I’m Erica Butler, your Examiner transportation columnist, sitting in on Morning File today.


1. Randy Riley case

Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Last Tuesday, there was dramatic moment in Supreme Court, worthy of its own Law & Order episode,” reported Tim yesterday:

In the course of its prosecution of Randy Riley for the 2010 murder of Chad Smith, the crown called its witness Nathan Johnson. Johnson took the stand and — bam! — said that he, and he alone, killed Chad Smith. Randy Riley had nothing to do with it, said Johnson.

That testimony threw the crown’s case into disarray.

Johnson’s courtroom confession happened last Tuesday, so why are you only reading about it on the following Monday? Because there was no reporter in the courtroom when it happened.

Click here to read “The Randy Riley trial: how news media are falling down on the job.”

2. Pot dispensary robbed at gunpoint

From a police release this morning:

At 9:39 p.m. police responded to a report of a robbery at the Scotia Green Dispensary located at 5982 Spring Garden Road. Initial information was that two males, with their faces covered, entered the store with at least one suspect armed with guns. The suspect fled on foot after stealing product and cash from the business and property and cash from a number of patrons that were inside the business. A search of the area by K9, ERT and patrol was conducted but the suspects were not located. Members of the Integrated General Investigation Section are investigating and have determined that the incident occurred approximately 30 minutes prior to the call to police.  

3. Lawyers behaving badly

Former Knowledge House lawyer Blois Colpitts has decided voluntarily to shut down his law practice, reports Jack Julian of the CBC.

Blois was convicted of fraud on March 9th, and will be sentenced in May. Julian caught the news on the website of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society, which posted a notice stating Colpitts, “has voluntarily withdrawn from the practice of law effective today, on an interim basis, until further notice.” So far, no mention of further disciplinary action against Colpitts.

4. New south end school to have a lockdown system

Nova Scotia is, apparently, investing in the idea that automated security is the answer to the threat of school shootings. CBC reporter Frances Willick reports that the new elementary school to replace LeMarchant-St. Thomas will have a $25,000 button activated lockdown system triggering announcements, locks, strobe lights, and an LED sign outside the school indicating it is in lockdown.

5. Smiling Goat evicted from Kings Wharf

Local retail reporter extraordinaire, Halifax ReTales, posted a picture of a Notice of Distraint attached to the doors of the Smiling Goat location at Kings Wharf.

The Smiling Goat (formerly Just Us) at Kings Wharf is done, locks changed, Baliff Notice of Distraunt on the door pic.twitter.com/wykSQcx1t6

— Halifax ReTales (@HalifaxReTales) April 9, 2018

6.  The “occult” family doctor shortage in Halifax

Red zone shows where doctor shortage hurts the most. According to information published April 1, 23,709 Metro residents need family doctors, up 702 since March. Graphic via Bill Turpin

Bill Turpin follows up his coverage of the doctor shortage in Nova Scotia after interviewing Wendy Walters, Senior Communications Advisor, Physician Relations for the NSHA. It turns out Halifax has developed the worst physician shortage in the province due to “bureaucratic oversight.” The provincial Department of Health and Wellness apparently didn’t notice Halifax had a problem for the five years it was working on the problem in the rest of the province.

The family doctor issue acquired a public profile sometime around 2009, but was assumed to be a strictly rural issue until 2016, when the Nova Scotia Health Authority brought Halifax in from the cold.

Turpin goes on to postulate the source of the oversight:

DHW had reports noting “… almost 60 per cent of physicians (are) located in Halifax.” True, but that number included specialists, and NS had 30 per cent more specialists than the Canadian average (see Physician Supply, Environmental Scan, Page 14, and Shaping our Physician Workforce, Page 4). I’m guessing that no one thought to ask how many of those doctors in Halifax were specialists and how many were family MDs.

If I may borrow a medical term, we had an “occult” family doctor shortage in Halifax, i.e., hidden by all the specialists and clouded by the exhaust from their Porsches.

7. Bloomfield Now?

Bloomfield School. Photo: Hilary Beaumont

Imagine Bloomfield has been trying to get something interesting to happen at the former Bloomfield School in Halifax’s north end for going on two decades. Today at 6:30pm, they are holding a public meeting with an “invited guest from the city” to help mobilize around the idea of forming a community-run not-for-profit cultural and arts centre at the site.  The group’s event posting states:

The city hasn’t made any firm decisions yet, so now is the time to come together to mobilize. We need to show that there is a need for community-run arts spaces in the North End, and that we are capable of making this happen.

8. Matt Whitman wastes more of everyone’s time

Jacob Boon of The Coast reports on councillor Matt Whitman’s complaint to the CBC over the use of recorded comments about his retweet of a white supremacist group, and the CBC ombudsman’s response. Whitman says CBC reporter Emma Davie failed to inform him that his comments were on the record and being recorded, and he was “shocked” to hear his comments broadcast later on CBC.  CBC News managing editor Nancy Waugh acknowledged that Davie “should have been clearer about the circumstances of the call,” but also noted, “an experienced politician might well assume that his response to any reporter is on the record and likely to be used publicly.”

Boon gives some context to the complaint:

Whitman has served as a member of Halifax Regional Council since 2012. He’s no stranger to media coverage; lately using his public platform to criticize outlets — including Global Halifax, CTV, StarMetro Halifax, the Chronicle Herald and The Coast — whose coverage he doesn’t agree with. 

The ombudsman made no definitive ruling on the question of recording, as Davie’s initial recording of Whitman was deleted due to a technical glitch.  As for warning for being ‘on record’, the ombudsman points out, “it is common journalistic practice, especially when dealing with public figures, that the default is the conversation and comments are reportable, from the moment the reporter identifies him or herself and the conversation begins.”

