On campus
In the harbour


1. Chris Garnier

Chris Garnier. Photo: Safety P.A.T.H.
Chris Garnier. Photo: Safety P.A.T.H.

Chris Garnier, the man charged with second degree murder in the death of Truro police officer Catherine Campbell, is one of four people employed at Safety P.A.T.H., an occupational health and safety consulting firm. Safety P.A.T.H. was started by Vince Garnier, who I presume is Chris’s father.

The “about us” part of the company’s webpage gives this bio for Chris:

Chris Garnier is a certified firefighter, medical first responder and “Fitness Guru” who decided to advance his OHS career by joining Safety P.A.T.H. And… we are proud to have him as a member of our team! 

Chris enrolled in the OHS Certificate Program at Dalhousie University in 2013 and has not looked back. Whether he is helping employers to improve their return to work programs or helping employees improve their personal health and well-being, Chris’ passion for health and safety shines and the positive results show. 

Having assisted in delivering the Advanced OHS Accident Investigation Program at Dalhousie University since 2013, Chris has the knowledge and skills to help workplaces improve its accident and injury performance. For fire safety training, audits and more, let Chris guide you along the right PATH – the Safety P.A.T.H. 

One of the other four employees listed at the company is Mark Hartlen, who is the president of the union that represents Halifax police officers. Hartlen’s day job is an investigator at the police department, and usually he would be involved in a murder investigation such as that now being conducted into Campbell’s murder.

Besides the two Garniers and Hartlen, the fourth employee at Safety P.A.T.H. is Jim LeBlanc, who was the Executive Director of the provincial Department of Labour and Advanced Education for 23 years, until he stepped down in 2012.

Chris Garnier’s Facebook page has since been taken down, but I noticed yesterday that he updated his profile picture on September 12 — the day after the alleged murder. The photo showed him with a woman, who had been in his timeline for many months, and a child. There’s no need to name her, as there’s no indication she’s involved in Campbell’s murder. Somebody with the same name is listed in Canada411 as living in Dartmouth.

Photos and other information on Garnier’s Facebook page showed that he was heavily involved in body building and personal health. He also wrote a guest post for the Local Traveller blog (since taken down but archived here) that gave tips on how to stay healthy while travelling.

“Speaking from personal and professional experience, a healthier lifestyle will aid in increasing happiness and confidence,” wrote Garnier in the blog post. “It will also help to control stress by keeping your cortisol production at a healthy level, as well as aid in fighting depression. These are just some of the amazing side effects to a lifetime prescription of healthy living!”

2. Willow tree trolling

WM Fares proposes to build a 29-storey willow tree on Quinpool Road.
WM Fares proposes to build a 29-storey willow tree on Quinpool Road.

Metro’s Stephanie Taylor attended last night’s public information meeting on the development proposed for the Armco site at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street, explaining that:

[T]he project has morphed from separate 28-storey and 12-storey towers as was previously proposed, to a single 29-storey tower that would feature a four to seven storey podium street wall. 

Overall, the development would fit 209 units with199 parking stalls and offer 10,614 square feet of commercial space. 

Developer WM Fares Group’s architect, Jacob JeBailey, appeared to be trolling the neighbours who came out in opposition to the project:

He explained the building’s design was inspired from a willow tree that once grew at the intersection of Quinpool Road, Robie Street and Cogswell Street. 

3. Wild Kingdom

Peter Barss
Peter Barss

The CBC’s Zachary Markan has an interesting interview with Peter Barss, who in 1978 published A Portrait of Lunenburg County: Images and Stories From a Vanished Way of Life, in which he interviewed fishermen who had been working the south coast of Nova Scotia in the early 20th century. Responding to a recent study that found that since 1970 there has been a 50 per cent decline in both the number of species and the population of the surviving species in the oceans, Barss notes that:

“This study uses the 1970s as kind of a baseline and a lot of people who looked at that might think, ‘Hey, everything was okay in the 1970s’. But it wasn’t,” said Barss. 


Barss says advances in technology — such as sounders and advanced fish locaters — were what really accelerated the loss of marine life off the Nova Scotia coast from the middle of the 20th century onward. 

“The fishermen used to tell me if people stuck to handlines and trawls then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are,” Barss said.

“Handlines and trawls take only the larger fish, the bottoms are not ruined by dragnets, there’s not a lot of bycatch that has to be thrown out.

“Of course, you can’t really go back to how things were. So, I’m not really hopeful about the future, to be honest.”


1. Campaign finance

Sam Austin continues with Part 2 of his review of campaign contributions to city councillors. The biggest donor? Developers:

Developers contributed a significant $47,467 in 2012, which was almost one third of all the cash given to councillors. In shear dollar amounts, Linda Mosher received the most ($7,550), but because she raised so much money, developers actually made up a smaller percentage of her total funds (38.7%) than was the case for many of her colleagues. On a percentage basis, Bill Karsten collected the most with the $4,800 he received accounting for the vast majority (88.5%) of his funding. Five councillors, Johns, Nicoll, Craig, Watts and Mason, did not receive any money from developers, but for the other 11, developers provided, on average, 48% of their total funding.

