News

1. A few people care that we’re destroying the planet

The Seadrill West Aquarius is now drilling for BP on the Scotian Shelf.

Reporting for the National Observer, Carl Meyer has a look at the debate in Nova Scotia over offshore drilling:

“My view is — hey, c’mon, it’s time to bite the bullet, and get away from any utilization of any possible new fossil fuel,” said Bill [Long]. “Hundreds of miles of shoreline from here to Yarmouth — it’s just madness that we would risk that.”

His worry was heightened this summer, when 136,000 litres of a toxic mud spewed into the ocean from the drilling rig.

The regulator, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) that approved the drilling April 21, said it was the result of a loose connection in the line that pumps mud into the conduit between the oil well and the rig to bring up broken bits of solid material.

The accident forced BP to suspend drilling operations for weeks, until CNSOPB gave them the green light again on July 23.

BP was of course the operator of the Deepwater Horizon well, which exploded, killing 11 people and gushing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here to read Linda Pannozzo’s investigation into BP’s plan to use the dispersant Corexit should a similar blowout happen in Nova Scotia waters.

Oh, and yesterday the Washington Post reported that in terms of oil spilled, the Deepwater Horizon spill will soon be surpassed by another spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history.

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever.

In an era of climate change and warmer open waters, the storms are becoming more frequent and violent. Starting with Ivan in 2004, several hurricanes battered or destroyed more than 150 platforms in just four years.

On average, 330,000 gallons of crude are spilled each year in Louisiana from offshore platforms and onshore oil tanks, according to a state agency that monitors them.

Good thing we don’t have hurricanes in Nova Scotia.

2. Cornwallis committee

Photo: Halifax Examiner

The “Special Advisory Committee on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History” finally met last night, and the meeting lasted just four minutes, reports Zane Woodford:

“To make it more valid, it has to be seen that this committee is independent, at arm’s-length away from HRM,” co-chair Chief Roderick Googoo of We’koqma’q First Nation told reporters after the meeting.

“Otherwise, if we operate under their rules, then we’re still under their jurisdiction. We want to do this in a very objective way. In order for us to do that and give it justice to the work that we have to do, it has to be independent. We have to go at our own pace and I guess make up our rules on how we do things as we go forward.”

Though the day has been anticipated for many months, the meeting lasted just over four minutes.

“I guarantee that will be the shortest meeting we will ever have,” said co-chair Monica MacDonald, manager of research at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

MacDonald called it “reconstituting the framework and the foundation” of the committee so that it’s no longer a committee of council but a “product of a true partnership between the Mi’kmaw and non-Mi’kmaw community in HRM.”

“We feel that it was very important, because when HRM set up this committee as a committee of council, it was still a creation of HRM to which Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives were invited,” MacDonald said. “This way, we want to start out in the true spirit, we feel the true spirit of reconciliation, to form a partnership.”

3. Postal strike

The downtown post office was closed to business yesterday as postal workers walked the picket line on Almon Street. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Canada Post workers carried picket signs instead of packages Monday after they walked off the job amid what they call unfair treatment by the Crown corporation,” reports John McPhee for the Chronicle Herald:

“We’re just looking to be treated fairly, I guess, really,” said one man on the picket line in Halifax, where groups of well-bundled picketers surrounded the main postal depot on a cold and windy morning.

“They keep making millions in profits none of that is coming to us. They keep taking money away from us. Rollbacks after rollbacks, every contract.”

None of the postal workers who spoke to The Chronicle Herald wanted their names used. They spoke of longer workdays, skyrocketing parcel loads sparked by an online shopping boom and hourly wages that are six or seven dollars below that of competitors such as Purolator.

“When they make the route up, they say 20 parcels, that’s your eight-hour day and all of a sudden you get 80 parcels,” a woman said over the sound of honking horns from supportive motorists passing by on Almon Street.“An eight-hour workday has now become an 11- or 12-hour workday.”

