In the harbour


1. Liberals reverse course

Stephen McNeil
Stephen McNeil

“The Liberals will pay back the money used to send out a controversial mailout to areas where byelections will soon be called,” reports the CBC. “Premier Stephen McNeil said his party — not the taxpayer — will cover the $7,000 cost of sending 33,000 political pamphlets to homes in the vacant riding areas of Dartmouth, Sydney and industrial Cape Breton.”

McNeil then opened his mouth and inserted his foot:

“The reason the three of them [ridings] would have been identified [is because] they were vacant. There will be a byelection set,” McNeil said. “We wanted to get out the positive message from government.”                            

Byelections are expected to be held soon in the ridings of Dartmouth South, Cape Breton Centre and Sydney-Whitney Pier.

“Those three ridings will be going to the polls at some time in the next year and we wanted to get in there and make sure we put our message first,” McNeil said. 

Is McNeil really incapable of understanding the difference between government and party? I guess Stephen Harper has so blurred the lines that even smart people in Nova Scotia can’t see the distinction.

2. World-class gnarlyism


Dartmouth skateboarders are arguing over what constitutes a “world-class” skateboard park, reports Metro:

The park plan includes two bowls that will be dug into the ground at the old Park School site at the Dartmouth Commons, one for beginners and the other for professionals. It also includes a transitional section to connect the two bowls.

An additional plan for a “street style” park was considered, but ultimately left out because of debris on site. Coalition member Andy Sawler said that would cost $90,000 to clean up, which means less money for building the park.

“We would rather have one world-class section, than many mediocre parts,” Sawler said at the Dartmouth Sportsplex gathering.

But some skaters believe the park’s not living up to its “world-class” name.

No offence to Dartmouth or skateboarders generally, but bandying about “world class” will make you the target of ridicule. Nobody in the rest of the world cares about your skateboard park; no matter what you build, it’ll just be Dartmouth-class. And really, there’s nothing wrong with that.

3. Atheist

Garry Smith, a retired RCMP cop and jail guard and a former Glace Bay town councillor, has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over CBRM mayor Cecil Clarke’s inclusion of a prayer at council meetings.

“If I wanted to hear a prayer, I’d go to a church downtown, or some place where I wanted to hear a prayer,” Smith told the Chronicle Herald. “When I go to municipal meetings, or any state function, I don’t expect to hear, ‘God, forgive me for what I’m about to do,’ all that sort of stuff.”

4. Bubble

The Coast manages to publish a 2,000-word article on Halifax’s condo boom without using the word “bubble.”

5. Daniel Tosh

Comedian Daniel Tosh is scheduled to perform at the Rebecca Cohn theatre. Tosh is known for incorporating rape jokes into his routine, and for an alleged incident in which he responded to a heckler with “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”

“Dalhousie really should have made a quick Google search and had they done that on the first page they would have discovered 40 per cent of the results were rape related, and that should have raised alarm bells at the university,” Halifax comedian Marc Sauvé told CTV.

“I don’t know what Dal is doing bringing Daniel Tosh,” said Glen Matthews, a passerby. “It is a marriage made in bad PR.” Which is undoubtedly true.

People say a lot of stupid things about free speech and comedy. Lindy West says some smart things about How to Make a Rape Joke.


1. Quiet

The commentariat is unusually quiet today, and the letters to the editors all suck.



Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 8.13.16 AM

Transportation Standing Committee (1pm, City Hall)—the committee is discussing the possibility of a new road along the power line between the end of Larry Uteck Drive (what used to be called Kearney Lake Road) and Lucasville Road. It’s unlikely any such road will be built any time soon, however, because “constructing a standard 2.3 km-long two-lane rural collector roadway within the right-of-way would cost in the range of $2.5 million to $4 million for just the roadway costs,” reads the staff report. A still bigger issue is that the corridor provides the water supply for the entire urban area west of the harbour:

Halifax Water has reviewed this proposal and reports that the existing water transmission main is a 54” diameter prestressed concrete cylinder pipe installed in 1975. Along this section it is a single non-redundant line that supplies all of the potable water for the West and Central serviced area of HRM. This type of pipe is very sensitive to rock blasting and rock removal activities. The construction of a collector road over this alignment would cause significant impacts to the waterline. The needed vertical geometry and roadway cross-section would require significant rock breaking and cut/fill activity that would potentially impact the water main or require renewal in conjunction with the road. Halifax Water has confirmed that any current or future renewal of this main would require the installation of a twin main or temporary main to maintain existing service. All packaged this would be an expensive consideration and a significantly increased risk position for Halifax Water. Construction of the roadway could be integrated with a project to undertake a major rehabilitation or to replace the existing watermain, but Halifax Water does not currently have this identified in their planning nor is funding identified to support such a project.


