1. Bill 60

The Liberals have reversed course on Bill 60, which would have prohibited the smoking of e-cigarettes and juices in public spaces. Depending on your perspective, this is either a sensible response to people who say e-cigarettes are helping them kick the habit and hookah lounge owners saying the ban is an attack on a cultural tradition, or the Liberals caving to Big Tobacco.

2. Pawn’d

The RCMP raided the Cash Traders Pawn Shop yesterday and arrested Ghasson Najib Jason EL Chater on a variety of stolen property charges. The CBC says:

Back in May of 2011, Chater told CBC News selling stolen merchandise is just the way he does business.

“I mean sometimes we know it’s stolen and that the person stole the item but we have no choice,” he said. “You have to take it or you’re going to have some kinda damage in your store and maybe they break the window or something like that. Sometimes you have no choice.”

3. Needle

Another Cole Harbour resident says she got trick or treat candy with a pin in it. I remain skeptical that these reports will reveal real candy tampering, but am open to be proven wrong. If they are real, the police should taken them seriously and put the resources into an investigation; real tampering from among at best a couple of dozen potential houses should be an immensely solvable crime. My guess, however, is that these reports won’t be followed up on and they’ll just add to the “be afraid of everything” mindset.


1. Working women

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

“When you start noticing,  there are quite a few images of woman in our parks and on our buildings,” writes Stephen Archibald. “Many of them are working women, pouring water, holding up buildings or picking apples.  I’m really not qualified to unpack all the messages in these representations but I’m confident they tell us something about the times in which they were created and the how the place of women in society was viewed.”

Go look at them now.

2. Bill 60

Jordi Morgan says Bill 60, which will outlaw the smoking of e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco in public spaces, is “utter foolishness.”



Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee (10am, City Hall)—Sigh.

Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (4pm, Office and Maintenance Building
Point Pleasant Park)—Agenda here.


Human Resources (10am, Room 233A, Johnston Building)—Appointments to Agencies, Boards and Commissions.

On campus



I2A: Formulating (big) Data Science Innovations for All (Thursday, 11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building)—Una-May O’Reilly, from MIT, explains her talk like this:

In the spirit of B2B and B2C transactions the ALFA* group at MIT CSAIL ** is formulating I2A: Innovators to All. A (big) data science group, with foundations in scalable machine learning and evolutionary algorithms, we work on extracting insights from data in domains of social relevance. I will describe the range of our machine learning platforms including Delphi, a multi-parameter, multi-algorithm SaaS and one of our projects related to medical research (BeatDB). Time permitting, I will describe our mission to seed community-based MOOC analytics by developing a global data standard and MOOC-customizations that engage the crowd for its help.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Seminar (Thursday, 4pm, Theatre D, CRC Building)—James Fawcett, from the Departments of Pharmacology & Surgery, will talk on “Polarity Proteins: Neuronal Development and Cancer.”

Architecture (Thursday, 6:30pm, Auditorium, Medjuck Architecture Building)—Pedro Gadanho, the Curator of Contemporary Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, will talk on “Displacing the Architect.”

Child performers (Thursday, 7pm, Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building)—Marlis Schweitzer, from the University of York, will talk on “Precious Objects: The Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century Child Performers.”

The LA City Project (Thursday, 7p, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building)—Robert Garcia will talk. He is a civil rights lawyer and founder of The City Project, which focuses on accessibility for public spaces.

Planetarium show (Thursday, 7:15pm, Room 120, Dunn Building)—”Andromeda and the Autumn Sky” by Pat Kelly. Five bucks at the door.

Air Pollution, Acid Rain and Climate Change (Thursday, 8pm, Marion McCain Building, Scotiabank Auditorium)—Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, from the Department of Chemistry, will talk.