4. Irving’s conflict of interest

“Law professors contacted by CBC say conflict of interest and a lack transparency are among the issues with a plea deal proposed in a J.D. Irving pollution case, and one predicts the case will not be accepted by the court,” reports connell smith (who appears to use the lowercase for his name):

The sentence, recommended jointly by the Crown and defence lawyers in the case, would see a $1.1 million fine paid to Collaboration of Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow, or CAST, a conservation non-profit chaired by Jim Irving, JDI’s co-CEO.

Glenn Cooke of Cooke Aquaculture and Saint John businessman Brian Moore are fellow CAST directors, and its executive director is Andrew Willett, an Irving Woodlands manager.

Lawyers for Irving Pulp and Paper have entered guilty pleas to three charges for discharging toxins into the St. John River.

If accepted by Judge David Walker, the sentence deal would also see Irving Pulp and Paper construct a treatment facility at its Reversing Falls pulp mill and pay $2.4 million to the federal Environmental Damages Fund.

CAST is behind a controversial project to boost the wild Atlantic salmon population in the Miramichi River and is mired in a public dispute with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which refuses to give a green light to the stocking project.

Shaun Fluker, a University of Calgary associate professor who specializes in corporate, securities and environmental law, said the proposed Irving plea deal is one of a growing number of cases involving creative sentencing that are problematic because there’s little evidence to show how defence lawyers and the Crown came up with the joint recommendation.

“It often seems to be like backroom deals between defence council or the accused and the Crown,” said Fluker.

“In addition to the lack of transparency between how this is arranged, the conflict of interest, and the fact that in this case it looks like the accused has a connection to the beneficiary … is certainly more problematic than most of them.”

5. A town in New Brunswick does something stupid

well, the town of chipman is flying a ‘straight pride flag’ in opposition of pride flags being allowed to be displayed. oh, new brunswick. c’mon… pic.twitter.com/WqH9mtECJM

— colin briggs (@colinbriggs4) October 22, 2018

“A New Brunswick village has taken down a ‘straight flag’ after a single day, following a public backlash locally and beyond,” reports Holly McKenzie-Sutter for the Canadian Press:

Chipman’s village council issued a statement Monday afternoon saying the flag was raised as a sign of support for all groups in the community, but it was removed as a result of “unintentional attention,” and based on residents’ feedback.

The flag was raised Sunday afternoon with [Mayor Carson] Atkinson saying it met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Atkinson said it was important to celebrate everyone in Chipman, and said the council previously voted to raise the rainbow flag representing the LGBTQ community.

It’s not clear from the article who requested the town fly the flag in the first place.

6. Bus attack

Court documents reviewed by the Halifax Examiner provide more details about an attack on a Halifax Transit bus in July.

You’ll recall that after the attack, police issued the following press release:

Police are continuing to investigate an incident from the weekend where a Halifax Transit bus was damaged by a projectile.

On July 14 at 1:16 p.m., Halifax Regional Police, HRM Fire & Emergency responded to the 0-50 block of Bedford Highway, Halifax, for a Halifax Transit bus damaged by a projectile. A 23 -year-old female passenger was injured and transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

On July 14 as a result of the investigation, officers obtained a warrant and conducted a search on a Vimy Avenue address. No one was home at the time of the search. Multiple firearms were located and seized from the address.

On July 17 shortly after 7 p.m. investigators arrested a 31-year-old Halifax man in a Vimy Avenue address. This was not the same man who turned himself in to police on July 15 and was released without charges. The man is facing the following charges:

• 1 count of using explosives causing property damage section 81(1)(1)(c) of the Criminal Code
• 1 count of arson causing property damage contrary to section 434 of the Criminal Code
• 1 count of property damage contrary to section 430(4) of the Criminal Code
1 count of assault causing bodily harm contrary to 267(b) of the Criminal Code
• 4 counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm contrary to section 81(1) of the Criminal Code
• 4 counts of unsafe storage of a firearm contrary to 86(1) of the Criminal Code

The man was released on conditions and is to appear in Halifax Court on August 30, 2018 to face the charges.

