1. The ‘green’ hydrogen subsidy-harvesting industry

four men and one woman lined up at a podium, all smiling. Premier TIm Houston (right), EverWind CEO and founder Trent Vichie (centre), Membertou First Nation Chief Terrance Paul (2nd from left), and other dignitaries at the signing of the MOU with Uniper and E.On. Photo contributed by EverWind
Premier TIm Houston (right), EverWind founder and CEO Trent Vichie (centre), Membertou First Nation Chief Terrance Paul (2nd from left), and other dignitaries at the signing of the MOU with Uniper and E.On in Germany for “uptake” of green ammonia. Credit: EverWind Fuels

We’ve published the second part of Joan Baxter’s two-part series analyzing the claims of ‘green’ hydrogen backers in Nova Scotia. Writes Baxter:

Dalhousie University economics professor Talan Iscan tells the Halifax Examiner that these investment tax credits are “equivalent to subsidizing the business by giving them direct cash payments, with the difference that the subsidies associated with the investment tax credits are linked to the amount of investment.”

Iscan says the investment tax credit for “clean hydrogen” is controversial. He explains that it includes the production of “blue” hydrogen production powered using natural gas (a deceptively benign name for a gas that that is mostly methane) and ineffective carbon capture and storage technologies, as is being done in Alberta.

Thus, Iscan says, the clean hydrogen tax credits are “effectively a subsidy to oil and gas companies in Alberta.” 

Paul Martin is a chemical engineer with a 30-year history of working with, making, and using hydrogen, and a member of the Hydrogen Science Coalition. He describes himself as a “tireless advocate for a fossil fuel-free future.”

Martin calls the hype over hydrogen for decarbonisation an “epidemic of hopium addiction.”

“It’s a combination of wishful thinking, magical thinking, and green-wishing,” Martin says in an interview.

“I’m not anti-hydrogen, I’m anti-bullshit,” Martin says. “And this is bullshit, this stuff.”

Martin notes that 120 million tonnes — 99% — of the hydrogen made each year in the world is made from fossil fuels without carbon capture, and its greenhouse gas emissions exceed those of the entire aviation industry. 

“Hydrogen itself is a massive decarbonization problem,” he says. “And despite that fact, we have project proponents wanting to waste it as a fuel. That doesn’t make sense as a decarbonization strategy, so it must be about something else.”

Asked where all the hydrogen hype originated, Martin replies:

It’s being pushed by the fossil fuel industry, which knows their relevance will disappear in a carbonized future without hydrogen. And then there is a group of people that ranges from the earnest but a little credulous, to self-interested. Or to use the other unapologetic term that was once used about the various groups in Western countries by the Soviets, the “useful idiots” of the fossil fuel industry.

Oh, an update from Baxter:

The Halifax Examiner has been informed that the two open houses scheduled for this week, and reported on in the first part of this series, have been postponed for two weeks. This means the open house for the Bear Lake Power Project will be held on Aug. 22, 2023 in the South West Hants Fire Station, 1884 Nova Scotia Trunk, Windsor from 5-8pm, and not this evening (Aug. 9) as EverWind previously announced. The open house for the Kmtnuk Wind Power Project will not be held tomorrow evening, Aug. 10, but instead will be Aug. 23, 2023 from 5-8pm at the Earltown Community Centre, 5527 Highway 311, in Earltown.

Nothing like changing the date on one-day’s notice.

Click or tap here to read “‘I’m not anti-hydrogen, I’m anti-bullshit’: Why ‘green’ hydrogen is hyped by the oil and gas industry.”

I’m no expert — read the article for the experts’ takes — but even I smelled this grift a mile away. As I wrote last month:

So how does it make sense to use wind power in Atlantic Canada to extract hydrogen from water and then supercool it to put it into tankers to cross the ocean that take it to Germany, when you could just as easily skip the “supercool it to put it into tankers to cross the ocean” part and just do the whole process in Germany?

The more I think about it, there’s only one answer to that question: Canadian governments (so by extension, the Canadian people) are going to subsidize its ‘green’ hydrogen industry by amounts much greater than Germany is willing to subsidize its own ‘green’ hydrogen industry.

In effect, the hydrogen isn’t being mined from water; rather, the hydrogen is being mined from the Canadian public. And along the way, a lot of rich people are going to extract wealth from Canadians and get a lot richer still.

And once you understand that basic economic fact, the rest of the equation makes sense…

The world is burning and we need to rework our economies stat, but for many people, this is just another opportunity for grift and pocket-lining.

Related to all this, don’t you know that LNG Canada is now sponsoring the Indigenous Women in Leadership (IWIL) award.

