Carolyn Nickelo responds to a Tweet from Tim Bousquet, telling people to subscribe to the Examiner.
Photo: Twitter

Take Carolyn’s recommendation — it’s a good one — and subscribe right here.

If you’re already a subscriber, you know what Carolyn’s talking about; thanks for supporting our reporting!

Have we mentioned lately that we’re in the middle of a month-long subscription drive?


1. COVID update

A white sign with a black frame and COVID-19 is written in the centre.
Photo: Ystallonne Alves/Unsplash

Tim Bousquet was busy working with students at King’s yesterday, but he’s here this morning with his COVID update from Tuesday.

There were 31 new cases of the virus announced in Nova Scotia yesterday. That brings the total known active caseload to 253 in the province. Sixteen people are hospitalized with the virus; seven of those people are in ICU. Here’s the breakdown of new cases by Nova Scotia health zone:

  • 19 Central
  • 9 Northern
  • 2 Eastern
  • 1 Western

Read the full report for more information on case demographics, as well as vaccination and testing stats, and an updated potential exposure advisory map.

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2. New book reveals horrific record of Canadian mining companies in Guatemala

Cover of the new book "Testimonio : Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala" featuring a photo of Diodora Hernández who was shot near Hudbay's Marlin gold mine in Guatemala losing sight in one eye and hearing in one ear. Photo: James Rodríguez
Book cover featuring Diodora Hernández who was shot near Hudbay’s Marlin gold mine in Guatemala losing sight in one eye and hearing in one ear Photo: James Rodríguez

Joan Baxter often writes about the dubious dealings of mining companies here in Nova Scotia, but today she has an article on the harm that mining companies can do outside our province.

In this morning’s article, Baxter reviews a book that looks at the harm Canadian mining companies have done in Guatemala. Here’s an excerpt:

Alvaro Sandoval is a Guatemalan who knows all too well what it is like to be attacked and criminalized for trying to defend his community from North American gold mining companies, and he has a message for Canadians and Americans:

‘I would like to call on the people and politicians of Canada and the United States to reflect seriously on your way of life in your so-called developed countries; that your way of life is achieved at the cost of exploiting the natural resources in our countries that you call “underdeveloped.”’

Sandoval is from San José del Golfo, a community about an hour’s drive northeast of the capital, Guatemala city.

Like others in his and neighbouring communities, Sandoval began his resistance to gold mining in 2012 when he got wind of plans by Vancouver-based junior mining company Radius Gold to open the Tambor gold mine in the area.

For more than five years, Sandoval and his family were part of a community movement that maintained a permanent peaceful encampment outside the mine, a camp known as “La Puya” (The Thorn). Riot police were repeatedly dispatched to the site to violently evict the people at the encampment.

Although the Canadian company Radius Gold — that promotes itself with the motto “Relentless Exploration, Great Discoveries” — initiated the mine, it didn’t keep it very long. In 2012, shortly after two hitmen on a motorbike shot at and attempted to assassinate community member, Yolanda Oquelí, Radius sold its interests to its junior American partner, Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA).

The book looks at the complicity of the Canadian government in promoting Canadian companies and mining-friendly laws in the country — and the unwittingly complicit Canadians whose pensions are invested in those companies. The terrible stories surrounding these mines involve environmental abuses, murder, and rape. The article is a disturbing and sobering read. I can only imagine how difficult a read the actual book is.

We have our own stories of foreign-owned mining abuses in this province. It’s worth reading about how our own country’s mining has negatively impacted other places, too.

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From our subscribers:

Margie Macdonald is an older white lady with short white hair, sparkly blue eyes and a rather mischievous smile.
Margie Macdonald. Photo contributed

Margie MacDonald

I’ve been subscribing to the Examiner since 2016, when I simply could not read the Chronicle Herald one more time. I love having a daily paper and the Examiner fills that bill and much more! Each edition is easy to read, always teaches me something I didn’t know about this province, and gives me new perspectives on the issues of the day. Tim’s exhaustive coverage of COVID has helped me through the epidemic. And Iris’s comments always give me a laugh. Subscribing to the Examiner is money well spent!


