News

1. Cellufuel

CelluFuel President Chris Hooper speaking at a Nova Scotia government press conference held at the former Resolute Mill in 2012. Photo: NS Government

Cellufuel has stopped operating its Brooklyn biofuel plant, the Halifax Examiner reported Friday.

The start-up biofuel company has received at least $4.5 million in public money; the shut-down is temporary and just part how “innovation” works, insists president Chris Hooper.

Click here to read “Cellufuel ‘pauses’ operations at its Brooklyn demonstration plant.”

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2. Who’s going to fix our broken criminal justice system?

rightswatch.ca

“Last week, I wrote about the Lyle Howe decision with a focus on the decision itself,” writes Stephen Kimber:

But there is a separate but related issue the bar society’s inquiry panel touched on in passing — “the current standards of criminal defence practice in the Halifax metropolitan area” — that’s also worth circling back to, and quoting from at length.

Kimber gets into those details and then concludes:

The panel’s perhaps self-evident but nonetheless shocking admission: there are only a “limited number of people” — almost all of them with “substantial social and financial resources” — who can hire lawyers who have the time and resources to represent them fully and adequately in the criminal justice system.

What happens to the rest? Solving that problem wasn’t within the purview of the inquiry panel, which had its own, much more limited assignment. But their findings shouldn’t be allowed to disappear simply because they weren’t central to the panel’s mandate.

We have a system that is clearly broken, and real people who suffer as a consequence. What is the bar society going to do about that? The justice minister?

It is time for them to be accountable.

Click here to read “Who’s going to fix our broken criminal justice system?”

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3. Solitary confinement

Relatedly, this morning the province published the policies and procedures for close confinement for prisoners in provincial prisons. “Close confinement” is a broad category that includes the narrower category of solitary confinement (in the policy, this is referred to as placing the prisoner in the CCU, the “close confinement unit” at a prison).

The overall policy has always been a public document, but the operating procedures distinct to each prison were considered “protected”; they were published today in response to a freedom of information request from an unnamed public interest group.

4. Examineradio, episode #122

This week, we’re joined by Halifax Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler, who digs into the province’s recent announcement of more than $65m in funding to twin portions of Highway 103, as well as the inaccessibility of Africville Park.

Plus, 2,000 images from famed photographer Annie Liebovitz remain shuttered in a storeroom somewhere in Halifax, after the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board ruled for the fourth time that random rich dude patron of the arts Harley Mintz can’t claim a $20m tax break after donating them to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

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5. Private email for government work

“Documents obtained by Global News under an access to information request show cabinet minister Leo Glavine relied on a private email account when he was minister of health,” reports Marieke Walsh for Global.

By carefully noting email addresses in the documents she requested, Walsh was able to document one instance of such improper email use, but I suspect that this is a common practice among politicians and bureaucrats, precisely because it’s a way to avoid the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. When the premier himself has stated plainly that he makes phone calls instead of using emails so that there’s no public trail of accountability, what else would we expect?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure the extent to which private email accounts are used to avoid adhering to the law, or at least no way that I can figure out. It will take some unknown future scandal and an investigative agency with subpoena power to pull private email accounts before we really understand the breadth of the problem.

But that’s good work on Walsh’s part.

6. More dead whales

A right whale. Photo: DFO

“Three North Atlantic right whales have washed ashore on western Newfoundland’s coast in the last few weeks, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, with the number of recent confirmed deaths of the endangered animals in Atlantic Canada now at nine,” reports the CBC:

Last week, DFO was investigating a dead whale in Chimney Cove, just south of Trout River on the Northern Peninsula, to determine if it was a new death or one of the seven that were previously recorded in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this summer.

In a Facebook post early this morning, the Marine Animal Response Society notes that:

Unfortunately, the carcasses are in very poor condition. This means it is very difficult to determine if any are either of the two animals that were missing from the original eight. It will also be unlikely to determine cause of death for any of these animals given their extreme decomposition. In any case, this takes the total number of dead right whales through this entire incident up to at least 9 individual right whales.


Government

City

Monday

Cancelled – Board of Police Commissioners

Tuesday

City Council (Tuesday, 2pm, City Hall) — by far the most important item on the agenda is approval of a $8.6 million tender that will finally, in the 2019-20 fiscal year, result in new fare boxes on buses, but most of the media attention is focused on ferries.

Councillor Sam Austin wants a report on increasing ferry service during special events like the Pride Festival and the Tall Ships Festival.

Councillor David Hendsbee, the fellow who wanted to move lighthouses inland so tourists could more easily access them, now wants to allow dogs on the ferries. There are dog people, then there are non-dog people, and this will undoubtedly start a war between them. The only solution is to have two ferry systems, one for people who “love, love, love dogs aren’t they so cute look at him will ya? I’m a responsible pet owner and a dog under verbal command is just as controlled as a leash and how could you ever suggest that I not be able to take my dog everywhere?” and those who think “jesus, that thing’s going to stick his wet nose in my crotch, why should I sit in all this dog hair this boat smells it’s a confined space and that fucking barking is driving me crazy.”

Province

No public meetings until September.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Thesis Defence, Microbiology and Immunology (Monday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Chi Yan will defend his thesis, “The Role of the Il-17 Receptor-A20 Axis in Tumor Growth and Tumor Microenvironment.”

Tuesday

No events.