LNG Canada, says Wikipedia, “is a large industrial energy project that will build and operate a terminal for the liquefaction, storage, and loading of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the port of KitimatBritish Columbia, Canada. It will export LNG produced by the project’s partners in the Montney Formation gas fields near Dawson Creek, B.C.”

And what do you know:

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) is pleased to honour Rose Paul as the recipient of the 2023 Indigenous Women in Leadership (IWIL) award.

This year, Rose Paul is CEO of Bayside Development Corporation, the business arm of Pagtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, is the recipient of this award.

Paul has been a tireless advocate for economic growth and has developed strong relationships within clean energy, mining, and even the sustainable food industry, thanks to partnerships with Everwind Fuels, Signal Gold and Clearwater Seafoods. She has been recognized for her achievements receiving multiple awards for women in community leadership, economic development, community building and tourism. [emphasis added]

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2. Twila Grosse, MLA

A Black woman wearing glasses smiles.
Twila Grosse arrives at her campaign headquarters after winning the Preston byelection on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. Credit: Zane Woodford

“Progressive Conservative Twila Grosse will be the next MLA for Preston, turning a long-time Liberal riding blue,” reports Zane Woodford.

Click or tap here to read “Twila Grosse wins Preston byelection for PC Party.”

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3. Pharmacists

A smiling bearded man stands at a counter with shelves filled with medication behind him and a large black and white 'Pharmacy" sign behind him and above his head.
Credit: World Sikh Organization of Canada/

“The head of the organization representing Nova Scotia’s pharmacists and pharmacy technicians says more needs to be done to incorporate them into the primary health care system,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

“If utilized effectively, our pharmacy teams could support fundamental changes to how care is delivered in Nova Scotia,” Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) CEO Allison Bodnar told the legislature’s standing committee on health Tuesday afternoon.

“Health care is complicated and change is hard, but no health care provider should be waiting on the sidelines while patients are waiting for care.”

The meeting’s focus was the expanded scope of pharmacists. Bodnar opened by saying most prescription renewals — millions a year — should be done by pharmacists at a pharmacy.

Click or tap here to read “Nova Scotia pharmacists want greater scope of practice to ease burden on health care system.”

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4. Priorities

A man wearing a dark suit and white shirt speaks at a podium. In the background, part of a Canadian flag is visible.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage speaks at a funding announcement in July 2021. — Photo: Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

“CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie met with Halifax Mayor Mike Savage this week as the league continues a long-standing quest to add a team in Atlantic Canada, Sportsnet’s Arash Madani reported Tuesday,” reports Sportsnet.

A tweet reads: "Per sources: Halifax mayor Mike Savage met this week with CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. I'm told Savage is in Toronto on another matter, but the two had lunch. League + Halifax-area sources tell me "they're still working away at it" on talks about an expansion team in N.S."


In just seven months, the number of people sleeping outside has more than doubled in Halifax Regional Municipality, according to a report by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia.

The July report surveyed 178 people living rough, up from 85 living outside in November 2022.

The report shows that renovictions and short-term leases led to many people losing their homes.

Nearly a quarter of the people surveyed said they wound up homeless by one or the other. The authors of the report which was released last week say the numbers prove stronger legislation is needed to protect low-income tenants and the practice of fixed-term leases needs to be abolished.

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5. Corbin’s excellent adventure

Here’s a fun story in the Stratford (Ontario) Beacon Herald about Corbin the cat, who is flying to Yarmouth. I’m only linking to the article because of the photo, by reporter Chris Abbott. Check it out. This is how you do photo composition, reporters. (It helps if you’ve got a cat that takes no bullshit.)

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6. Carbon taxes and vehicle purchases

The table reads: Decrease in per-capita emissions 2005-2021 2005 pc 2021 pc Change 05-21 NS Road 3.94T 3.68T -6.6% NS Cars ,LT 2.80T 2.69T -3.9% Canada Road 3.82T 3.04T -20.4% Canada Cars,LT 2.58T 1.97T -23.6% BC Road 3.36T 2.82T -16.1% BC Cars, LT 2.33T 1.79T -23.2% Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada, National Inventory Report

“Critiquing the Houston government’s climate action plan during this summer of climate chaos is like fiddling while Rome burns,” writes Richard Starr:

But the other PC Tim, Environment and Climate Change Minister Tim Halman put an entire string section to work producing last week’s portentously-titled “Urgent Times, Urgent Action: The Annual Progress Report on the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act and Nova Scotia’s Climate Plan,” henceforth to be known as UTUA. The opus received a fair bit of media attention, so a review is in order.