No public meetings.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Thursday. Map:

The cruise ship Veendam pulls into Pier 22 this morning.

The Veendam was involved in a remarkable rescue at sea earlier this year:

A Holland America Line cruise ship came to the rescue, reports KCRA, after a pilot in a small, single-engine airplane on a 2,400 mile trip to Maui, Hawaii ran out of gas fuel over the Pacific Ocean and was forced to ditch his plane. 

The news station says that the plane ran out of fuel about 250 miles northeast of Maui yesterday afternoon.

The U.S. Coast Guard launched an Hercules 130 aircraft and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Oahu, and alerted the HAL Veendam to the scene.

The Veendam is expected to reach Lahaina, Maui today. 

The Star Advertiser reported that the rescue took place amidst 9- to 12-foot seas and 25 to 28 mph winds.

Also, it looks like New Glasgow has picked up a bit of cruise business this year. The map shows the Pearl Mist arriving this morning, just as the ferry to PEI is leaving.


It’s too soon for us to be in the slow summer news cycle, but evidently we are.

Honest, that article I’ve been promising for a couple of days will be published today.

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

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  1. Larry Uteck Drive is the epitome of urban sprawl. How much had this area really cost us? The exchange? The new proposed high school? Roads, etc etc. The developer who owned this property really got a great deal. Made tonnes of money with the taxpayer left holding the bills. If the costs of all the infrastructure was factored into the developers costs, they never would have developed the area. Perhaps they should be doing this instead.

    As to the other subject, Sean tirade against feminism appears to cause problems to his reading comprehension abilities.

  2. OK, I’m gonna close comments. We’re going down the circular hole….

  3. So, she says something that you don’t like. You think she should be censored from speaking her mind then?. It’s true that some people get offended because they want to be offended. But how do you know what it is in every case? Since when are you the keeper of the truth in such matters? You believe she’s choosing to be offended. My husband and I believe the joke was off-colour, low-brow, and truly idiotic. I’m definitely offended by it and certainly not by choice. But, hey, I guess she could have just said that he deserves to be gang-raped by a dozen greasy old Herpes-ridden, puss-filled, penises. That should definitely happen to him because–that is totally funny, right? Oh, ha, ha! Of course, I’m joking, but it really IS funny. I swear! Oh, please believe that I am funny. Please! I try so hard!

    Or, better yet, since you seem so keen on the rape thing–maybe you’d like to be raped a couple of times. How about by a horse? Let’s throw in some good old bestiality into the mix because it’s even funnier, right? I can just picture it now–you getting raped by a couple of horses. That is soooo funny! Trust me. I’m betting a lot of people are laughing right now–and it’s certainly not alcohol-induced. They’re right now–picturing this–happening to you–and you’re totally defenseless–and the horse is just laughing and laughing and laughing. He thinks you’re a worthless piece of crap right now and that you deserve this. But it’s so totally funny. Because people being raped is really, really funny–especially when it happens to you.

    I’m not expecting this to make it past the commenting policy because it probably truly deserves to be censored. But Sean doesn’t believe in that sort of thing, does he–especially when it’s supposed to be funny?

  4. All i know about feminism, free speech and misogny is that A group called Boko Aram in Nigeria is abducting young girls, abusing them, raping them and sending them in as suicide bombers as we write, because they can and because they are female. The world is a global village and everything is connected.

  5. The point of her article is that the good comedians make fun of the system that perpetuates these kinds of atrocities, which they, in fact, are. They make fun of the people who are committing these horrible acts: they don’t make fun of the actual VICTIMS themselves. They bring to light what is exactly wrong with these kinds of beliefs and the harm that they can bring to others—through comedy.
    I don’t recall reading anywhere where she stated that they should be criminally convicted for saying something. In fact, she does not believe that all rape jokes are wrong:

    she says:
    At this point, the conversation has devolved into two polarized camps: outraged feminists arguing that “rape jokes are never funny,” and defensive comics wailing about how the “thought police” is “silencing” them. (The owner of the Laugh Factory disputes the account, explaining that Tosh made a rape “comment” and not a rape “joke,” but that’s pretty much irrelevant to the larger point here.) Here’s the problem: everybody is wrong. I actually agree with Daniel Tosh’s sentiment in his shitty back-pedaling tweet (“The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them #deadbabies”). The world is full of terrible things, including rape, and it is okay to joke about them. But the best comics use their art to call bullshit on those terrible parts of life and make them better, not worse. The key—unless you want to be called a garbage-flavored dick on the internet by me and other humans with souls and brains—is to be a responsible person when you construct your jokes. Since the nuances of personal responsibility seem to escape so many people, let’s go through it. Let’s figure out rape jokes.

