“Never mind the dry spell in the weather,” I message Tim. “What’s up with how dry the news is lately?” Except I have a degree in English and stuff, so my message looked more like “WTFffffffff Tim. Wtf is wrong w the news.” Which I message Tim at some point basically every Friday.


Forecast for news: DRY.

Tim, being long suffering, writes me back, you don’t have to write about the news necessarily, you can write about anything you find interesting.

Tim, I am a SESSIONAL INSTRUCTOR in an institute of higher learning. I do not have TIME to think and reflect and find things interesting!


Then I was over at CKDU because they have couches, and because I am tapped, I was all, “Russell!”

Russell’s face was like, oh God.

“There is NO NEWS, Russell!” I said. “GO BURN A CROSS SOMEWHERE.”

This is a joke between us because Russell is a well-known Grand Dragon. No, he’s not, I’m kidding!

(I once met this person who told me about how their great-grandfather or something like that died, and when the family went to clean out his house, they found all these historic KKK uniforms in his attic, and it turned out he was really high up in the local Klan. So then they were like, on the one hand these uniforms have historical value and maybe we should donate them to the museum, but on the other hand, holy shit Gramps was in the Klan. So they ended up burning them.)

Russell’s face was like:


But he rallied, and was like, “Huh, I’m all out of wood.”

Except THIS was literally behind him the whole time:


So then I texted “DYING” at people for about an hour instead of contemplating the news.

And then, as inevitably happens, whenever I can’t find any news to write about and I’m sitting there like this…


…is always when some wonderful Examiner reader comes up and tells me how much they love the Examiner and they’re really looking forward to my column. And inwardly, knowing I have NO NEWS, I’m like:


Anyway, let’s see what the news is, shall we?

1. Pie-gration

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with this story about rappie pie. It’s nice. It’s just there’s not a lot of trenchant political commentary in news like this:

“It looks like a fried gelatin type of substance on your plate. There’s not much colour to it,” said the co-owner of the Early Harvest Diner in Wakefield, Mass., about 25 minutes north of Boston.”

Or this:

Rappie pie’s texture is a crucial detail for its fans. Some like it runny, while some like it hard. At Early Harvest, it’s somewhere in the middle.

Lyle helped teach the Early Harvest staff how to make it.

“I figured hard won’t be happy with soupy and soupy won’t be happy with hard but, in between, if you haven’t had rappie pie in a while, you’ll be satisfied,” she said.

At this point, I went to make a joke about “rapping pie” (“And then the police came and shot the pie but it was okay because it posted lyrics on Facebook”) and I found this video:

YouTube video

Halifax Examiner. Now with Bronies.

(I once had a class convinced that the entire Canadian military was composed of Bronies. I was teaching something about Bronies and masculinity, and I mentioned that my brother is in the military and they talk about My Little Pony in the office, and then I got all these essays analyzing Canada’s military policy in light of My Little Pony.)


If I were clever, I’d say, “Hey Examiner readers! What texture do you like your rappie pie?” And then there’d be 100 comments. And if I worked for one of those publications that gives bonuses for page hits, I would be under strict instructions to end every story with a question (“Do YOU have any wacky experiences with Klan in your family? Let us know below!”) But I work for Tim who pays us anyway, so such strategies are unnecessary.



The Chronicle Herald ownership promptly released a statement condemning the commie pie, known for feeding those terrorist union sympathizers in rural Cape Breton.


2. Tim’s Kitty Iniquity in the City

This story is both cute and sad. An 11-year-old girl is hosting a memorial for people grieving missing and dead cats.

I’m just saying, it’s hard to have sharp analysis of this kind of thing.

Also, I KNOW THE PERPETRATOR. I have PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE (up to Halifax Regional Police standards):


Is it really a surprise that professed child hater Tim Bousquet would also be abducting cats from around the city?

Did Tim steal your cat? Comment below. (Cue multiple comments by Halifax’s business elite.)

3. Step up your game, Canadian racists!

So while I was learning of Tim’s catnapping, I noticed this story about a student at Mount Royal University in Calgary wearing a Trump “Make America Great Again” hat.

On Wednesday, a video posted on Facebook picked up steam on both sides of a larger argument brewing on campuses in the states as well: supporting Donald Trump with his famous trucker hat is racially charged, or in this video’s instance, deemed hate speech.

The clip shows [Matt] Linder in a verbal altercation with Zoe Slusar, who asked him to take off his offending cap. In the video, she says if he doesn’t remove the red hat, she will call on the school’s president, David Docherty, to demand he take it off.