Contributions from companies that are clearly associated with developers are easy to recognize as developer contributions, and some of the names in the contribution reports are likewise easily recognized as people who are big developers. But lots of people listed in the contribution reports are obscure, and hard to place. In past years I’ve been able to track down some of these people and found that they have connections to the industry, providing professional services and such. But nobody has the time to track down all the names, so I’m pretty sure that Austin has underestimated the contributions from developers.

2. Liberal popularity

Graham Steele discusses the provincial Liberal party’s continued high standing in the polls and concludes:

Lest the Liberals get too cocky, there are two things they should keep in mind.

First, they keep talking about tough decisions, but they haven’t really made many — perhaps any — yet. The Ivany Report was shelved, and it’s time the Liberals admitted it. Laurel Broten’s report on taxation was shelved, and isn’t coming back.

As for all the fuss and bother of essential-services legislation and health-care bargaining units, it was only table-setting for decisions yet to be made.

The other thing that should sober the Liberals is that roughly half of Nova Scotians are satisfied with the job they’re doing. That’s where the NDP was at the same point in its mandate.

3. Cranky Letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Re: “Two men sought after alleged abduction bid,” Sept. 16. My question is: In this day and age when we are afraid to allow our children to play in their own yards alone, are we allowing a boy of 10 to be at a bus stop alone at 7 a.m.? Daylight has not fully arrived and it is fortunate that nothing worse happened.

Let’s make bus stops safer for children. The bus stop should be well lit and a camera set up to monitor any child waiting there in the dark.

Please do not let your child wait alone in the dark. Times are so different now.

D. A. Burns, Halifax



No public meetings.

Snow — the city has issued its annual call to prospective snow haulers, explaining that:

The call list for snow clearing or hauling is intended for equipment that may be called in on an “as required” basis based on lowest hourly rate and availability. There is no monthly retainer attached to neither equipment, nor minimum expected hours of use. [Grammatical errors in the original.]


No public meetings.

On this date in 1839, Joseph Howe wrote four letters to the Colonial Secretary, Lord John Russell, advocating for responsible government.


The medical journal The BMJ has published a paper titled “Restoring Study 329: efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in treatment of major depression in adolescence.” The abstract:

Objectives To reanalyse SmithKline Beecham’s Study 329 (published by Keller and colleagues in 2001), the primary objective of which was to compare the efficacy and safety of paroxetine and imipramine with placebo in the treatment of adolescents with unipolar major depression. The reanalysis under the restoring invisible and abandoned trials (RIAT) initiative was done to see whether access to and reanalysis of a full dataset from a randomised controlled trial would have clinically relevant implications for evidence based medicine.

Design Double blind randomised placebo controlled trial.

Setting 12 North American academic psychiatry centres, from 20 April 1994 to 15 February 1998.

Participants 275 adolescents with major depression of at least eight weeks in duration. Exclusion criteria included a range of comorbid psychiatric and medical disorders and suicidality.

Interventions Participants were randomised to eight weeks double blind treatment with paroxetine (20-40 mg), imipramine (200-300 mg), or placebo.

Main outcome measures The prespecified primary efficacy variables were change from baseline to the end of the eight week acute treatment phase in total Hamilton depression scale (HAM-D) score and the proportion of responders (HAM-D score ≤8 or ≥50% reduction in baseline HAM-D) at acute endpoint. Prespecified secondary outcomes were changes from baseline to endpoint in depression items in K-SADS-L, clinical global impression, autonomous functioning checklist, self-perception profile, and sickness impact scale; predictors of response; and number of patients who relapse during the maintenance phase. Adverse experiences were to be compared primarily by using descriptive statistics. No coding dictionary was prespecified.

Results The efficacy of paroxetine and imipramine was not statistically or clinically significantly different from placebo for any prespecified primary or secondary efficacy outcome. HAM-D scores decreased by 10.7 (least squares mean) (95% confidence interval 9.1 to 12.3), 9.0 (7.4 to 10.5), and 9.1 (7.5 to 10.7) points, respectively, for the paroxetine, imipramine and placebo groups (P=0.20). There were clinically significant increases in harms, including suicidal ideation and behaviour and other serious adverse events in the paroxetine group and cardiovascular problems in the imipramine group.

Conclusions Neither paroxetine nor high dose imipramine showed efficacy for major depression in adolescents, and there was an increase in harms with both drugs. Access to primary data from trials has important implications for both clinical practice and research, including that published conclusions about efficacy and safety should not be read as authoritative. The reanalysis of Study 329 illustrates the necessity of making primary trial data and protocols available to increase the rigour of the evidence base.