A black and white photo of Nosferatu from the film. He's bald, has big pointy ears, bushy eyebrows, scary eyes, and two fangs for front teeth.
Ausca (contributed)

When I want news and opinion pieces about the US I check the Washington Post, New York Times, or Politico. When I want the same for Canada, I reach for the Globe and Mail. For international news I read the BBC or Guardian.

The news source I’ve found that offers the best in-depth reporting and opinion pieces about Nova Scotia is the Halifax Examiner.

Given the often clubby nature of relations between influential people and business and our secretive Nova Scotia governments, the first I’ve heard about an important local issue has often been in the Halifax Examiner. Examples of this was the now defunct Alton Gas proposal, which turned out to be far more reliant on government money than it looked. Another would be the quiet delisting of previously protected Owl’s Head, which could allow its redevelopment as a golf course by then Minister of Environment and later premier Iain Rankin, whose earlier academic accomplishments included a diploma in Professional Golf Management. Questionable spending of public money on the Yarmouth Ferry and the Halifax Convention Centre has also been detailed there in some depth. An especially sensational example of in-depth reporting was the poor police work and terrible miscarriage of justice that wasted 17 years of Glen Assoun’s life imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. That story went nationwide but began with Tim Bousquet in the Halifax Examiner.

I really don’t understand how voters can make informed decisions at election time without an honest, independent, fearless press willing to focus the harsh light of day upon public issues where it’s not wanted. That alone justifies my subscription.

3. A coalition of Black voices in Nova Scotia

Vanessa Fells, ANSDPAD Coalition Director smiles at the camera while working from her laptop at her office.
Vanessa Fells is the ANSDPAD Coalition Director. Photo: Matthew Byard.

Matthew Byard has this story on the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition (ANSDPAD), and the work they’ve been doing on issues in the Black community, including justice, health, education, employment, and social services:

Earlier this fall when Premier Tim Houston announced that Pat Dunn, a white man, would be the new Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, Vanessa Fells immediately started getting phone calls from media asking her for comment on Dunn’s appointment.

“When things like that happen, our members only meet once a month,” Fells said. “So, when something happens on a Monday and we’re getting phone calls Monday afternoon and our members don’t meet for another two weeks, it’s very hard for me to say ‘Hey, I’m gonna speak on behalf of everybody.’”

Fells is the director of the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition (ANSDPAD), which was formed in 2015 and represents organizations that recognize the International Decade for People of African Descent.

In response to negative reactions from many Black Nova Scotians, ANSDPAD and other African Nova Scotian organizers and organizations went on to host a series of virtual meetings. Hundreds of Blacks from across the province attended the meetings and broke out into various group sessions before reconvening to organize around strategic responses to Dunn’s appointment.

“We understand that it is important that at the executive table, which currently has nothing but white voices at the moment, which is problematic — that you need a voice of somebody who represents different members and different facets of our society,” said Fells.

Read the full article here.

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4. Man accused of sexual assault in case of Carrie Lowe dies in homicide; charges against him withdrawn

Halifax Regional Police cruisers lined up behind headquarters on Gottingen Street in June 2021. They're so shiny and white.
Halifax Regional Police cruisers lined up behind headquarters on Gottingen Street in June 2021. Photo: Zane Woodford

The man accused of sexually assaulting Carrie Low in 2018 was killed in a homicide over the weekend. Alex Cooke at Global News reports that all charges against the man, Alexander Joseph Frederick Thomas, have now been withdrawn.

Low — who applied successfully for a court order permitting the use of her name — was the complainant in a high-profile case that had a pre-trial application hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning. But the Crown didn’t offer evidence in light of Thomas’s death. Thomas had been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement.