Like much of the literature on climate change and related matters provincial governments have produced over the years the document contains ample verbiage and a lot of nice pictures, including at least five featuring the minister. But it is scant on details, most notably in the realm of greenhouse gases from the province’s second largest source of such emissions, transportation. 

Starr has been somewhat ambivalent about the carbon tax — he’s been critical of those who oppose it without mentioning the rebate, which is a net benefit to most households, but has also questioned whether it will actually work. Today’s post shows an evolution of that thinking, by discussing the table above. Continues Starr:

The table [above] compares emissions per capita from overall road transportation and emissions from passenger cars and light trucks (including SUVs) for Nova Scotia, Canada as a whole and British Columbia, which has had a carbon tax since 2008.

As the table shows, between 2005 and 2021 emissions per capita from road transportation fell by less than seven per cent in Nova Scotia, compared with more than 20.4 per cent for Canada as a whole and 16.1 per cent for B.C. The disparity for passenger cars and light trucks was even greater – a reduction of less than four per cent for Nova Scotia compared with reductions nationally and in British Columbia of around 23 per cent.

The difference between Nova Scotia, British Columbia and the Canadian average may be primarily because of a different rural/urban population mix, with our relatively larger rural population needing to drive more to acquire the goods and services they need. However, that factor was in play in 2005, and would explain why, at 2.80 tons per capita, emissions from passenger cars and light trucks in Nova Scotia were 20.2 per cent higher than the 2.33 tons per capita in B.C. and 8.5 per cent higher than the Canadian average. 

But the gap widened significantly after 2005. By 2021, at 2.69 tons per capita, Nova Scotia was 50.3 per cent higher than B.C., and 36.5 per cent higher than the Canadian average. 

A potential outcome from a carbon levy is to move new vehicle buyers to battery electric from vehicles powered by fossil fuels. That movement has been slow, but picked up after the federal government introduced subsidies of up to $5,000 on electric vehicles in 2019. By 2021, the most recent year reported by Statistics Canada, there were 153,349 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered in Canada, 0.58 per cent of all registrations. In British Columbia, battery electric vehicles totalled 48,263, 1.37 per cent of registrations. In Nova Scotia there were just 633 BEVs registered. That was more than double the number registered in 2020, but accounted for only 0.09 per cent of registered vehicles, one-sixth the Canadian average.  

Although there are several factors at play – such as a lack of inventory and charging infrastructure – movement away from gasoline and diesel to BEVs has been far slower in Nova Scotia than in the rest of Canada. And Nova Scotia has been far  behind British Columbia where carbon pricing has been affecting the price at the pumps for years.

I’m ambivalent about personal electric cars, especially in the urban area (just take the bus already).

And I think we need to engage with Tim Houston’s argument that given Nova Scotia’s rural population, there’s no practical quick way to decrease driving for those people, who need their cars for just about everything. But Houston takes that point and runs with it, saying that therefore the carbon tax is merely punitive (he ignores the rebate). But that’s not right; as Starr illustrates, there’s more to the picture.

The equation is not merely: ‘Does the carbon tax make me drive less?’ For which the answer in rural areas is a hard ‘no.’

But the carbon tax is a total price pressure point, so the equation is additionally: ‘OK, I have to drive, but what am I going to drive?’ And the answer to that can be: smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.

It’s undeniable that personal vehicles have grown in size and weight beyond all need. (I don’t want to hear about how you’re a contractor; contractors 20 years ago had smaller vehicles, and in any event the vast majority of super-sized truck drivers are not contractors).

A slowly increasing carbon tax can act as a motivating factor for people to buy smaller and more efficient vehicles when they replace their existing vehicles. Whether that’s a full-on EV or simply a reasonable 1990s-era sized car, either way, as the B.C. data show, the tax is achieving its aim.

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Halifax and West Community Council (Wednesday, 6pm, City hall and online) — special meeting


Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (Thursday, 5pm, online) — agenda

Public Open House – Case 2023-00728 (Thursday, 7pm, Eastern Shore Community Centre, Musquodoboit Harbour) — a development agreement to build a new grocery store at 8990 Hwy. 7, Head of Jeddore


No meetings

On campus


PhD Defense, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Wednesday, 1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — Nicholas Raun will defend “Navigating memory and neuron identity with the COMPASS complexes”


The Honey Farm (Wednesday, 7pm, online) — a talk with author Harriet Alida Lye; info and registration here