“It was impossible to communicate to him why wearing a hat in support of a movement grown on the seeds of racism, bigotry and exclusion of diversity (sexual and cultural) could make some people afraid,” Slusar wrote on Facebook. “People came out of the woodwork around us to support the hat, and after insulting me, they began filming my “crazy” behaviour at asking him to not wear the hat on campus.”

According to Linder:

“I understand some people think Trump is this incredibly hateful racist person and that my support of him makes me a hateful racist person,” he said. “I used to think too that when Trump first started his campaign. Then I actually looked beyond the hyperbole at what Trumps policies are and saw pictures and videos of Black, Latino, and LGBTQ Trump supporters… regardless of what I was supporting, I’m a student in a publicly-funded university, that means my freedom of expression is protected.”


Do they still have mandatory statistics courses for students in social sciences? Saying that Trump has Black and LGBTQ supporters is like saying that when the police make large busts that they trumpet (pun!) to the media the charges always stick. I mean, sure, there’s a couple, but overall it’s not a thing.

My friend actually texted me on Tuesday that a guy in her political science class at Dalhousie was wearing a Trump hat. I was all, “that’s cool, because I saw a guy wearing a Dalhousie Dentistry shirt.”

I asked her if anyone said anything about the hat, and she said “No, but the professor looked perplexed.”

It’s probably killing him that no-one’s confronting him about it, actually. He’s probably itching to be “oppressed” in class about his hat. NOW HE KNOWS HOW BLACK PEOPLE FEEL BUT WORSE.

The thing I actually find most ridiculous is students in Canada who want to make a point about racism wearing hats about America. Come on, guys, there’s more than enough homegrown racism you can explore right here! Why don’t you carry around one of those racist lawn jockeys you still see in rural Nova Scotia sometimes to class instead?

Image from historymaniacmegan.com
Image from historymaniacmegan.com

Or just wear a Sobeys apron or something. Or a Leon’s shirt.

It’s like the popularity of the Confederate flag in Nova Scotia, and the rebranding of the symbols of enslavement as representing “rebels” and “rural pride.” The denial of racism in Canada, and the mythologies of Canada as the tolerant place where slavery never existed, allow people to import potent symbols of racism from the United States while claiming ignorance by hiding behind Canadian whitewashing of racist histories.

At the same time, it is exactly the perception that Canada is too “polite” for racism that makes images like Trump hats attractive to people: they imagine that racism is an edgy transgression in Canada and that by reaching for these symbols, they are courageously standing up against political correctness. It is precisely because racism is imagined as an American thing that Canadians will covet the symbols of American racism to express themselves. A Trump hat in Canada doesn’t just represent what Donald Trump stands for, it also represents the success in the popular imagination in Canada in erasing our histories of racism.

In reality of course, they could just look at the names on the streets and buildings around them if they want some local inspiration. Seriously, people, JUST WEAR A DALHOUSIE SHIRT. Lord Dalhousie was pretty Trumpy himself:

There are documented statements from George Ramsay expressing views on race, slavery, and settlers and freed slaves of African descent that are far removed from the inclusive language he laid out for his university vision: statements that suggest a desire to return newly freed slaves to their masters, for example, or which view freed slaves as “incapable of industry.”

Geez, life is so hard when the SJWs don’t want you to be able to whip Black people. Better try to starve them out!

Refugee blacks sent from the United States during the War of 1812 posed an urgent problem. To avert starvation among them Dalhousie renewed an issue of government rations until June 1817, hoping that, if then settled on land and given seeds and implements, the refugees might subsist by their own efforts. With the British government urging economy, Dalhousie halved the number of recipients in the summer of 1817 by restricting rations to families who had cleared land and to the aged and infirm. He acknowledged, however, that most of the refugees would long require support, which neither the legislature nor the inhabitants were keen to provide. “Slaves by habit & education, no longer working under the dread of the lash,” he commented despairingly, “their idea of freedom is idleness and they are therefore quite incapable of Industry.” 

Make Lord Dalhousie Great Again!

Once in Nova Scotia, the Black Refugees encountered a government and society that resented their presence. In fact, the authorities tried repeatedly to remove them. In 1817 Lieutenant Governor Lord Dalhousie recommended to the British government that the refugees be returned to the United States or sent to Sierra Leone. However, he discarded the plan after visiting them and discovering that “none of them are willing to return to their masters, or to America.”

Despite this setback, Dalhousie soon arranged for the Black Refugees to be resettled in Trinidad. He waged an extensive campaign to convince them to leave. However, only 95 chose to emigrate to Trinidad in 1821. This was in sharp contrast to the exodus of free black Nova Scotians to Sierra Leone in 1792. The overwhelming majority of black settlers during and after the War of 1812 chose to stay in Nova Scotia, refusing to go to any country where slavery still existed.