    She goes onto say that if you’re going to stand up there with a purpose to entertain, then you’ve opened yourself up to criticism. Don’t be surprised or dismayed if people don’t actually find what you say very funny. It’s as though he was personally insulted because she didn’t like his joke. Because she heckled him, she deserved to be gang raped. Well, people didn’t find that comment funny, either.

    She says:
    If people don’t want to be offended, they shouldn’t go to comedy clubs? Maybe. But if you don’t want people to react to your jokes, you shouldn’t get on stage and tell your jokes to people.

    Think about this: If, during my act, I walked around in black face, eating watermelon, spouting, “You show is purty, Miss Scarlett”, the purpose of my joke is to make fun of a time when this kind of portrayal was actually considered acceptable. And it was considered acceptable because people viewed blacks as lesser human beings—as do many today, just as many men are also misogynistic. Neither is acceptable human behavior. But what if someone said it’s never funny to dress in black face? While I would disagree, because that person has obviously misunderstood my point, should I go onto say he now deserves to be ripped apart from his family, whipped, chained, and forced into slavery? Better yet, that we should tie him to a cross and light him on fire? Of course, I KNOW better than to walk around in black face and do that sketch in the first place. I could never pull it off, so why even go there?

    I could have more to say about the dentistry scandal, but I’m out of time, and I’m sure someone could do a much better job of articulating it than I, anyway.

    1. “She goes onto say that if you’re going to stand up there with a purpose to entertain, then you’ve opened yourself up to criticism. Don’t be surprised or dismayed if people don’t actually find what you say very funny. It’s as though he was personally insulted because she didn’t like his joke. Because she heckled him, she deserved to be gang raped. Well, people didn’t find that comment funny, either.”

      This is just wrong. He is open to criticism, but censorship seems overboard. People did find it funny, people laughed. The heckler was embarrassed and left the room because so many people laughed. The reason people laughed is because it was obvious that he wasn’t serious. That is comedy, absurd statements, etc. No sane person thought he was actually calling for her to be raped. If people think this then I believe they are actively looking for things to be upset about. Many people thought this was funny. I assume comedians know funny better than a jaded Jezebel writer and her heckling blogger friend. But they aren’t laughing, so we don’t get to laugh either.

      This is why these articles scream BS. She was upset, and looks for facts to support her emotion. The truth of what happened (a lot of people laughed) will change to fit her feelings of outrage.

    2. This comment just blows my mind. This is the crux of the “rape culture” religion. Please provide actual proof of how they are connected. Actually, provide a single example in the entire world where a man heard a joke and then used that as permission to be violent.

      Violent people are violent, they don’t become that way because they heard a joke.

      You might THINK they are related, or FEEL they are related. Can you PROVE they are related?
      Please do so and I will cross over, but pretty much every example I have ever seen of “rape culture” involves a bunch of people whining about things that don’t seem to have anything to do with rape.

      I think real rape victims are being abused by quasi-feminists, because the ACTUAL TRAUMA they experienced is trivialized by this movement. They use rape because it is a strong word and they can bully people into accepting their nonsense. In reality they want a world where their own personal hangups about sexuality are forced upon us against our will, ironically. Comedians trivialize everything, but at least they aren’t hypocrites.

  6. Sean Ryan,

    I’m rather tired, and not especially up for battling idiots on the internet.

    I think I will settle for name calling in place of actually taking any of your bullshit seriously.

    That is all.


    1. No need to battle dude, just pick a point and tell me if I am wrong. I’d like to think I could change my mind if you were persuasive. If us idiots are to be helped, we need to be engaged.

    1. As much as internet comment sections make me weep for the future of humanity, I do appreciate how they’ve taken much of the guesswork out of deciphering peoples’ ideology. As the saying goes, “when somebody tells you who they are, believe them”. 🙂

  7. “Lindy West says some smart things about How to Make a Rape Joke.”

    Wrong. She didn’t say anything smart, you just knee jerked it because it is your cause-du-jour. Read again and see that she doesn’t hold Tosh to the standard that she herself creates.

    This is my beef with you Tim, and all of the other self crowned PC though police out there. You do not get the sole dominion over what is considered funny and what is not. You do not get to decide what is acceptable free speech and what is not. Just because you can rally a bunch of hysterics to your cause doesn’t really give you license to decide anything. Just because your feelings are hurt doesn’t mean that free speech stops at what makes you feel icky.

