Former Halifax Metro, allnovascotia, and Chronicle Herald reporter Paul McLeod is now working on Capitol Hill for Buzzfeed. Yesterday, McLeod was chasing Paul Ryan around during that budget mess, but he caught up with me after work, and we had drinks. I thought it was a great opportunity to ask his opinion about Nova Scotia news….


1. That Ray Ivany magic

Magic Man Ray Ivany

“On May 24, 2012, Nova Scotia’s Department of Advanced Education announced the province was loaning Acadia University $2.7 million to renovate a student residence on campus,” reports Emma Davie for the CBC:

But while the press release from that day left the impression the money to renovate rooms for 300 more students in Cutten House in Wolfville was coming from the department’s budget, that was not the case.

Unknown to the public, the funding had been quietly secured from an agency of the Department of Community Services that deals primarily with affordable housing — the only time such a loan has been given to a Nova Scotia university.

Details of the five-year loan come from documents obtained by CBC News through freedom-of-information laws, and follow significant criticism last year about favourable financial measures for Acadia, including millions of dollars in secret bailouts.

While the loan, which was paid back by Acadia last year, was approved by the former NDP government, there are calls for the current Liberal government to explain why the money came from the housing budget but was disguised as funding from another department.

This is excellent reporting by the CBC, so I’m not criticizing. I understand that Davie can’t editorialize, but dammit, I can: What the hell mojo does (now retired) Acadia prez Ray Ivany have? All three parties have bowed down to him, giving Acadia secret loans and special consideration not accorded other universities, have hired his spouse into an unprecedented high-salary political position, named an entire campus after him, Nova Scotia Power appointed him to a plum position on the board of directors…

Something ain’t right. What’s the deal here? Does Ivany have photos of something untoward?

What does Paul McLeod think about that?

Hahaha! I was thinking the same thing… he must have photos of someone. At this point there’s been so many of these stories… the CBC should file a FOIPOP to see if the province has sold Wolfville to Ivany.

2. Peter Stoffer

Peter Stoffer, Tim Bousquet, and Megan Leslie. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“One afternoon in 2009 during parliament’s fall session, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, a young female staffer for then-New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, was standing in the opposition lobby at the desk of the whip’s assistant when Peter Stoffer, the NDP member for a suburban Halifax riding and one of the most popular MPs, started asking her questions,” report Adrian Humphreys, Sean Craig, and Marie-Danielle Smith for the National Post:

Then, according to Dobson-Hughes’ allegations, he made a sudden move. “He pulled me really close and groped my waist and then kissed me so hard right on my cheek near my mouth that it left saliva drooling down my cheek,” Dobson-Hughes told the National Post.

“I felt awful. I felt so shaky, gross. But nobody batted an eyelid, there must have been, I don’t know, 10 other MPs in that space at the time, with senior staff.”

According to Dobson-Hughes, it was the second time Stoffer had forced a kiss on her.

Two former NDP MPs confirmed to the Post that they handled complaints against Stoffer.

“There was always rumours of Peter being overly friendly,” Dawn Black, then a B.C. MP told the Post. “Lauren is not the only one who raised this.”

The Post has, in fact, spoken to three women who independently said Stoffer acted inappropriately with them.

While others had complained of Stoffer’s behavior towards women, and though it created concerns with some senior party officials — concerns which went all the way up to Layton and the NDP’s caucus chair — there appears never to have been a workplace investigation into Stoffer’s conduct, nor did the NDP take any formal disciplinary measures against him. He maintained his status as an icon of the party even after his defeat in the 2015 federal election, which ended his nearly two decades as an MP.

Stoffer, speaking to the Post Thursday, categorically denied any past sexually inappropriate behaviour.

“Stoffer, who served as the MP for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook for 18 years until he was defeated in the 2015 election, told The Chronicle Herald on Thursday evening that he has ‘never sexually abused or physically harassed anyone,’” reports Andrea Gunn:

“If somebody feels something was inappropriate, there was no intent on my side,” he said.

Stoffer emailed a letter to The Chronicle Herald on Thursday afternoon before the allegations were made public saying that over the past few months he has realized that his “humour and friendly demeanour” may have been interpreted in a manner that was not intended.