Mysteries of Particles in Air (1:30pm, Chemistry Room 226)—Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, from the University of California-Irvine, will talk on “Mysteries of Particles in Air: Research Challenges and Why We Should Care.” Frustratingly, the Dal notice for this talk doesn’t tell us what the heck this is about, but the google reveals that she studies the “chemical and physical processes which play key roles in the natural and polluted atmosphere, from urban to remote areas and from the lower to the upper atmosphere. Understanding these processes requires field measurements, the development, testing and application of models, and laboratory studies of kinetics and mechanisms. Research in our laboratory is directed primarily to elucidating the fundamental kinetics, mechanisms and photochemistry of relevant gaseous reactions as well as heterogeneous processes at the surfaces of, and in, particles.”

King’s College


Indian Logic as Semiotics (7pm, KTS Lecture Hall, Academic Building)—Sundar Sarukkai, from Manipal University, India, “will discuss how Indian logic can primarily be viewed through the language of semiotics. Buddhist logic and later logical traditions in India analysed inference in terms of valid ways of inferring the signified from the signifier. He will also describe other unique conceptual categories that are part of Indian logic and discuss the possibility of an alternate rationality based on these ideas.”

 Saint Mary’s


The Political Economy of International Relations, Globalization and Development (noon, McNally Main 22)—Walden Bello, the Director of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South and a sitting member of the Philippines Congress, and a visiting prof at Saint Mary’s, is talking.


The memorial for William Lee.
The memorial for William Lee.

I went out to Portland Estates yesterday to view the site of the latest pedestrian fatality. William Lee was struck by a car Friday afternoon while crossing the street at the intersection of Portland Estates Boulevard and Portland Hills Drive. He died Monday night in hospital. Three days of pain.

There was a crossing guard at the intersection yesterday, as there’s a school nearby. The guard told me that she knew Lee, and he walked through the intersection regularly—there’s a pedestrian trail that runs along Morris Lake , through the intersection and by a small creek that runs to Portland Street. Lee, said the crossing guard, was healthy and alert. “I didn’t know he was a veteran.” A bouquet of flowers, adorned with poppies, was left at the trail.

The crossing guard said there was another pedestrian, a woman, struck at the same intersection last spring. “It was bad. They don’t know if she’ll walk again.”


In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 5am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 5am Thursday. Map:

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)

Onyx Ace, vehicle carrier, Rhode Island to Autoport
Zim Virginia, container ship, New York to TBD


I’m travelling today and so Morning File is a bit early and the news section a bit slim.

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

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  1. I’m one of those “vapers” –and after smoking for almost 20 years, trying patches, gums, champix (I almost jumped off the bridge with that stuff, which certainly would’ve stopped me from smoking…)

    I’m happy to find something that nets me nicotine with the least physical cost, while also preventing any craving for the “real” thing. I tried a cigarette recently, had a few puffs… Yak! I had the worst head rush. Obviously the amount of nicotine I am getting from my e-cig is a lot less than from the old coffin nail. And that makes sense – I’ve gone from 24mg down to 10mg in the time I’ve been vaping. I’m making a conscious effort to wean myself down.

    I sincerely hope the government wakes up to the fact we live in an information age, and we the people won’t let government run roughshod over us when it comes to science, and facts.

    Dr. Strang has lots of friends in the tobacco control (i.e. nicotine nazi) community, a community that is funded wholly through taxes on tobacco. What happens when no one is smoking tobacco anymore? The funding for these cancer and lung societies, and many others, will dry up promptly. Enter in the argument about saving the children, and any other logical fallacies they can throw at the wall, and hope will stick. e-cigs are a gateway drug now? F***!

    I have a 13 year old son – the issue of children taking up what I consider to be my biggest mistake, hurts me deeply. I’ve had many open and frank discussions with my son as to why I started smoking in the first place (I wanted to belong – to be cool – and it was all a lie that my 13 year old self didn’t realize at the time. I didn’t have the forward looking knowledge to know where I’d be in the future – what kid does?)