Image from dal.ca
Image from dal.ca

In a city where people will rabidly defend the Cornwallis statue in the name of preserving a history they didn’t give two shits about until Mi’kmaq people explained why it offended them, it’s not like we need to reach to Donald Trump for racist motivation. I’m not offended at your hat, I’m offended at your lack of Canadian historical content! Go learn how to be a better racist, please.

I’m sure, though, that Trump hat wearers would like nothing better than to be told they can’t wear their hat to class so they can prove that white men have it worse than people of other races and they’re the only people you can discriminate against these days, etc. etc. Unlike the Confederate flag which has a long history of being a symbol of terror, efforts to ban Trump hats from campuses are unlikely to result in any action, and ultimately only add to the grief and stress of People of Colour on campus who then have to deal with the right-wing media screaming about reverse racism, and affirmative action, and politically correct bubbles. Just take comfort, a few decades from now some great-grandchild will be cleaning out their attic, and find a stash of Trump hats, and be horrified and embarrassed about what an idiot Grampy was.


4. Looking Clawfully Good

Back to news that’s difficult to do anything with, lobster quality is looking good.

What I learned from reading that story is that there’s a mandatory lobster handling course, which struck me as funny (lesson one: AVOID THE CLAWS) so I clicked on the link and this quote cracked me up:

“We’ve always been careful anyway,” he said. “We’re always trained not to drop a lobster..”

I mean, pretty much. 1) avoid claws. 2) don’t drop.

While the lobster fishermen are being forced to pay for lobster handling courses, Halifax Examiner enemy of the people John Risley is no doubt making bank off all the lobster marketing and “scientific lobstering.” Never is there a story about business in Nova Scotia that doesn’t have some shady “innovator” profiting and probably getting a government subsidy behind it.

Tim also might have stolen his cat.


Actual footage from inside Tim’s home.

5. Attica! Attica!

Attica furniture store, one of the businesses taking legal action against the Nova Centre for lost revenue, is moving from downtown.

Ugh, I literally gave up on having furniture because I move so often and I’d rather sit on the floor than move a couch into an apartment. Moving a whole furniture store is like an anxiety nightmare.

Representative footage of Tim Bousquet responding to this situation:

YouTube video

Look, I told you, ok? Just not a lot of juicy news out there today.


Editor’s note: No cats were harmed in the making of this Morning File.

El Jones is a poet, journalist, professor, community advocate, and activist. Her work focuses on social justice issues such as feminism, prison abolition, anti-racism, and decolonization.

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  1. Lobster claws are dangerous. I work in a hospital that sees a lot of lobster-fisherman come through with hand injuries. Nine times out of 10, the injuries are from the horn at the front of the lobsters head. When the claws are bound, they try to lunge that horn around as a last-ditch effort. It’s pretty effective.

    My proposal: we shrink every Trump hat to lobster size and distribute them among the local lobster population. Fisherman would be protected, and we’d see a basic reflection of the actual demographic of Trump supporters: scavenging sea crustaceans. HA!

    Even I didn’t know how I would tie that together!

  2. I did some research on the Klan in NB a few years back, and still have their bylaws and copies of documents somewhere. People are surprised to learn it was quite active here in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was mostly so in southern NB, but there were klaverns in the north too. And yes, people are shocked to learn their grandfathers and great-grandfathers belonged. As for the robes, I tried without success to track some down. I suspect they met the fate you describe. They would be interesting historical artifacts for the local museum, to show to those people here who refuse to believe it existed in spite of ample documentary evidence to the contrary. Not to mention the testimony of elders too. In NB, the Klan was as white supremacist as elsewhere, but mainly directed its actions against Roman Catholics, particularly French speaking Roman Catholics. In border areas it sometimes held joint events with the American Klan, but it was in fact a separate organization. I understand there was one in eastern Canada (including Ontario) and another in western Canada, but they seem to have gotten along. The one in eastern Canada split when the man who brought the Klan to Canada, a minister named Fowler, was chucked out because the membership felt he was in it to line his own pockets. He promptly set up a rival eastern Klan, but as best as I can tell, it never caught on like the first one he started . This original eastern Klan seems to have been made up of the more extreme members of the Orange Lodge. It seems to have died out because members couldn’t see the point of paying dues to two organizations; plus it was seen as American and non-British, although it was separate from the US Klan although set up the same way. I also think that the Second World War help put an end to it too. The Klan that was around in the 1970s was not, as best as I know, related to this original Klan. But in some small towns in the 20s and 30s the Klan had a great deal of influence…at one point the owner and editor of the Carleton County Sentinel in Woodstock NB were Klansmen,which led Catholics to boycott it. I don’t know much about the Klan in Nova Scotia, although it would have been part of the same eastern Klan organization. I suspect it was probably way more into white supremacist actions than in NB, where, as I say, they seem to have been preoccupied with fighting against rights for Acadians and the promotion of Catholics in business and government.

