined up for ths CB Spectator. Already leaned more about Muskrat Falls in one read then I ever knew before. Subscribe if you can.

  6. I saw someone waving the red ensign shouting something unintelligible from a pick up truck peeling through crosswalks downtown on Canada Day and suspected it might have been for nefarious purposes. Suspicions confirmed.

  7. The flag is the Red Ensign, not the Union Jack. Canada’s flag until 1965, albeit with different shields over the years. The one they had was the final version last flown in 1965.

    I never much like the design, and I’m glad we ditched it and got our own non-colonial symbolism. Still, it is largely an innocuous historical artifact now, something to bring out and show curious young folk. Nobody harbored it much of a grudge. I hope that racist “western” supremacists don’t start carrying it at their hate events and their disruptions, and get it associated with their ideology, as happened with the Cross of St. George in England.

  8. Two comments: 1. Wankers is too polite a term for those mouthbreathing, knuckle-dragging troglodytes.
    and 2. An easily-accessed link to where folks can subscribe/upgrade subscriptions in the story would be useful.
    Oh, and Happy 4th of July, Tim and others from our neighbour to the south. Maybe this time next year things will be better there.

    1. I don’t understand. There is a link in the story to the subscription page, and you can additionally click on the photo to get there.

      1. LOL. Entirely my fault, Tim. I missed the link because I haven’t had nearly enough coffee yet this morning. All sorted.

      2. After upgrading to the $15 plan, do we use the same account to log in for the Spectator? Because that’s not working for me..

        1. Hi Ian, Iris here. Once you subscribe, I send the info to Mary at the Cape Breton Spectator, and she sets up your account on her end. It may take a day or so.

  9. Let’s not beat around the bush here. Those “Proud Boys” are racists. I don’t care if they claim one of their beliefs to be anti-racist, what they did in that video was intimidation because they weren’t Caucasian like they themselves are.

    What a disgrace to Canadians, the Canadian Forces, and humanity in general.

  10. I call BS. Those wanker’s hands are all stuck in the same position from too much masturbating.

  11. The flag those wankers were carrying was not the Union Jack, but the Red Ensign. It was the flag of the Dominion of Canada. It features the Union flag in the upper left hand corner, but is not a Union Jack.