On Monday, Const. John MacLeod, speaking for the Halifax Regional Police, said the investigation is still in its early stages.

The trial might have shed some light on a confusing case. As Cooke reports:

Low has alleged that she was taken from a Dartmouth bar in a car, driven to a site outside Halifax and sexually assaulted by two men. She went to the hospital in Dartmouth the next day, where rape tests were carried out and she encountered a police officer, whom she informed of her assault.

The story from there includes allegations of police mishandling of the case, and superiors misleading and discouraging the constable investigating the file — and ultimately directing him to stop.

It’s a difficult subject, and a tangled story. But if you’d like to hear more about it, Maggie Rahr, who’s covered the case from the beginning, now has a podcast on CBC that examines the case thoroughly: Carrie Low Vs.

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5. Homelessness in the city

Two police officers with shields that say POLICE stand amongst a crowd as a worker takes apart a wooden shelter with a chainsaw.
A city worker uses a chain saw to cut through a shelter at the former Halifax Memorial Library on Aug. 18, 2021. Photo: Zane Woodford

Victoria Walton continues her stellar coverage of the issue of homelessness in Halifax for the Coast with this article from Tuesday.

Communications between councillors and staff in the lead-up to the August 18 tent evictions have been obtained by The Coast. We can now see what was being discussed before the disturbing events of that day, when police used force to remove people living in public parks from their shelters, and city staff took down Mutual Aid shelters outside the old Memorial Library on Spring Garden Road. Walton reports:

“Please keep this information confidential,” [Chief administrative officer Jacques] Dubé wrote at the top of his August 3 memo, introducing the plan to evict people from public property that would become the notorious shelter siege, Halifax’s very own Trinity Bellwoods-style violent police action that took place Wednesday, August 18.

The Coast obtained more than 200 pages of documents released by Halifax Regional Municipality in a freedom of information request related to the shelter siege. The documents contain emails between councillors and staff that show not only did council know about the shelter siege in advance, but CAO Dubé and other staff actively shaped the message council would give to members of the public.

It’s a necessary look behind the curtain, showing how councillors hastily prepared not only for the evictions, but for the public backlash they knew would come.

Having read the article, it’s amazing how rushed the preparations for August 18 were. Then again, eviction notices were only posted on tents two days before they took place, and the events of that day were borderline chaotic, so I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise how quickly this plan was put together.

“My impression was that the CAO was promised certain things by the province that didn’t come to task,” said one councillor, speaking to The Coast this week. There’s still a lot to this story, but Walton exposed a good deal of it here.

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Cost of getting high coming down

The sign on the outside of the NSLC Cannabis store on Clyde Street in Halifax in June 2021. The NSLC Logo is capital letters in blue and purple, with a yellow and green wave running over the centre. Below that, Cannabis is in black cursive text, set out from the building's surface.
The NSLC Cannabis store on Clyde Street in Halifax in June 2021. Photo: Zane Woodford

Falling cannabis prices are taking a bite out of the illicit market in Nova Scotia, according to the province’s official cannabis retailer,” reported Jack Julian for the CBC Monday.

More retail stores opening around the province and dropping prices — a nearly 40% drop since 2018 when it was legalized — supposedly means more people are willing to buy their weed legally these days. Sales are up 20%, according to figures from NSLC’s second quarter.

As Julian quotes NSLC spokesperson Bev Ware: “The whole intent of legalization was to make an impact on the illicit market.”

When I was living in Halifax, I was one block from the Clyde Street store, so when I bought “cannabis” — as the government likes to call it — I always bought it from the NSLC.

But most people I know still get at least half their stuff illegally. Being out in the Valley now, it’s pretty easy to find a friend who’s growing it in their backyard. And the difference between a $40 jar from someone you know and a $130 ounce — essentially the same volume — doesn’t make me want to go to the LC unless I have to.