What does Paul McLeod think about that?

This is going to be really awkward for a lot of people… men and women knew Stoffer was “overly friendly” but didn’t do anything about it because they didn’t realize anyone was bothered… I remember asking women about it at the time, and it was “oh it’s just Stoffer, he’s harmless.” This is going to be a tough read for a lot of people.

3. Portia Clark

Portia Clark. Photo: CBC

“Portia Clark has been named the new host of CBC Radio’s Information Morning for mainland Nova Scotia,” says the Ceeb:

It’s a bit of a homecoming for Clark, who grew up in Sandy Cove on Digby Neck and then nearby Bear River, in a household where the radio dial was constantly tuned to CBC.

The stories spilling out over those airwaves spawned an early love for radio — though it likely helped that her family didn’t own a television.

The 20-year broadcast veteran actually began her career in Halifax with CBC Radio, working as a reporter, producer and newsreader, before moving to CBC Edmonton.

“I’m beyond excited to be returning as the new host of Information Morning,” said Clark. “I grew up listening to the show, and feel lucky to have started in that newsroom.

What does Paul McLeod think about that?

I went on her [Edmonton] show a couple of times… she seems really cool — that’s good news! CBC should force her to recreate Don Connolly’s hair.

4. History by statue

Photo: Halifax Examiner

“A group of middle school students in Port Williams, N.S., have come up with their own solution to the Edward Cornwallis statue controversy, and it’s caught the attention of Halifax’s deputy mayor,” reports CTV:

“The idea is that there are four statues from each of the major groups of Nova Scotian population,” says Grade 7 student Henry Mulherin. “The first was British, which is already Cornwallis. The second was Acadian, Noel Doiron, who was the father of the Acadians as one person put it. Viola Desmond for the black Nova Scotian groups, and Grand Chief John Denny Jr. who was the last hereditary chief of the Mi’kmaq.”

The students want to see Cornwallis facing Noel Doiron or Grand Chief John Denny Jr., due to the major conflict between the two.

“They’ll be in a conversation, so then when you walk inside you can read their plaques and see who they were and what they did,” says Grade 6 student Hanah Hutchinson. 


The students sent this proposal to the city’s Special Advisory Committee, and on Wednesday Deputy Mayor Waye Mason came to Port Williams to hear the pitch.

What does Paul McLeod think about that?

What about the Scots???? They built half the province, and half the province — including myself — have Scottish last names, and how come we’re not included in the four founding groups? But I have no idea who’d we put up a statue for.

5. Fracking

“Nova Scotia’s premier has moved to clarify remarks made to a business audience about the province’s ban on hydraulic fracturing,” reports the Canadian Press:

Stephen McNeil told the Halifax Chamber of Commerce that if a community decides it will give a “social licence” to initiate fracking, the province would be “happy to join them.”

Following a cabinet meeting today, McNeil told reporters he meant that if any community brings forward a broad consensus on the possibility of fracking in their area, his government would look at the information.

What does Paul McLeod think about that?

OK, great, that makes a lot of sense. If that’s the case, there’s no ban.


1. “Hell to the no. We’re outta here.”

Elmina Castle

Evelyn C. White writes:

Fleeing Nova Scotia for Africa, Black Loyalists, in their “reverse migration,” had rendered themselves vulnerable to a still robust slave trade that was not abolished, within the British Empire, until 1834. Think about it.


No public meetings today.

On campus


Piano Recital (Friday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Peter Allen and Lynn Stodola will perform.

Pain: Through the Lens of Loss (Friday, 12pm, Room 1014, Rowe Management Building) — Janice MacInnis leads this group discussion. Register here.

A Matter of Survival: Health Rights from the Bottom Up (Friday, 12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Pascale Allotey, Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, will speak.

Nonlinear Optical Properties of Molecules for Microscopy (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Danielle Tokarz from Saint Mary’s University will speak.

Does Place Matter? Debates and Burial Decisions of Muslims in Canada (Friday, 2:30pm, Room 1028, Rowe Management Building) — Chedly Belkhodja from Concordia University will speak.

Seeing at Sea: Lighthouses, Sailors, and the Politics of Vision in Late Nineteenth-century Nova Scotia (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Sara Spike, director of the Eastern Shore Islands Heritage Research project, will speak.