According to the court documents, the bus driver, Larry Amirault, saw a fire burning in the brush on the side of the Bedford Highway, so stopped his bus and used the onboard fire extinguisher to put the fire out.

While the bus was stopped, a beer bottle with fireworks inside it was thrown at the bus, exploding and breaking the window on the front right side of the bus. Inside was the 23-year-old woman, who was with her two-year-old daughter. The woman was hit by flying glass, receiving two cuts on her upper lip severe enough to send her to hospital. Thankfully, the child wasn’t hit, although the experience was presumably traumatic.

The police response was quick and significant. Forensic officer Illya Nielsen attended the scene and discovered the remains of a Sleeman’s beer bottle next to the bus. “Some of the curved glass pieces [of the bottle] appear to have burn marks or soot on them,” wrote Detective Constable Corey Bergman, summarizing the investigation for the court. Nielsen also found two burn patches and associated spent fireworks in the brush on the hill above the highway, just below a set of balconies on an apartment building at 7 Vimy Avenue. The balconies overlook both the highway and the Bedford Basin.

Meanwhile, several officers were sent to canvass 7 Vimy Avenue. Residents were helpful, and many pointed to one particular balcony as the source of fireworks; one resident said the fireworks started as early as 8am. That balcony belonged to Daniel Uttaro.

Daniel Uttaro. Photo: Facebook

While he was canvassing the building, Constable Andrew Samaha was on the elevator when two men, Uttaro and his buddy from Moncton, Max Goguen, entered the elevator on their way to the underground parking garage.

“Constable Samaha noted that Daniel Uttaro was heavily intoxicated and carrying a backpack,” wrote Bergman. “Max Goguen had the keys [of the car] and was sober. Constable Samaha was told they were leaving the building and going to the beach.”

Bergman ran Uttaro’s name through the Halifax PD’s Versadex database (which collects all contacts with Halifax police) and found that Uttaro had “ten (10) related events with police, including Provincial stats MVA, Provincial Liquor Act, Traffic Accident, Suspicious Vehicle, and a Sudden Death.” No explanation was provided about the sudden death.

Bergman also ran Uttaro’s name through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, and found that Uttaro was wanted on two Alberta-only warrants, one for breach of probation, the second for “Obstruct Police, Breach of Probation, Behave in a disturbance manner under the National Parks Act.”

Goguen had had several contacts with the RMP, but only for “disputes and traffic violations.” He had no outstanding warrants.

The police obtained and executed a search warrant for Uttaro’s apartment that afternoon. They found spent fireworks in the kitchen garbage can matching those found near the bus; empty cases — plural — of Sleeman’s beer bottles; and packaging for fireworks that matched the brand found near the bus.

An arrest warrant was issued for Goguen, who evidently turned himself in and was released without charge.

The broken beer bottle found next to the bus provided more evidence, in the form of DNA from two people.

On August 30, Bergman applied to Judge Gregory Lenehan for a search warrant to obtain Uttaro’s DNA, but Lenehan rejected the warrant because Bergman hadn’t adequately explained how Goguen’s name was misspelled in police investigative notes, didn’t properly explain how the DNA from the beer bottle was obtained, and incorrectly named the offence being investigated.

This is the first indication I’ve ever come across showing that a Nova Scotia judge or a justice of the peace has ever rejected a search warrant application. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before, but I’ve never seen a rejected search warrant application find its way into the court’s search warrant log — even Bergman’s rejected August 30 application isn’t in the log, which seems like something that should be addressed. Rejected applications are, after all, still court documents, and as we have an open court, the document should therefore be public record. But the rejected August 30 application to the court is not part of the public record; I only know that Lenehan rejected the application because Bergman mentioned it when reapplying for a search warrant on October 10; in that reapplication, Bergman corrected his mistakes and the warrant was granted.

It’s not clear from the document I reviewed if the DNA on the beer bottle matched Uttaro’s DNA, and none of the particulars in the above account have been tested by a judge. Uttaro has a November 30 court date where he faces 15 counts on eight different charges.