In an accompanying editorial headlined “No correction, no retraction, no apology, no comment: paroxetine trial reanalysis raises questions about institutional responsibility,” The BMJ explains:

Few studies have sustained as much criticism as Study 329, a placebo controlled, randomized trial of paroxetine and imipramine carried out by SmithKline Beecham (which became GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2000). In 2002, a US Food and Drug Administration officer who formally reviewed the trial reported that “on balance, this trial should be considered as a failed trial, in that neither active treatment group showed superiority over placebo by a statistically significant margin.”4 Yet this same year, according to the New York State Attorney General’s office, which sued GSK, over two million prescriptions were written for children and adolescents in the United States, all off-label, after a marketing campaign that characterized Study 329 as demonstrating “REMARKABLE Efficacy and Safety.”

The disparity between what the manufacturer and study authors claim the trial found and what other parties say the data show was an important element in the US Department of Justice’s criminal charges against GSK. In 2012, GSK was fined a record $3bn (£2bn; €2.7bn), in part for fraudulently promoting paroxetine.

Then there are the matters of “editorial assistance” and undisclosed financial conflicts of interests of one of the paper’s authors. The first draft of the manuscript ultimately published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) was not written by any of the 22 named authors but by an outside medical writer hired by GSK. And the paper’s lead author—Brown University’s chief of psychiatry, Martin Keller—had been the focus of a front page investigation in the Boston Globe in 1999 that documented his under-reporting of financial ties to drug companies. Senator Charles Grassley, who led a congressional investigation and published a report on ghostwriting in the medical literature, reportedly wrote to Brown University about Keller.

It is often said that science self corrects. But for those who have been calling for a retraction of the Keller paper for many years, the system has failed. None of the paper’s 22 mostly academic university authors, nor the journal’s editors, nor the academic and professional institutions they belong to, have intervened to correct the record. The paper remains without so much as an erratum, and none of its authors—many of whom are educators and prominent members of their respective professional societies—have been disciplined. This propelled University of Adelaide child psychiatrist Jon Jureidini, who led the reanalysis team, and his colleagues into action. “The RIAT initiative offered us a chance to report Study 329 ourselves, so as to correct the record, and perhaps finally embarrass the authors, institutions and the journal into taking the actions they have so far resisted.”

The researchers involved in Study 329, and what has happened to them since, are listed here.

On campus



Disability rights (noon, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Michael Bach, who is the director of the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society, will speak on “Rethinking Legal Capacity from a Disability Rights Perspective: Pitfalls and Possibilities.”

Electrical storage (1:30pm, Chemistry Building, Room 226) — John R. Miller, President of JME, Ohio, will speak on “High-Rate Electrical Energy Storage using Vertically-Oriented Graphene.”

Entrepreneurship versus Intrapreneurship (3:30pm, Mona Campbell 1108) — Takanori Adachi and Takanori Hisada, from Nagoya University in Japan, will talk about “Entrepreneurship versus Intrapreneurship: How Do Gender and Race Matter Differently?” The drinking word is “innovation.”

Literacy and numeracy (3:30pm, Life Sciences Centre, Room 5260) — Brian Byrne, from the University of New England, will speak on “Behaviour-genetic studies of literacy and numeracy:  Zooming out and zooming in.”

Theatrical failure (3:45pm, McCain 1198) — Ron Huebert will speak on “The causes and consequences of theatrical failure: Sejanus, the Knight of the Burning Pestle, The White Devil.” Near as I can tell, these are three plays written and performed in England, around the turn of the 17th century.

Thesis defence, History (4pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Emily Burton will defend her thesis, “The Alcohol Paradox: Consumption, Regulation, and Public Houses in Three Maritime Colonies of Northeastern British America, 1749-1830.” Sounds interesting; I’d like to go to this, but I’ll be 17 drinks in by 4pm on a Friday.

Saint Mary’s

Digital locks (3:30pm, Loyola Academic 171) — smart guy Ian Kerr — he’s the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and also holds cross-appointments to the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Philosophy — will talk on “Digital Locks and the Automation of Virtue.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:45am Friday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:45am Friday. Map:

Dinkeldiep, cargo ship, Panama Canal to Pier 28
Onego Ponza, cargo ship, Aaheim, Norway to Pier 27
Argosy, bulker, Brest, France to National Gypsum

The cruise ships Summit (up to 2,450 passengers) and Caribbean Princess (up to 3,080 passengers) are in port today. The Caribbean Princess is still a ways out to sea (that’s the blue ship off Sherbrooke on the map above) and probably won’t arrive until late this afternoon.