Just for the heck of it, here is the transcript of Davie’s second interview with Whitman, the one she used in her report for broadcast.


Hi Matt, it’s Emma Davie calling back from CBC.


Hi there …


Hi, so I saw you deleted the tweet, I just wanted to touch base again just, I guess, to see if there is anything else that you wanted to add. It sounds like you really didn’t know.


I had no idea.


You had no idea. You didn’t think to click on it, and, like, look at the group a bit more?


Never, there was a letter written to the Council and the Mayor and I re-tweeted it, I didn’t click on their website and I have never met them, had coffee with them or know them at all.


Okay, I mean, will you, I guess, next time going forward are you gonna be more cautious of that kind of thing, do you think?


It’s just that a letter sent to the Mayor and Council and they tweeted it and I re-tweeted it and I didn’t have a chance to find out what their background was, who they are, where they are, and since you brought it to my attention I deleted it.  


Anything else you wanted to add?


I guess that’s the top story of the day.


Great, thanks Matt, bye.


A man in Queensland has built a remote controlled Star Wars TIE Fighter replica.

The ‘force’ is strong as N.S. man builds Star Wars TIE Fighter https://t.co/a7YK5lZs1s

— CTV Atlantic (@CTVAtlantic) April 10, 2018




City Council (Tuesday, 1pm, City Hall) — discussion of bikes on ferries, the Khyber, low income transit passes, and of course the convention centre. I’ll be live-blogging the meeting via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer.


Cogswell District Engagement Booth (Wednesday, 11am, Centre Court, Scotia Square) — all about Cogswell.



Legislature Sits (Tuesday, 1pm-10pm, Province House)


No public meetings.

On campus



Engineering Capstone Conference (Tuesday, 8:30am, The Westin Nova Scotia) — senior year Engineering students show off their projects.

Putting the Heart Into Youth Bipolar Disorder (Tuesday, 3:59pm, in the theatre named after a bank, Halifax Infirmary) — Ben Goldstein from the University of Toronto will talk about bipolar disorder and the risk of early-onset heart disease.​

No Child’s War: A Night of Performance and Storytelling (Tuesday, 6:30pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — El Jones emcees “musical performances and readings by children’s rights advocates and former child soldiers Evelyn Amony and Emmanuel Jal, with closing remarks by LGeneral (ret’d) Roméo Dallaire.” $17.25/ $28.75 Tickets here.


Thesis Defence, Interdisciplinary Program (Wednesday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Dennis Wong will defend his thesis, “Inferring Orthologous Relationships and Gene Transfer in Microbial Genomes and Metagenomes.​”

Medical Sciences Honours Symposium (Wednesday, 9:30am, Theatre B, Tupper Link) — Honours research projects from 16 different departments across Dalhousie.

200 Years of Dress (Wednesday, 12pm, Patrick J. Martin Council Chambers, Student Union Building) — until Saturday, an exhibit of costumes and clothing from the Theatre wardrobe and other donors.

Mitesh Nagar   Photo: researchgate.net
Mitesh Nagar   Photo: researchgate.net

2016 Patrick Prize Award Seminar (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Mitesh Nagar from the University of Massachusetts Medical School will speak on “Finding Keys to the ‘PAD’ Lock: Unraveling the Regulation of Protein Arginine Deiminases.”

Adelina Iftene   Photo: law.queensu.ca
Adelina Iftene   Photo: law.queensu.ca

Preserving the Rights of Aging Prisoners (Wednesday, 7pm, Room 2-29 Lecture Theatre, NSCC Cumberland Campus, Springhill) — Adelina Iftene will talk about the challenges older people face in receiving adequate health care in prison and how this devalues the rights guaranteed to prisoners by law. Rescheduled from March 21.

Saint Mary’s


What Does Ethical Banking and Financing Look Like? (Tuesday, 6:30pm, President’s Lodge, Atlantic School of Theology) — Goran Jeras from the Co-operative for Ethical Financing, Croatia, and Sonja Novkovic from Saint Mary’s University speak. $5 donation. Register here.

In the harbour

6am: Arsos, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Kingston, Jamaica
4pm: Viking Queen, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


We can all use a little sunshine.

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  1. Doctor shortage or failure of staff in Geog. 100 spatial distributions? Ex Geog – Prof.

  2. In the 2016 HRM election Matt Whitman received more votes than any other councillor in HRM and 54.75% of the ballots cast in the district with the highest turnout.

    In addition, the Official results on page 2 contain two significant errors showing total elector count for the African Nova Scotian and the Francophone positions on the school board as 288,277.
    Only persons identifying as African Nova Scotian or Francophone can vote for a candidate in those elections.

    1. I hold no brief for Matt Whitman, but if I were Emma Davie, I’d be embarrassed by that transcript. She keeps fishing for some statement of ritual contrition from MW, so certain is she that he did something wrong. She just can’t seem to get her head around the fact he (1) had no idea it was a hate group, (2) deleted the re-tweet when he learned it was, and (3) feels that’s sufficient response for an innocent mistake. Sounds sufficient to me. If she wants to be a journalist, Emma needs to extract herself from Halifax’s toxic lefty bubble.

      1. In criticism of Whitman, the twitter group was pretty obviously a hate group. It’s not like Whitman retweeted someone who two years ago made a racist tweet. In defence of Whitman, there is no point apologizing for real or imagined sins to nomenklatura like Emma Davie – it just makes you look weak, and only results in your critics doubling down.

  3. I guess the NS Barristers Society is too exhausted from slow-lynching black lawyers to be interested in disbarring Colpitts for his fraud conviction. They couldn’t kick out Lyle Howe fast enough the moment he was charged, and as soon as his appeal succeeded, they launched into years of investigations and impositions to all but choke him and his career out of existence. Must be very tiring.