7. Bad idea: stealing a cop’s truck

Detective Constable Corey Bergman was also the author of another application for a search warrant. This one involved the rather brazen theft of a Halifax cop’s truck.

In the early hours of June 7, Sergeant Andre Habib was off duty, asleep at his Halifax peninsula home with his wife, when someone or someones broke into the home and took several items, including his wallet, two computer tablets, six bottles of rum, three DVDs, four packages of cigars, a drill set, and the keys to a 2017 Dodge Ram half-ton pickup parked outside. The truck was the property of the Halifax Regional Police Department, and is described in Bergman’s application as an “unmarked vehicle.” The truck was likewise stolen. Habib called in the break-in at 3:17am.

Thirty-seven minutes earlier, at 2:40am, someone in Eastern Passage called police to report a suspected impaired driver in a Dodge Ram truck. Constable Edmee Folmer was in the area, and quickly found the truck parked at the Needs store; a passenger was getting in, and the truck drove away. Folmer followed the truck down Shore Road, and attempted a stop, but the truck sped up and fled down Norman Lane, which is a dead-end street. Two men jumped out of the truck and ran down a path.

RCMP Constable Justin Brennan happened to be nearby and heard over the radio that two men had fled the truck, so he was on the lookout for suspicious people. At 3:14am, he saw a black Toyota Camry driving up Ridding Road. Ridding Road is the next street up from Norman Lane.

“Constable Brennan seen [sic] the passengers of the vehicle put their arm up to obscure their faces,” wrote Bergman.

Brennan stopped the Camry. The driver was Kevin Findlay. The passenger in the front seat was 23-year-old Justin MacIntyre, Findlay’s son, and the passenger in the back was 23-year-old Terrance Jefferies, Findlay’s cousin. [Throughout the application, Bergman misspells Jefferies’ first name as Terrence, but unlike the application mentioned above, the misspelling didn’t lead to it being rejected, and Judge Lenehan approved the warrant; go figure.]

MacIntyre told Brennan that he was under house arrest, but Jefferies was his surety, and he was allowed to leave his house so long as he was with Jefferies.

Jefferies “provided a story that they were at his sisters all evening and took the number 60 bus and Woodside ferry three hours ago to get home,” wrote Bergman. “Cst. Brennan also noted that Mr. Jefferies did not have any shoes on.”

Halifax police constable Todd McLellan arrived at the scene and arrested MacIntye and Jefferies. A search incidental to the arrest found that Jefferies had Sergeant Habib’s wallet. The pair were taken to the Halifax police station.

The next morning, Bergman interviewed Jefferies, and he confessed all, even going so far as to write a letter of apology to Habib.

Another officer, Constable Matthew Luck, interviewed MacIntyre. MacIntyre admitted he was along for the ride, so to speak, but said he didn’t actually go into Habib’s house, and he didn’t drive the truck.

What’s notable here is the criminal history of the two 23-year-olds.

MacIntyre was in fact under house arrest with Jefferies as his surety. The arrest was for uttering threats and breach of conditions. Through his young life, MacIntyre has faced 102 charges, including for “Fraud by cheque, Bail violations, failing to attend court, Uttering threats, Possession of cannabis, Domestic disputes, Criminal harassment, Assault, Forcible confinement, Assault with a weapon, Traffic accidents, Weapons possession, Theft over $5000, Robbery, Beak and enter, Assault police, Robbery with a firearm, and Arson.” In total, MacIntyre has had 271 contacts with the Halifax police alone.

Jefferies, for his part, has faced 22 charges since 2016, including for “Impaired operation, refusal, Use of a stolen credit card, Possession of a prohibited weapon, Possession of a dangerous weapon, Theft and possession under.” All told, he has had 149 contacts with police related to a variety of investigations.

Meanwhile, back at Sergeant Habib’s house, investigators found lots of cigarette butts out in the parking lot. Despite the cigars, Habib said no one in his house smoked, so the conclusion was the cigarette butts belonged to the thieves. Eventually, DNA was obtained from the butts, and the search warrant application was for Jefferies’ DNA.

