On campus
In the harbour


1. Discrimination in the fire department

“Two former Halifax firefighters say they were targeted after they complained about harassment and inappropriate behaviour on the job,” reports Stephanie vanKampen for the CBC:

Paul Service served as a volunteer firefighter for five years in Harrietsfield. But shortly after he began training in 2008, he noticed what he calls disturbing behaviour. 

“A generalized behaviour of demeaning female firefighters, that their skills weren’t on par,” says Service. 


He says he and three other firefighters met with the station chief to raise their concerns about sexism. Service says they were told not to continue with the complaint. 

“It was normalized and it was accepted, and God forbid if you said anything outside of the station,” says Service. 

“The fear is real. The thought is real there — if you do formalize this complaint, you’re gonna be done.” 

Service says he was criticized by the station chief for bringing up his concerns. Service felt his complaint was being mishandled, and raised the issue with fire department headquarters immediately after meeting with the station chief. 

Service was subsequently terminated as a volunteer in a meeting with the station chief. He says he was not given a reason for his termination but eventually was told it was due to a “breach of command.”

Today’s article follows up on an article vanKempen wrote yesterday, highlighting Kathy Symington’s experience in the department.

As I reported in 2009, the fire department saw repeated incidents of racism against black firefighters. Soon after I wrote that article, I interviewed Liane Tessier about her experiences in the department; Tessier has battled the department for nine years and has recently successfully gotten the human rights commission to investigate.

My sense is that the fire department has come a long way since 2008 — the old boys that constituted department management have been replaced, and there’s at least rhetoric around inclusion and diversity, albeit I don’t know what it’s like for people of colour and women working as firefighters today.

Incidentally, former Deputy Police Chief Chris McNeil (also one of the 16 siblings of now-Premier Stephen McNeil) was heir-apparent to the chief position but suddenly and unexpectedly retired in 2011. I suspect that his retirement was related to an investigation into racism at the fire department. Funny how that all went down the rabbit hole.

2. High speed internet

The province has issued a Request for Information for “Rural High Speed Internet Solutions,” the first step in awarding $6 million budgeted this year for the program. Forget ferries, this is the single most effective thing government can do to help rural economies.

3. Kelp

Marine ecologist Karen Filbee-Dexter displays sugar kelp in Halifax that was collected near Terence Bay. Photo: Tim Krochak / Local Xpress
Marine ecologist Karen Filbee-Dexter displays sugar kelp in Halifax that was collected near Terence Bay. Photo: Tim Krochak / Local Xpress

“Decades of warming ocean water has nearly destroyed the ‘luxuriant kelp beds’ off Nova Scotia’s coast, causing a ‘catastrophic’ shift to algae turf that carpets the ocean floor, according to new research out of Dalhousie University,” reports Chris Lambie for Local Xpress:

It shows that mean kelp biomass has declined between 85 and 99 per cent over the past four to six decades.

“We think it’s driven by temperature,” said Karen Filbee-Dexter, a marine ecologist at Dalhousie who worked on the study and used the research Monday to successfully defend her doctoral thesis.

“Most of the kelp beds in our protected warmest bays — so in St. Margarets Bay and Mahone Bay, all those areas that get really warm — are pretty much gone.”

I don’t know why the thesis defence wasn’t in the Dal events listings.


1. Sable Island

Photo: Google Street View
Photo: Google Street View

Google Street View has come to Sable Island, reports Parker Donham.

Oh, in a second post, Donham points us to “one cute video courtesy of Halifax Diverse, the Sierra Club, Halifax Water, and (Bousquet-bait warning) TD Green Streets,” because we gotta slap the name of a bank on every damn thing lest we think the world can continue to spin if someone isn’t financing it.

In the video, a bunch of men explain rain to us. There is a lone woman in the vid; she’s silently taking care of children:

YouTube video


Redditor Madisont26 posts this photo of “pretty cute Dartmouth residents“:



No public meetings.

On campus

Not much going on at the universities this week.

In the harbour

The approach to Halifax Harbour, 8:30am. The Shawna, followed by the Chebecto Pilot boat, is passing McNabs Island inbound; the bulker Raqdcliffe R Latimer follows; the naval vessel HMCS St. John's (blue boat) is outbound, as is the oil tanker Sichem Pandora (red). Map:
The approach to Halifax Harbour, 8:30am Thursday. The Shawna, followed by the Chebecto Pilot boat, is passing McNabs Island inbound; the bulker Radcliffe R Latimer is not far behind; the naval vessel HMCS St. John’s (blue boat) is outbound, as is the oil tanker Sichem Pandora (red). Map:

Currently scheduled:

4am: Performance, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
5am: Atlantic Concert, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
6:30am: Shunwa, bulker, arrives at anchorage from Kantvik, Finland
7:30am: Radcliffe R Latimer, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Sydney
Noon: Shunwa, bulker, sails from anchorage for sea
3:30pm: Atlantic Concert, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4pm: Mignon, car carrier, sails from Autoport for New York

3am: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Portsmouth, New Hampshire
5:30am: Hoegh Delhi, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Davisville, Rhode Island


It’s summer, and there’s not a lot going on. This is a good thing. I could pretend otherwise — local media have given us two days of new articles about a thunderstorm — but when there’s no news, there’s no news.

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

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  1. I liked the storm water video. It made me feel hopeful that someone is thinking about this. If TD wants to pay for the production, I salute that. It’s better than having them pay for a video for something like
    “The Tower of Sauron.” [ aka convention centre ] Tim, you must be having a grumpy day.

  2. It can be hard to find all of the thesis defences. The presentations & defences for the master’s programs through the School for Resources and Environmental Studies (SRES) at Dal are sent via e-mail to all SRES students, faculty and alumni and published through the Dalhousie University Office of Sustainability blog ( because they’re open to the public. I don’t know of anywhere else that the information is shared to the public though. (I graduated from one of their master’s programs, which is the only reason that I know about the defences.)

  3. -All female festival lineup causes Tim to shit himself in a fit of joy:

    -All male lineup in video makes Tim outraged. Cannot be bothered to comment on contents, only gender of speakers. Race quota met (this time!). Claims to be interested in equality, fails to see irony.

    Oh Marxism! You team based opiate of the comfortable and intellectually lazy! Standards and merit are for losers… we measure success on a strict dick quota around here!

    1. From the article you linked to:
      “Sausagefest: Morning File, Thursday, June 30, 2016
      JUNE 30, 2016 BY LEWIS RENDELL”
      (Emphasis not mine)

      I assume you’re using “Tim” as a collective noun to refer to the Examiner staff, as he was on vacation at the time. Otherwise it’s unfair to blame him for something written by someone else.

      …and this is coming from a big fan of Planifax who also thinks we should keep striving for better representation in our media, no matter how diverse a organization already is. Planifax is great; we all have ways to improve.

      1. Ah, you are correct. However, given Tim’s recent comments here (see critique in comments at bottom) …

        … I’ll assume their comments fall in line with his sentiments. He also owns The Examiner, and one could only assume, supervises its content.

        BTW, I think he does a great job overall (especially on crime/city council). There are several places where I feel The Examiner could be even better, and that is in the banal identity politics, largely not based in fact.

  4. If by “Not much going on at the universities this week.” you mean “lots of people out in the courtyard at Dal playing Pokemon Go” then you’re right!