    So I keep the discussion going with him – active parenting and ensuring kids have the self-esteem to know they don’t have to pick up any habits to make friends – is the only way to keep kids from smoking. And you know what – no matter what, some kids will take up smoking. Rebellion is a thing. I just hope the government doesn’t take away e-cigs from those people as an option, when they realize smoking is not their friend.

  2. Pedestrian Crossings – Low cost solution: First vehicle in ALL lanes coming to crosswalk should put on 4way flashers until all vehicles stop or crosswalk is clear;

    If no 4way flashers seen by the pedestrian, then the pedestrian should not step into each road lane unless vehicles in that lane are actually seen to be stopping.

    4way flashers are already recognized as an indication that there may be a pending hazardous situation on the road ahead… a pedestrian in the roadway can be considered a hazard if not treated appropriately (a small change to the drivers handbook would be required; this could be a recommended practice, not necessarily required by law).

    The use of a driver’s 4 way flashers is no different in intent than that of what a school bus driver does when he/she stops for children to embark and disembark, right?

    I do this all the time, it has become second nature for me when driving and pedestrians often indicate they appreciate my use of my 4 way flashers.

    There is a requirement for ALL drivers, bike riders and pedestrians to make a concerted effort to be very aware of safety implications when they are active on or near our roadways. Pedestrians cannot see drivers eyes at night; and often due to dark clothing, pedestrians are hard to be seen by drivers at night and even worse when its raining.

  3. Here is a message to all Pawn \shop owners: “Sometimes you have no choice.”, is a lie, you can have a working camera to monitor who pawns something at your store, and you can call the Tip Hotline and make yourself a couple of bucks turning in a suspected thief. That is one choice you can make. To do nothing but accept the stolen goods makes you complicit in the theft.

    1. Its bullshit, but I’m not surprised they feel that way. Its the HRP’s standard response in shitty neighbourhoods.

      I had a bike stolen, found it and the guy who stole it and they refused to charge him.

      Told me the kid would just smash my windows if they did. Sound familiar?

  4. As I read the e-cigarette story, the Grits have only removed the flavoured ingredients ban from their bill. The rest of it, the ban on public use, sales restrictions, etc. remain. The ban on flavoured ingredients seemed to me the most minor part of the bill, but, as you would expect, the Tories see this as the end of the world as we know it.

  5. I am so tired of the pathetic and unnecessarily complicated response to the carnage in our crosswalks: Reflective arm bands for pedestrians? Re-engineering intersections? Zebra markings in cross walks? Crosswalk committee? Educating pedestrians… Seriously?
    There has to be at least one functioning brain at City Hall. Sure pedestrians should be careful, but how about educating drivers? A couple of years ago, there was a problem of drivers speeding down the hill toward the plaza on the Dartmouth side of the McKay Bridge. So, the commissionaires pulled out the radar guns and started enforcing the speed limit. They did this on an intermittent basis for a couple of weeks and surprise, traffic slowed down to the 50km limit. Two years later drivers still slow down.
    As a pedestrian, I have had many interactions with drivers who have not granted me the right-of-way – which is a legal requirement. From these incidents and by merely observing drivers approaching stop signs and red lights, I have concluded that many drivers don’t even know that the law requires them to come to a complete stop before turning right at one of these intersections. From reading about many of cross walk incidents, it appears much of the death and injury is the result of drivers making right turns. By spending just a few minutes at an intersection, it is easy to see that many drivers look left (for oncoming vehicles) and turn right without even slowing down, let alone stopping as the law requires.
    Now, before the brain trust at City Hall launches an expensive ad campaign to educate drivers, can we please just ask the police – no tell the police – to take a lesson from the Bridge Commission and enforce the damn law and ticket drivers before they kill another pedestrian – not after they kill one.

    1. There seems to have been a rash of pedestrian fatalities in the past week, yet no one is looking to the available science – in regards to daylight savings changes.

      There is a some good research that provides a solid link between losing (or gaining) an hour of sunlight over a day, and the effect that has on the driver, and the pedestrian. It’s a lot more complicated than the “damn pedestrians with their head down looking at their cell phone while running through red lights” narrative which seems to rule the day here in small-minded Nova Scotia.