But it’s been years since I actually got anything from a dealer. You know, one of those acquaintances you put up with so you can wind down after a long day at work. And the old school dealer already feels like a thing of the past, even if you don’t get your pot from a government-run monopoly.

Comedian John Mulaney put it best, speaking about the increasing number of states legalizing the plant. From his 2015 stand-up special, the Comeback Kid:

[N]ow it’s legal, and that is great news. Unless you’re a weed dealer, and then it is terrible news. And I don’t just mean because they’re about to lose out to I more feel bad for weed dealers ’cause they’re about to find out that we only showed them a certain amount of politeness because they had an illegal product. And we don’t show that same politeness to people who deliver legal products.

Like, when the Chinese food delivery guy comes, we don’t let him hang out after he’s delivered the Chinese food. And we don’t look the other way when he says weird shit to the girls we’re hanging out with… to try to preserve the relationship. And we definitely don’t give him some of the Chinese food. He’s never like, “Hey, can I get in on those dumplings?” And we’re like, “Yeah, we’re all friends.”

I don’t miss that much. I mean, it used to be nice to be able to grab an eighth at two in the morning if you wanted, but that’s not something I want very often.

The NSLC has offered consistency. You don’t have to make awkward small talk while the retailer fumbles through his backpack, spills nuts all over your coffee table while he weighs it, and then almost inevitably tries to stick around to hang for a bit.

I hate all the plastic the LC products use. And the horrible-smoking pre-roll joints they offer. (I think we should do like the cuban cigar rollers and just hire a bunch of college kids to roll them by hand until the machines get the hang of it). Plus, it’s super dry half the time. 

And the anti-septic, harshly lit white store rooms make me feel uneasy, like I’m in a hospital. They should add a few bean bag chairs and some soft orange lighting. Maybe have some random guy passed out on the couch by a TV that’s still on. It’d be a nice touch.

I’m glad to see illicit sales are still going down, though. 

There’s something to be said for knowing where you’re stuff is coming from. I know a lot of people who never would’ve touched the plant if it hadn’t been for government regulated stores.

If, like the CBC article says, the average price at the NSLC for a gram is $6.50, it’s already below street price before regulation. As long as friends grow plants, no one will ever get all their grass from a store — huge waste of money — but the old school weed dealer is gone, or at least they will be soon.

A whole generation will grow up without ever having to deal with them. Lucky them.

Here’s to the weed dealer. May he find something better to do with his time.

P.S. The biggest money saver when it comes to dope is not smoking at all. Saves a lot of time, too.

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Noticed: Update at Rocky Point Lake Road

This is something that was noticed by some concerned Nova Scotians a couple weeks ago, and it’s long overdue for a mention in Morning File.

a sign posted by Westfor in the woods near Rocky Point Lake cautions people that there's an industrial worksite ahead.
Photo: Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki/NS

The renewed cutting at Rocky Point Lake Road in Digby County was recently discovered by activist Nina Newington, after a man in the area tipped her off to the signs and machinery he saw on the logging road. Newington appeared on CBC’s Information Morning last week, and Emma Smith and Phlis McGregor followed up with an article a few days later.

I thought it might be time to revisit the issue, as quickly and succinctly as I can, regarding what’s going on there, and what led up to it. Something to get us non-naturalists back up to speed. (With a little help from some past Examiner reporting, of course).

At stake here are the health of endangered species like the mainland moose, the protection of the province’s biodiversity, and the implementation and enforcement of sustainable forestry practices are key concerns. This is as simple and succinct a recap as I can provide here. It’s meant as a quick refresher, not the be-all-end-all report on the situation at Rocky Point Lake Road. If you want a deeper dive, click on some of the links to past Examiner reports I’ve included here:

1998: Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) is brought into legislation. Section 2(1) lists the purpose of the Act. (I’ve emboldened points particularly pertinent to the cutting near Rocky Point Lake Road):

(1) The purpose of this Act is to provide for the protection, designation, recovery and other relevant aspects of conservation of species at risk in the Province, including habitat protection, while recognizing the following:

(a) the goal of preventing any species in the Province from becoming extirpated or extinct as a consequence of human activities;

(b) the conservation of species at risk is a key component of a broader strategy to maintain biodiversity and to use biological resources in a sustainable manner;

(c) the commitment of Government to a national co-operative approach for the conservation of species at risk, as agreed to in the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk;

(d) all Nova Scotians share responsibility for the conservation of species at risk and governments have a leadership role to play in this regard;

(e) Nova Scotians be provided with the opportunity for meaningful participation in relation to conservation of species at risk;

(f the aboriginal peoples of the Province have an important role in conserving species at risk;

(g) the importance of promoting the purposes of this Act primarily through non-regulatory means such as co-operation, stewardship, education and partnerships instead of punitive measures, including such preventative actions as education, incentives, sustainable management practices and integrated resource management; and

(h) the precautionary principle that a lack of full scientific certainty must not be used as a reason for postponing measures to avoid or minimize the threat of a species at risk in the Province. 

2003: The mainland moose is declared an endangered species in Nova Scotia. The fate of the mainland moose is a major reason for concern over the current logging at Rocky Point Lake. Moose need mature softwood for shelter in the winter and shade in the summer. They also require at least a quarter of trees in a forest to be hardwood, for food. So clear cuts and logging roads are incredibly harmful to the habitat of a rapidly declining moose population.

A mainland moose standing in the middle of a field.
The Mainland Moose. Photo: Barbara Delicato / Nova Scotia Department of Lands & Forestry

2011: Natural Resources Strategy is published. The strategy pledges to reduce clearcutting to 50% of harvests on Crown Land. In 2016, the province releases a five-year progress report on the progress of the strategy, dropping that pledge.

2015: East Coast Environmental Law Association publishes report entitled “Protected on Paper Only: Evaluation of Nova Scotia’s legal obligations to protect and recover mainland moose and other species-at-risk.” If you can’t tell by the title, it was not flattering to the province’s efforts to uphold its obligations under the ESA.

The Association updated the report in 2019. “That update,” writes the ECE Law Association in 2021, “made it clear that the Government of Nova Scotia’s track record had not only not improved since 2015 but had actually worsened, and we called on Nova Scotia’s Minister of Lands and Forestry (“the Minister”) to meet his legal obligations under the Act by:

  • completing species recovery and management plans that are required by the Act
  • and ensuring that all recovery plans include areas to be considered for designation as “core habitat” (“specific areas of habitat essential for the long-term survival and recovery of endangered or threatened species” – ESA).”

That report found that the minister of Lands and Forestry had met the ESA’s requirements for just 23 of the 63 species listed as endangered in Nova Scotia.

The report was then updated again this year, prompted by a decision from Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court that found the province was failing to meet its own obligations under the ESA. More on that soon.

2016: WestFor, a consortium of 12 mills, is granted lease to manage some of the Bowater woodlands in western Nova Scotia. There are now 13 mills in the consortium. It will lease the land, and be approved

2017: Figures released from the National Forestry Database indicate that the proportion of trees removed by clearcutting in Nova Scotia continued to increase in recent years. From the Examiner’s report on the numbers:

The National Forestry Database shows that out of a total of 34,777 hectares harvested in 2015, an estimated 30,937 hectares of publicly and privately owned woodland, or 88.95 per cent, were clearcut. That’s the highest combined total in five years. The figure is considered an “estimate” because of uncertainty related to cutting on private woodlots.

TOTAL CLEARCUTS: (Crown & Private lands combined)

  2015: 30,937 of 34,777  hectares —   89%

2014: 28,350 of  32,187  hectares —   88%

Aug. 2018: A year-long review of forestry practices in Nova Scotia, led by University of King’s College President Bill Lahey, is published. The report says the top priority of forestry practices must be to “protect ecosystems and biodiversity.” Lahey recommended the province take a three-pronged, ecological approach to forests:

  1. No clearcutting in protected areas and parks,
  2. Increased clearcutting on lands where generally one species of tree is grown and intensely cultivated (for a specific use such as pulp and paper), and
  3. Reduced clearcutting in the rest of the Province where the forest is made up of multi-age and multi-species trees, including the Acadian forest.