Violin Masterclass (Friday, 4:30pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Rachel Barton Pine will perform, following her Thursday night concert with Symphony Nova Scotia.

In the harbour

11am: Askiliops, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
4pm: George Washington Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
4:30pm: Palena, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea
7:30pm: Salarium, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
8pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk


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. Bravo, bravo to the last four comments. Yes, a referendum on fracking is the only way to go if we want to do it democratically; yes, it’s sickening to have money given to Acadia for rooms out of budget for those in public housing, for shame!; yes it’s way past time for the lid to be blown off this province metaphorically speaking, the “seeming” corrupt is horrifying and yes to having indigenous symbols and culture represented from an aboriginal perspective, it’s way past time for all of us to learn the other histories of our province, the ones not represented by the “winners”, the white,western, patriarchal perspective with little else written or spoken therein. of anyone else.

  2. I think a beautiful totem pole be built to replace Cornwall the Killer by local indigenous people and incorporate our NS heritage with lots of indigenous symbols and other cultures represented from an aboriginal perspective. It would be interesting and thought invoking.

  3. Damn. I bet the folks in Nova Scotia’s perpetually in need of repair and renovation public housing complexes are wondering how they can score some Ray Ivany “Let’s spiff up Acadia dorm rooms” cash.

    Just a matter of time before the lid is blown completely off this province. Can’t happen soon enough.


    Rich kids get to go to university. Check the stats. $2.7M to make their rooms even more comfy-cosy. $2.7M NOT spent to make a decent place to live a little more possible for hard-working folks who pay the taxes expropriated for the little darlings at university. Jesus, fucking christ.

  5. Fracking can go ahead if a community shows a consensus of support. Just how would that consensus be determined? I have often said that the only way to have a clue as to what the public really wants is through a balloted survey much like an election…. it is called a referendum and to my knowledge this credible information gathering process has only been used twice in the history of Nova Scotia.

    If the Province wants to get cute about it, they could put a carefully worded question or two to the public as a part of the voting process during the next provincial election (2021-2022). The vote tally should identify consensus by community. Combining a referendum with an election is the least expensive way to hold a referendum, IMO. That might liven up the campaign rhetoric and establish an irrefutable mandate, eh?

  6. I am of English descent and would not want Cornwallis propped up representing my ancestors. They left England to get away from grandee pricks like him. My coal miner grandfather would probably have been the first to call to have the statue pulled down.

    I don’t see a need for new public statues of grand individuals at all. If someone wants to do it on private property with their own money, fine, it’s a free country and people do worse with their money, but I can think of more creative public art I’d prefer to see in public places. These kinds of hero-worship statues are usually a pretty boring use of public space, really. I’d rather see grass for kids to play on than that kind of pompous nonsense.

    Which brings me back to my own suggestion that they should have left the empty plinth there, and used it like the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square to display different art from time to time. They have a whole procedure for that now in London and it is quite popular. Cornwallis’s statue will eventually end up in a museum — I don’t think it should be melted down, because the statue is an artifact that should be in the right contextual and interpretive setting — but the museum won’t need the stone plinth. Put it back and use it.

  7. Fracking? Really? Not to mention exploratory drilling on the Scotian shelf. And the idiocy of the bitumen-wine war out West. When we know the fossil fuels have to stay in the ground. We are doomed.
    And before you yammer on about how we all need oil to run our cars and heat our homes and make a zillion plastic objects, let’s put our investment into the already existing alternatives. Time to BE BOLD! 😀

  8. I wonder how the Scots would react to Cornwallis representing them as the “British” statue. His cruelty following the Battle of Culloden is well known.

  9. Was going to mention Burns, but saw that everyone else has commented the same. I don’t’ve a specific source for this, but I recall reading that Robbie Burns was perhaps the most statuted individual in North America.

  10. So, “What does Paul McLeod think about that?

    What about the Scots???? ”

    Hey Paul! You’ve got Robbie Burns! (at Spring Garden and South Park)

  11. Re: Scots statue… does the Robert Burns one in Victoria Park count? He never set a foot here, but it would work by default, no?