In the harbour

05:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from St. John’s
06:30: Mineral Maureen, bulker, arrives at anchorage for inspection from Rotterdam
07:15: Viking Neptune, cruise ship with up to 928 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from New York, on a 14-day cruise from New York to Reykjavik
07:30: NYK Meteor, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Southampton, England
09:00: John J. Carrick, barge, sails from McAsphalt for sea
10:00: USCGC Forward, coast guard cutter, sails from Dockyard for sea
11:00: Mineral Maureen sails for sea
13:45: FS Garonne, French naval support ship, sails from Bedford Basin anchorage for sea
16:30: Viking Neptune sails for L’anse Aux Meadows
17:00: Patara, car carrier, sails for sea
19:00: STI Marshall, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from IJmuiden, Netherlands

Cape Breton
21:00: Ainazi, oil tanker, arrives at EverWind from Come By Chance


I’m getting a haircut today. In the Before Times, this meant simply finding some time in whatever day I could to drop by the barber shop, sit in a row of seats with other shaggy-haired dudes until it’s my turn, then get the cut. If something came up, I could wait for the next day, no problem.

Now, however, getting a haircut entails making an appointment two weeks ahead of time, then getting bombarded with texts and emails reminding me of that appointment. And if something comes up — like, say, the premier suddenly making himself available to reporters — I’m just shit out of luck, can’t move that haircut appointment.

I suppose women have always had this problem, sure. But what’s the point of the patriarchy if I can’t get a hassle-free haircut?

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

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  1. Not one thin dime of public money for this ridiculous idea. The only place that might be able to draw enough people to such a venue is not Halifax, but Moncton. It is centrally placed to draw from 3 provinces.
    The idea that our mayor is following such a boondoggle speaks to his disdain to the people who really need help.

  2. The next time the legislature opens there should be a traffic stopping march on Province House to demonstrate solidarity with the homeless and support for government subsidized affordable housing. I want to see my tax dollars supporting ordinary citizens instead of this hydrogen bullshit.

  3. I agree with most of the comments – we do not want or need a CFL team in HRM! Nor do we need a national soccer team. We can’t afford a football stadium, and the so-called “temporary” soccer stadium in the heart of downtown is NOT temporary. It is an eyesore, an abuser of noise bylaws, and a threat to the other occupants of the Common. They want to expand and take land from other organizations, and the peace and serenity of the Public Gardens is wiped out every time they have a game. Any stadium should be outside of the core. Here’s an idea. Since the soccer stadium is on public land, the homeless population should set up their tents there. The Wanderers couldn’t make them move because it’s public land. Then maybe they’d get the message that we don’t want them here.

  4. It is disgusting that the mayor is trying to get a CFL stadium built when we have a housing crisis that will only get worse as interest rates kill building projects.

  5. Of course the mayor is meeting privately and off the record with CFL officials. That’s what happens when you run a government for ALL citizens like a business. Backroom deals cut and public money shared amongst the old boys.

    What return on investment could there possibly be for providing homeless people some dignity. Nothing compared to lining ones own pockets and close friends in the construction and development industries.

    Hang on, developers are now partners. The homeless? Not so much. I guess the whole empathy based response to homelessness is and was nothing but bureaucratic bullshit.

  6. Why would HRM or the Province ever consider putting public money towards a CFL franchise when the league has had such a history of failure. Montreal and Ottawa have folded teams and Toronto seriously struggled. There was even a massive expansion into the U.S. market which was a total failure (there are no U.S. based teams left in the CFL). Wikipedia has a good historical summary:

    In some of the western provinces, there is a strong support for the CFL but that culture does not exist here. Even in the best of times, I have always had trouble justifying public expenditures on sports stadiums and in the current housing crisis, the thought of doing so seems even more outrageous.

  7. Corbin is beautiful and a bad ass. Wonderful combination for a cat.
    Our mayor needs to stay home and face the hard jobs head on. I also do not know why the CFL wants a team in Halifax. The CFL has been around for over 100 years and never east of Montreal and some of the time not even that far.

  8. Shame on Mayor Savage indeed. He has been fixated on bringing a professional team to Halifax to suck up more of our tax dollars for no return since he was elected. He needs help. I’d guess it has something top do with an insecure masculinity.

  9. I really don’t know how Mayor Savage sleeps at night. If he sincerely cared about the “poors” of HRM, he’d spend a lot more time on housing issues and a lot less on boosting sports teams and venues. Shame on him.

    1. Personally, I think Mayor Savage and many of the HRM councillors should be required to live as the people living in tents have to for at least a fortnight, preferably one where we will once again get multiple months worth of rain in a single two day period. It would give them a very different perspective on the situation. We don’t need a CFL team in NS, we need solid roofs over the heads of every single person who wants one, at a price each and every one of them can afford.