The report also recommends the province require a process equivalent to an environmental assessment by an independent third party before granting or renewing harvesting allocations on Crown lands for forestry companies. The report says the purpose is to “ensure that forestry on Crown land will adhere to the principles of ecological forestry.” At the time of the report, 30% of the Nova Scotia’s forest was Crown Land — land owned by the public and managed by the province — which leases much of it, as it does to Westfor with the Bowater Mersey lands in western Nova Scotia.

More generally, the Lahey report also says, “the Department of Natural Resources (recently renamed Lands and Forestry) must deeply and pervasively embrace a culture of transparency and accountability. It must dramatically increase its reliance on science…that is needed to move Nova Scotia in the direction of ecological forestry with healthy forests and thriving forest-based industries.”

None of these recommendations have yet to be implemented by the province.

Feb. 2019: A number of naturalists, led by Bob Bancroft, sue the province for its failure to meet its legal obligations under the ESA.

A photo of Bob Bancroft, Richard Beasley, and Dr. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen
L to R: Bob Bancroft, Federation of NS Naturalists; Richard Beasley, Halifax Field Naturalists; Dr. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Blomidon Naturalists Society challenge the Department of Lands & Forestry in court. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

From Jennifer Henderson’s report for the Examiner at the time:

The naturalists’ claim states as of January 1, 2019, there are 34 listed endangered, threatened and vulnerable species for which the Minister is in arrears in respect of mandatory requirements under the Endangered Species Act.

Under the Act, recovery teams and recovery plans are supposed to be in place one year after a species is identified as endangered, with a review every five years to assess progress. Plans are supposed to be in place within two years for threatened species and within three years for plants and animals classified as vulnerable. If these rules sound overly bureaucratic, they exist as an accountable means toward achieving biodiversity — a goal endorsed by the Lahey Report on Forestry and accepted by the McNeil government in December [2018].

“Protecting ecosystems and biodiversity should not be balanced against other objectives or values,” said author Bill Lahey. “Instead, protecting and enhancing ecosystems should be the objective (the outcome) of how we balance environmental, social, and economic objectives and values in practicing forestry in Nova Scotia.”

This lawsuit is about walking that walk.

To avoid overburdening the court, the naturalists chose six of 36 vulnerable, threatened or endangered species to demonstrate omissions by Lands and Forestry (as required by the Endangered Species Act) to adequately protect wildlife.

  • Example #1: The Mainland Moose: The animal was declared endangered in 2003. In 2004 a recovery team was appointed. But it wasn’t until 2007 that a recovery plan was in place, and it wasn’t reviewed until 2014 (7 years later, a breach of Sec. 15(11) which requires reviews every 5 years). Naturalists say the 2007 recovery plan did not identify core habitat as required under the Act, Section 15(4). 

April 2019: An Examiner report includes two telling quotes from naturalist Bob Bancroft (as in, Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forests)).

  1. Comparing the area of forest cover in Nova Scotia to a bank account, he says “we are down to our last month’s rent.”
  2. “I know contractors who have cut the same property twice in their lifetime. These trees are only 30 years of age.” Old growth forest include stands that are over 125 years old.

May 2019: A CBC investigation finds the mainland moose, which was listed as an endangered species in 2003, is in serious trouble. The CBC acquired the results of aerial surveys done by scientist Thomas Millette in 2017 and 2018;  the Department of Lands and Forestry had directed him to survey parts of the province’s mainland where moose were likely to be found. From Phlis McGregor’s article:

In the early 1900s thousands of mainland moose roamed Nova Scotia. By the 1930s there were only around 3,200 left, a number that fell to 1,000 by the early 2000s. Now, according to one of Millette’s estimates, there could be fewer than 100 mainland moose remaining in the wild.