      We are so owned by car culture, it is frightening. I, as a pedestrian, may take up carrying a brick with me at all times. Because I know those in their cars care about their windshields, at least.

      1. Well, as a driver and a pedestrian I’m scared to walk outside half the time.

        Both sides have idiots. Both sides are going to kill people

        The worst thing is, it doesn’t matter whos at fault the pedestrians getting hurt

        Evert day I try to cross oxford at an intersection and have to wait for a break in traffic.

        And every day some idiot runs our from between parked cars at night.

        And every day someone e nearly sideswipes me by not shoulder checking or signalling.

        Maybe HRP can spend more time watching drivers instead of radar guns. Just a thought.

      2. I can’t help but feel that the daylight savings time changes may be a red herring. I understand that data show that more vehicular accidents occur on the days immediately following the time changes, but that is a small fraction of the entire number of incidents. I may be biased because I have never understood why the time changes upset people. (Though I am a night owl, not a morning person, and I tend to not really notice. It gets darker in winter, just like it gets colder, that’s all.)

        However the ongoing murder of pedestrians by cars is beyond unacceptable and I agree that police need to get tougher. Why not charge people with something like vehicular manslaughter, not the offensively low fines that accompany the rare traffic tickets issued when this happens.

        1. Is there any “time-of-day” data on pedestrian-car accidents? Do more drivers miss seeing pedestrians at dusk or when the sun is low in the sky and in drivers’ eyes? Pedestrians need to be aware of this possibility. A couple of weeks ago I stood at a Crosswalk on Chebucto at dusk where traffic comes out of the Roundabout. Several drivers ignored me although I had my arm out and although I caught their eye. Had there been a police officer monitoring with a camera from the bus shelter there, had the offending drivers been given BIG fines, and had the media covered this, I expect drivers would become more careful there in future.

          1. Did that crosswalk on Chebucto have a button for you to push so that big brought lights start flashing? If it didn’t, it should.

            I live near a crosswalk on Lady Hammond at Memorial Drive that has no lights. I am afraid that someone will be struck there … I can’t believe it doesn’t happen regularly. People drive too fast in both directions on Lady Hammond. Outbound (downhill) a driver’s eyeline is looking toward the traffic lights further down the hill and the crosswalk is hard to see unless you are familiar with it. Inbound / uphill, people are driving too fast and skirting around people turning left onto Memorial. More crosswalks need lights, especially on busy thoroughfares like this and Chebucto.

    2. Why must we re-invent the wheel at every turn. Could City Hall take a look at other cities of a similar size which don’t have so many pedestrian/ car accidents? It would be interesting to see how these cities set up the pedestrian crossings

      I lived in the UK for many years. The pedestrian crosswalks there are on zebra crossings anchored on either side of the street by a large white flashing globe which was just above car roof level.. Seen by all who were near to the pedestrian crossing. Why do we have flashing amber lights that are so high in the air they are best viewed from a distance? I’ve often wondered about that.

      1. I’ve wondered that too.
        Why can’t the lights be on the sides as well? And a different color?
        Yellow means proceed with caution and most people do not seems to do this even in an intersection. Most of the time it means drive faster to get through the intersection before the light turns red.

        I have started waving to pedestrians when I stop whether on roads or in parking lots, etc.
        I find it helps.

        1. There is no overhead pedestrian crosswalk sign on the crosswalk coming out of the Roundabout up Chebucto. That would help. Or, how about a lower light on the side of the road near the pedestrian crosswalk sign that comes on with the street lights? It would provide a pool of light in which the pedestrian could stand to be more visible. Better still if it flashed! Not a rocket science solution for pedestrian crosswalks where there are problems at night. Encouraging complaints in order to pin-point difficult ones would be good. For the one on Chebucto near the Roundabout, someone should probably also check out if there is a design problem related to the Roundabout.