  3. I’m very on the fence about the Trump hat issue. I don’t think it’s necessarily an expression of racial prejudice, or an expression of anything more than ignorance. I don’t think that it’s necessarily an aggression (micro or otherwise) against any group of people. As much as I dislike Trump, and pretty much everything that he represents, I don’t think that anyone should be harassed for wearing a stupid trucker hat that says “Make America Great Again”. Also, as El pointed out more eloquently than I could hope to, there’s almost certainly a contingent of Trump hat wearers that are seeking controversy and to cry that they’re being oppressed. Honestly, I think the best way to deal with it is to make a mental note that the wearer is either an idiot, or is trying to be edgy with the “ironic clothing” fad, and ignore them and move along. If we ignore them, they’ll go away on their own sooner or later, or maybe abandon their own fashion because it’s been co-opted by hipsters.

    1. I agree. It’s a little more likely to be someone being edgy if they’re wearing a Trump hat outside of the United States, but especially within the United States, well, he’s the Republican candidate.

      On the other hand, the video of him being harassed has a quarter million views:


      If his goal was to contribute to Trump’s election, he’s probably ultimately going to be responsible for a few votes south of the border – more than he’d be able to cast if he were an American.

      It is kind of funny, I remember the Bush administration when left wing types were afraid that George Bush was going to use the PATRIOT act to impose a christian theocracy on the United States or something. Then Obama beat McCain, partially because of Palin, but mostly because of social media. Now Trump is the social media candidate and the left is incredibly salty that one guy with a $30 hat can get a quarter million views (plus all the related news coverage) of a likely very privileged young lady being a whiny idiot to a (likely also pretty privileged) white Trump supporter who keeps his cool throughout the encounter.

  4. You write about nonews (my cousin who lives in Toledo once wrote a family newsletter which he called NONews – meaning northern Ohio news) better than many writers write about news – I’m thinking of most of the political “journalists” writing about Hillary Clinton for the New York Times.

    And I learn stuff always – rappie pie and more about Canadian racism which makes me think more about the racism here in the USofA.

    Love the kitty pics too.

    Thanks for another Saturday filled with stuff I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t read you.

  5. El, you are an amazingly intelligent and gifted writer. (And I’m glad you finally exposed Tim’s evil obsession with abducting cats.)

  6. I am curious about the “popularity of the confederate flag in Nova Scotia”. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life in NS, much of it in rural or semi-rural areas, and I’ve never seen one with my own eyes. There was that truck in Truro and the student in Bridgewater that I saw in the news, so I know they exist, but I’ve never thought of them as popular. In what part of the province are they popular?

    1. Can’t speak for now, but in the dinosaur days of the early 90s, they were a hot commodity as a poster or to sub in as drapes in many a dorm room.

  7. Gee, Tim, lucky guess about “innovation” handouts going to millioniares/bazillionaires… the latest, privately held NB-based, ($1B+ ann revs) Cooke Aquaculture just handed $3.27M innovation grant/loan to perfect washing sea lice off of salmon who have been locked up with a million other fishes in cages on bays and harbours where they catch the lice. Don’t get me talking about the $50M+ Cooke has squeezed from the feds over the years when their fish get infectious salmon anemia (ISA) over and over and over. Cagney would say, “Wadda beautiful racket you got here, Charley.”. See latest Cooke deal here: http://www.southcoasttoday.ca/content/cooke-aqua-nets-another-327-million-feds

      1. I want to see you two dig into the rot and mold on the Shelburne Bowood property ( Tim I brazenly tagged you on the other Tim’s article ) Pretend Shelburne is part of a vastly expanded HRM.

  8. Growing up west end Montreal in the 70’s, the “boy fishing” version of those lawn jockeys appeared in our neighbourhood. late each night, the current owner would move the offending statue to someone else’s yard. It finally landed on the yard of the African-Canadian family around the corner, who promptly came outside, painted it white and left it there. I can’t remember how long it remained, but it was quite a while.

  9. American racism will always be sexier than the Canadian version. Perhaps we need a Trump style racist to run for Prime Minister.

    Stephen Harper was too Canadian. Maybe Doug Ford will fit the bill. Kevin O’Leary?