    The entire premise of the linked article is “DO NOT MAKE RAPE VICTIMS THE BUTT OF THE JOKE.”
    The article then goes on to bash Daniel Tosh despite the fact that his heckler HAD NOT BEEN RAPED, AND WAS NOT ACTIVELY BEING RAPED. The entire article bashes a guy based on a standard that he was in fact living up to. Using the article’s own standard of acceptability, that joke was fine. He was making fun of her assumption that rape can never be funny, then made a joke about it and GOT LAUGHS. Had the woman actually been raped then it would not have been funny: difference demonstrated.

    I love how ruining people’s careers and reputations is considered fashionable. We manufacture outrage based on media misled click-bait bullshit, then masquerade ourselves as social justice warriors so that we don’t need to admit to ourselves what we really are. Seems McCarthyism was evil, but now that the noble cause is a vagina, then McCarthyism is just fine. I gag at the self congratulatory frauds, who tellingly need to defend their attempts at bringing down others by saying “You have freedom of speech but not freedom from consequences.” These same people are the first ones to shout down others and then claim that they are the wronged party, wronged by others having their own free speech.

    If you believe you should have free speech but not freedom from consequence, then you should smile next time someone fires you for requesting the same pay as a man. “I had freedom to speak my mind and say I thought I deserved the same pay as a man, and I respect my manager’s right to fire my ass for exercising free speech. After all, I have free speech but not freedom from consequence.”

    Feminism is arguing for convenience, not equality. Any equality that is inconvenient, they would like an exception from. If they had true equality, then they would invent inequality as they derive value from being victims. Feminism is passive-aggressive behavior personified in a social movement.

    Tim, you seem so eager to be a contradictory voice to the popular assumptions of the day when it comes to capitalism and local politics, but you seem to rubber stamp the same non-critical thinking when it comes to feminism or “progressive” politics. This wave of “anti-sexism” is regressive as it gets. It is a shame you seem to support it.

    1. I’m trying out a thought experiment here:

      He was making fun of the assumption that concentration camps can never be funny, then made a joke about how funny it would be if that audience member had been starved and tortured in a concentration camp, and GOT LAUGHS. Had the woman or her family members actually been starved, tortured or murdered in concentration camps, then it would not have been funny: difference demonstrated.

      Yeah I still don’t get how violent and vicious treatment of other human beings is funny to anyone.

      1. That is the point: you don’t need to get it.

        Just because you don’t get it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said. Thousands of people in that room laughed. You do not to go see him if you don’t find him funny. I do not understand why he shouldn’t be allowed to do a show in Halifax because some people don’t like what he says.

        She said rape was never funny. Thousands of people laughed at it a few seconds later, and the world still turns.

        For the record, I do not find holocaust jokes funny at all because my grandfather died in Auschwitz … fell out the guard tower.

      1. I read it again. You might be right, but I am not really sure what her main point is other than having a beef with the whole situation. She is basically saying that you cannot joke about something if it really happened, but as far as I can tell, the whole point was that he threw the hecklers own comment in her face to prove a point. I definitely might be missing a nuance.

        I am not trying to deliberately piss people off here, its just that these articles drive me nuts. If a group wants to censor the free speech of others, they damn well should be able to prove why it is necessary. Saying “it promotes a culture” or other wishy-washy things simply isn’t good enough. Give me reasons and numbers and facts. Hurt feelings aren’t enough. When I try to engage, I am called names, like below. Makes it hard to take people seriously if they cannot debate.

        Look at the Dal dental scandal. A group of men exercise their own free speech in a private setting. This info is leaked and subsequent firestorm ensues. They did not say these things publicly, but for having their OWN THOUGHTS they get dragged through the mud.

        That is the passive-aggressive thing that upsets me. People actively dig and look for things to be upset about, then won’t even take ownership of their own moral outrage that they purposely sought out. It is not the dentistry student’s fault that their comments upset people, everyone is responsible for their own reactions. If you have hurt feelings over rape comments, that is perfectly fine, but those feelings are still on you. Threats, of course, are and should stay illegal. Everything else is fair game. Don’t get the censorship though.

  8. In what way is Dalhousie “bringing in” Tosh? It’s not a Dal event, a promoter rented the Cohn. I’m not sure I like the idea that Dal should determine which artists get to rent out the Cohn.

    1. Kearney Lake Road still exists, but part of what used to be Kearney Lake Road is now part of Larry Uteck Drive.

  9. The word ‘non-redundant’ in that article on the collector road versus water main story is rather troubling.