In the harbour

5:30am: Viking Conquest, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
6am: Bomar Rebecca, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Rotterdam. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Rotterdam. Photo: Halifax Examiner

7am: Rotterdam, cruise ship, with up to 1,685 passengers, arrives at Pier 31 from St. John’s

Maasdam. Photo: Halifax Examiner

7:45am: Maasdam, cruise ship with up to 1,510 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor

Algoma Dartmouth. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Algoma Dartmouth. Photo: Halifax Examiner

7:45am: Algoma Dartmouth, oil tanker, moves from Pier 34 to Dockyard
9:45am: YM Evolution, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Bremerhaven, Germany
10am: Itea, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
3:30pm: Viking Conquest, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
4:30pm: Rotterdam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 31 for Boston
5:45pm: Maasdam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Sydney
9:30pm: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Footnotes

These are the news doldrums of the summer, and all the commentariat seem to be on vacation.

I thought about writing about those graves being dug up in Louisbourg — I like the poetry of them simply washing into the ocean, but I guess there’s some archeological value in them, so I dunno.

Also, the federal government is trying to better understand the extent of the fisheries. This is all well and good, but the reasoning is that we should know what we have now so that when an oil tanker breaks apart and kills everything, we know what we’ve lost. Maybe we can build a monument to all the dead fish and the communities that fished them. The biggest concern is tankers coming out of the Irving refinery in Saint John into the Bay of Fundy, followed by tankers coming in and out of Port Hawkesbury.

Tall Ships: glad people like them. Too many people for me, tho.

The copyeditor is late today, so I’ll publish without and clean up copy later. Please send your scathing comments about improper grammar and typos to hireacopyeditoralready@thechronicleherald.ca.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Why is it that dogs aren’t allowed in places in Canada where they are allowed everywhere else in the world?? Why shouldn’t dogs be allowed on the ferry? If they are on a leash they should be allowed. You can’t stop for a beer with your dog in NS at an outside or inside pub here but you can anywhere else in the world.

    Well perhaps the Americans are also phobic about these things. I have no first hand experience ref dogs in the USA as I don’t go there often enough to have an opinion. I lived in Britain for a long while and dogs are certainly welcome in most places there and on the Continent. Why not here???

  2. Regarding dogs: Dogs are not a human right unless their job is to help you with a disability. I don’t begrudge people dog ownership – especially because I grew up in a typical suburban household with 2.3 children, 1.5 cats and 1.1 dogs. But the fact is that they are, by default, annoying, dirty animals (except when they are puppies). I’ve been to Eastern Europe, where extremely well-trained dogs are the norm, and it’s one thing to be around someone else’s perfectly behaved pooch, but the typical Canadian dog is not so well behaved.

    To paraphrase Donald Trump, when Canadians send their dogs, they aren’t sending Balto or Lassie. They’re sending obnoxious barkers, aggressive pit bulls, neurotic golden retrievers. We have to build a wall to keep these dogs off our ferries.

    Keep Halifax ferries great and dog free.

  3. Ironic to see those helium balloons in the ferry picture just before reading the dead whale piece.

    1. Releasing balloons into the air like that should be a criminal offence. It certainly is a moral one.

    2. I agree, It should be a criminal offence to release balloons into the air especially around oceans or beaches. Balloons have killed more sea life than I care to think about. Especially the leather back turtles who eat them thinking they are jelly fish then die.

      Morally it is a very very wrong thing to do. Definitely a moral offence killing sea life.

  4. Point pleasant park is now a dog park, why shouldn’t they get the ferrys too? The rescue pit bulls should make things really interesting.

  5. Re 5. Government work

    How I do agree with you on vested subpoena power and its ability to produce truth … and yet, silly me, I encountered my own idealistic naiveté (yet again) in the PEI Auditor General’s investigation and report on the PEI e-gaming scandal.

    Subpoena power is only as good as those willing to engage it versus those desirous of coverup and is dependent upon those who may see peril in engaging in precedent-setting conflict. The latter can, may, and often does apply equally to both sides, especially involving government, malfeasance, and public funds.

    I’ll quote from a CBCPEI piece by Kerry Campbell and provide a link to it. Facts speak for themselves.

    “A key player in the e-gaming initiative external to government, the law firm of McInnes Cooper, refused to provide any information for the investigation or to meet with the auditor general, MacAdam said in her report. She said she considered using her power to issue a subpoena but decided that could result in a lengthy and costly court battle.

    McInnes Cooper cites ‘Solicitor-Client privilege’

    In a statement to CBC News, the law firm said:

    “McInnes Cooper acted as legal counsel solely to the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI (“MCPEI”) with respect to the online gaming initiative considered by MCPEI and the Government of Prince Edward Island. Government retained a separate law firm to represent its interests in the matter. While the matter was being considered by MCPEI, there were a number of communications between and meetings involving McInnes Cooper and representatives of Government and third parties. In all such communications and meetings, McInnes Cooper was representing the position of MCPEI and acting upon the instructions of MCPEI. McInnes Cooper is bound by Solicitor-Client privilege.”

    In her report, the auditor general said she didn’t believe client-solicitor privilege applied because she said McInnes Cooper was providing project management services.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-auditor-general-egaming-emails-1.3793132

  6. I don’t think the crowds are as large as in past years based on pictures and my walk around on Sat. morning. No one was lined up along the portion of Lower Water St in front of NS Power for yesterday’s Parade of the Sailors.

  7. August starts tomorrow – let the dog wars begin, let the dogs of war loose, and then we can ask – who let the dogs out? Yar, maties.