Jefferies faces more counts on more charges than I can easily count this morning, and has two court dates, one on January 14, the second on March 5. The January 14 date is for the events involved with the theft of Habib’s truck, while the March 5 date is for previous charges.

MacIntyre faces six counts related to the Habib theft; his court date is December 11.


Government

City

Tuesday

Joint Meeting of HRM Community Councils – Public Hearing for Case 21648 (Tuesday, 6pm, City Hall) — “Staff-initiated housekeeping process to amend Land Use By-law provisions for new residential development within the coastal elevation for lands designated Harbour consistent with the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS).”

Wednesday

Community Design Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 11:30am, City Hall) — ha-ha! They’re still pretending that the Centre Plan matters! Funny shit!

Province

Tuesday

No public meetings.

Wednesday

Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — Karen Hudson, the deputy minister at Justice, will be asked about the Auditor General’s report on the jails.


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

Encrypted communications: all is not what it seems (Tuesday, 11:30am, in the auditorium named after a bank, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Enrico Branca will speak.

Youth Mental Health Care in Nova Scotia: What needs to change and how do we make that happen? (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1011, Rowe Building) —  speakers include Sabina Abidi, Jill Chorney, Sharon Clark, Sue Goyette, and Charmaine McPherson.

Wednesday

Thesis Defence, Oceanography (Wednesday, 1:30pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Pengcheng Wang​ will defend his ​​thesis, “Wave-Current Interactions in t​​he Eastern Canadian Waters​​.”

Angry Inuk (Thursday, 7:00pm, Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building) — screening and discussion.

Saint Mary’s

Tuesday

Hallie Flanagan and the Federal Theatre Project: A Critical Undoing of Management History (Tuesday, 1pm, Library classroom 135) — Kristin Williams will speak.

King’s

Wednesday

Degrees of Willing: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Buddhist Thought (Wednesday, 4:05pm, KTS Lecture Room, University of King’s College) — Douglas Berger from Leiden University, Netherlands, will speak.


In the harbour

03:00: Ardmore Encounter, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for Rotterdam
03:30: Atlantic Star, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
06:15: Norwegian Dawn, cruise ship with up to 2,808 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Sydney (seven-day cruise from Quebec to Boston)
08:45: Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,180 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor (nine-day round-trip cruise out of New York)
10:30: Seven Seas Navigator, cruise ship with up to 550 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Saint John (10-day cruise from New York to Montreal)
16:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
16:30: Norwegian Dawn sails for Saint John
17:00: Victory 1, cruise ship with up to 216 passengers, arrives at Pier 24 from sea
18:30: Seven Seas Navigator sails for Sydney
18:30: Anthem of the Seas sails for Saint John
22:00: Asian Moon, container ship, sails from Pier 31 for sea


Footnotes

Tuesdays are hard.


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Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Re: Stealing a Cop’s truck: The Woodside ferry stops running at 9 pm. So if they were arrested at 3:17am and they claimed to have taken the ferry home 3 hours earlier, they were clearly lying about that.

  2. Fill your vehicle in Copenhagen at $2.41 a litre.
    And this, ” Pertamina is upgrading its four existing refineries and building two new ones to double Indonesia’s refining capacity to 2 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) by 2025 from 1 million bopd.”
    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/02/pertamina-says-refinery-plan-on-schedule.html

    Dealing with climate change requires significant reduction in economic activity as well as higher unemployment. Anything else is just fiddling around the edges.

  3. Should there be a similar status to dangerous offender for frequent flyer offenders? They’re pretty dangerous and clearly not deterred nor reformed by the punishments they’ve been receiving. The three charming young men described above may do better in an institution until their fourties. They haven’t proven otherwise.

    1. That is the only thing to do with some people. The age-crime rate curves for men are the same shape as the age-testosterone curve – prison won’t reform these losers but they might be able to be somewhat functional adults from age 30-40 onward.