May 12, 2020: The exiting Auditor General finds Lands and Forestry slow to enact changes on forestry practices.

May 30 2020: Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court decides in favour of naturalists suing province and orders the government to obey its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. In the time since the case began, the province had been playing catchup on its endangered species duties, naming recovery teams and establishing recovery plans to assist seven species listed as threatened or endangered. It also introduced a new Biodiversity Act in that time. More on that in a bit.

Blockade near Rockypoint Lake in Digby County. Photo contributed

Oct. 2020: In response to the government’s approval of harvesting on Crown Land near New France in Digby County (leased to WestFor), a number of activists, many associated with Nova Scotia’s chapter of Extinction Rebellion, set up camp on a logging road near Rocky Point Lake. The campers told the Department of Lands and Forestry they would stay to block cutting in the area until the province halted all operations there, and conducted an independent review to establish best management practices that would protect nearby mainland moose by establishing the core habitat necessary for their recovery.

In December, Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction preventing protestors from blocking roads to licensed harvesting sites at Rocky Point Lake and Napier Lake in Digby County. On December 15, nine protestors were arrested by the RCMP for ignoring the injunction.

Oct. 2020: The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs write an open letter to then minister of Lands and Forestry, Derek Mombourquette, expressing their concerns over protection of mainland moose in the southwest of the province. In the letter, the Assembly demanded that logging near Fourth Lake (just north of Rocky Point Lake) be halted “until a full mainland moose assessment is done.” The Assembly asserted its rights to moose stewardship under s. 35 of the Constitution Acts, demanding consultation with the government on moose activity in the area.

March 2021: The province’s Supreme Court grants WestFor a permanent injunction to prevent protestors from blocking roads to the two sites mentioned above. The judge in that case ruled against a request from WestFor to broaden or extend that injunction to other sites licensed to the consortium in 2017 by the Department of Lands & Forestry. The judge didn’t order the protestors to pay the costs of the legal proceeding, writing:

I am not prepared to award costs as against Extinction Rebellion. This organization, and similar public interest groups, are well-intentioned and play a role in our modern-day democracy.

March 2021: Iain Rankin’s government introduces the Biodiversity Act bill. The bill had originally been introduced in 2019, but was withdrawn and revised “following extensive consultations with stakeholders including environmental groups, forestry industry representatives and private landowners,” to quote a March 11 media release from the province. It was intended to provide added protections to save and restore dwindling biodiversity in the province. In its original form, the government would have been able enforce the Act on private land, as well as publicly owned Crown land, allowing the province to prevent practices harmful to our environment’s biodiversity from occurring on land it doesn’t own.

Within two weeks of the bill’s introduction, a propaganda blitz led by lobby group Forest Nova Scotia — under the guise of the hastily created “Concerned Private Landowner Coalition — in the forestry industry pressured the government to revise the bill again. The lobby used ads that warned private landowners that “agriculture, Christmas tree growing, housing and road construction, forest management, farming livestock, and development” would all be “impacted” by the bill, and urged them to contact their MLA to oppose it.

A copy of a section of the Biodiversity Act in red font with much of that writing crossed out.
Entire sections of the Biodiversity Act were crossed out.

The revised bill passed two weeks later, a shadow of what it initially was. As the Examiner reported at the time:

Gutted from the Biodoversity Act were as many as 10 pages that would have allowed the government to create and enforce “biodiversity management zones” on private as well as Crown lands to protect the habitat of endangered species. Considering private landowners control 70% of the province’s landmass, [chair of Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute Lief] Helmer compared the gutting of Bill 4 to “the equivalent of testing for COVID-19 in one-third of our counties.”