I’m somewhat overwhelmed with the project I’ve been working on, and so am terribly behind on other things. Thanks for your patience.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. I like the design, but…

    “He explained the building’s design was inspired from a willow tree that once grew at the intersection of Quinpool Road, Robie Street and Cogswell Street”

    …I hate the bullshit.

  2. RE: Willow Tree trolling

    I don’t understand the predictable response to developments like this in this city – no homes would be affected by shadow or wind, and contrary to the people who “slammed” the development, there are benefits to the whole city from developments like these.
    The missing piece of the puzzle in my mind is not the height or scale of the development, but that in this country cities don’t have the constitutional rights to enact inclusionary zoning policies (density bonusing) with developments like this.
    Regardless of the lack of an affordable housing component (because of the inadequacies of our city’s charter and inaction by the province on the file), concatenating the property taxes a development like this will produce (~$1 Million a year) to 1/4 of a city block helps Halifax to pay to maintain the unpaid-forward infrastructure sprawling out all around us. Which the Stantec report pegged at Billions of dollars over the next few decades.
    Without density in our core, how do we ever hope to get a handle on our problem with runaway suburban development and auto-centric culture? Should this be built in Clayton Park or Bedford West instead so we can have another 1,000 people driving into the core every morning? So we have to build new water and sewer mains, new sidewalks, new streets and new transit lines to service it?
    These opponents may mean well but it seems their knee jerk reactions are really uneducated ones – contrarians without merit.
    Are these vocally oppositional residents special? Do they have the right to effectively raise the taxes for the rest of the city because they have a quasi rural fantasy they identify with while living next to one of the busiest intersections in the city?
    I’m not a growth at all costs kind of guy, but this is Halifax’s gold Coast, and like central Park, the land costs at this location are naturally higher because of location and demand. Sure, they could propose a 4 story development, with each unit costing $1 million to make it somewhat profitable, but does that alternative make sense?

    1. I would be interesting in knowing how much of these new city core developments and/or in general in Halifax are bought and then rented. The taxes would be collected at the municipal level only to be written off as expenses on provincial and federal tax returns. Are we really better off? It would be interesting to know the numbers. And compare them with the suburban and rural numbers too.

      1. Good question and a valid concern. When was the last rental building constructed in the city core? 10 years ago, 30 years ago? Most buildings such as this meet the usual fate prescribed to anything taller than a church steeple around these parts.

        Unless they are 4 or 5 stories tall and wholly unaffordable to anyone except the relatively rich, and in that case, the local homeowners don’t get so riled up considering it is just more “Old stock Canadians” moving in next door.

        The end result of the Conflagration over building heights is expensive rents and exclusionary housing (whether by ethnicity or by income, or both).

        There is a loud, large, delusional anti developer community in Halifax, mostly white and all upper middle class. If it was anywhere else other than Nova Scotia it would probably merit a pause from these individuals about what their prominent constant NIMBY positioning means for anyone younger, older, less well off or less white.

        Regardless of the taxes though, and considering the absolute dearth of rentals in this city, perhaps the only affordable housing strategy we will ever see is if the generosity of those able to claim their taxes as a business expense decide to pass on the savings to their tenants.

  3. “This study uses the 1970s as kind of a baseline and a lot of people who looked at that might think, ‘Hey, everything was okay in the 1970s’. But it wasn’t,” said Barss.

    A good examination of this phenomenon, of forgetting real baselines and focusing on memories that are encompassed within a human lifespan, can be found in the book “The Once and Future World” by J.B. MacKinnon. The author manages to find some positive notes to end on, though I don’t know if I have enough faith in our stupid, greedy species to think we will heed this.

  4. Re: Cranky Letter. Indeed, “times are so different now” – they are safer! It’s our perception that’s changed. Our social media feeds are plastered with tragic news like the alleged murder of a man and his toddler (by someone known to the family) and our reaction is to become ever more fearful. As a result, we call the police anytime a stranger talks to our kids (last year in the West End of Halifax) and effectively restrict our children’s freedom – they can’t be without adult supervision so no running around or riding bikes through the neighbourhood, no playing beyond eyesight or earshot, etc.

    We wonder why we have a hard time getting the kids to disconnect from TVs and video consoles? Because deep down, we feel that they’re safer there and prefer to see them sitting on the couch (“safe”) than having them a couple of blocks away climbing a tree or whatever. God forbid a stranger would check in with this kid to make sure that she has solid footing on that thin branch.

    [End of my own cranky letter.]

  5. I know it’s a petty grammatical issue (and in the source document), but when I read something like “in shear dollar amounts” it makes my teeth great.

  6. I wasn’t sure where McCully street was so when I looked it up where it was I remembered there was a unsolved murder (from 1994) on the North street side of that city block.

  7. “On this date in 1839, Joseph Howe wrote four letters to the Colonial Secretary, Lord John Russell, advocating for responsible government.”

    176 years later we’re still waiting for a response.