Since the land near Rocky Point Lake is on Crown Land, and already licensed, the reduction of the Biodiversity Act had less of an impact on this particular situation, but I think it’s still worth recapping here.

Oct. 27, 2021: The new provincial government, led by Premier Tim Houston, introduces its new Environmental Bill. Implementation of recommendations in the Lahey Report will be delayed until 2023, five years and (at least) three premiers after the report was published. (Houston’s government also renamed the Department of Lands and Forestry to the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables.)

Oct 29, 2021: The Healthy Forest Coalition publishes a release, calling for the immediate halt to logging operations by Rocky Point Lake Road. Soon after, a post on the Nova Scotia Forest Notes website stated that logging operations appeared to have ceased, with news that the machinery and signage had returned to the site. But the post was quickly updated with a statement from the local Extinction Rebellion chapter, saying cutting had resumed.

The courts have ruled against forming blockades there, the province has lost a court case saying they must do better to carry out their responsibilities under the ESA, and activists continue to call for a pause on cutting until a review of the mainland moose population and the surrounding habitat is conducted.

Next week, members of Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia, the Healthy Forest Coalition, and other interested parties plan to protest the cutting near Rocky Point Lake Road outside the office of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables.

The province also recently put out a news release, saying they’re seeking public input regarding an update to the policy that protects old-growth forests on Crown land.

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On campus




Saint Mary’s



Mount Saint Vincent






In the harbour

10:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11:00: Thunder Bay, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Charlottetown
11:30: Navios Unite, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
15:00: One Helsinki, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk, Virginia
21:30: Ijsselborg, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Szczecin, Poland

Cape Breton
No arrivals or departures.


  • Canada’s men’s soccer team beat Mexico 2-1 last night in a classic. The Canadians were up 2-0 shortly into the second half, but nearly blew it in injury time. The Mexicans scored in the 89th minute to cut Canada’s lead in half, then nearly tied it off a corner in the 92nd minute. A thrilling goal-line save kept the score 2-1. The below-freezing temperatures in Edmonton surely played to Canada’s advantage. The Canadians now has the best record (4-0) in the North American/Central American/Caribbean group of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Hard to believe we could be seeing the men’s team in the World Cup. Following Olympic Gold for the women’s team in August, this has to be the most successful year in Canadian soccer history. Definitely in my lifetime. If you missed it and want to watch 90 minutes boiled down to six minutes of highlights (the best way to watch a match, in my opinion), you can see them here.
  • As mentioned above, Tim Bousquet was busy speaking with students at King’s College all day yesterday, but has returned to his editorial duties this morning. Be on the lookout for a few more Examiner articles coming out today.
  • Apparently the global supply chain disruption is now impacting Guinness stock. I’d better hit the pub stat.

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Ethan Lycan-Lang is a Morning File regular, and also writes about environmental issues, poverty, justice, and the rights of the unhoused. He's currently on hiatus in the Yukon, writing for the Whitehorse...

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  1. ‘Can only echo Margie MacDonald’s comments about the pleasure of stepping away from the CH and becoming a regular subscriber to the Halifax Examiner, surely it’s one of the better choices I have made in life! Thx so much for the detailed history of the Mainland Moose issue and much more every day about life in NS. It all says ‘We can do better’.

  2. Thanks for the mention of the men’s national football squad. The men’s team hasn’t made the World Cup since 1986.

    I remember 1986 (barely) and 35 years later this group is on the verge of qualifying for the event in Qatar.

    Yes FIFA is corrupt and yes Qatar should never have been given the World Cup but to see Canada on a truly world stage at the highest level in the world’s game makes the last 35 years of disappointment and frustration almost worthwhile.

    The men are finally playing on a level the women reached years ago. Christine Sinclair or Alphonso Davies? Why choose?

    Canada is coming out on the world stage. I hope the country and the world is ready.

    1. I choose Alphonso Davies – because he is a top class player at the highest level of the sport and at a much higher level than female soccer players.