1. Twenty years after the Marshall decision, DFO still has no agreement with First Nations communities over fishing management

It’s been twenty years since the Marshall decision (in which the Supreme Court of Canada found that Donald Marshall Jr. had a treaty right to fish for eels out of season) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has yet to form an agreement with Mi’kmaq communities about how to manage their fisheries that works in harmony with commercial fisheries management.

Meanwhile, there’s “escalating tensions” between commercial and Indigenous fishermen, as CBC News reports.

A group of Indigenous fishermen hauled traps brimming with lobster from waters off Digby, N.S., on Thursday to make a statement about their treaty rights amid escalating tensions with commercial fishermen.

The event came two weeks before the opening of the lucrative commercial lobster fishery in southwest Nova Scotia.

Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack said the group was simply exercising its right to fish for a moderate livelihood.

“We have a reserve. We have a lot of people in poverty, so it’s a revenue stream of our people and we’re here to support that,” said Sack.

And where is DFO during this? Twenty years in, issuing statements claiming they are working on the issue.

DFO did not appear to be at the event Thursday. But in a statement, spokesperson Debbie Buott-Matheson said fishery officers were on regular patrols and were monitoring activities at the wharfs.

Buott-Matheson said DFO has been working with First Nations to implement their right to fish for a “moderate livelihood,” as mentioned in the landmark Marshall ruling of 1999.

“Negotiating these agreements takes time and DFO looks forward to working in partnership with Indigenous communities on a stable, long-term approach to Indigenous fisheries,” she said.

2. Northern Pulp assessment timeline even shorter

Boat Harbour, Northern Pulp’s current effluent lagoon. Photo courtesy Dave Gunning. Credit: Dave Gunning

Nova Scotia Environment has posted Northern Pulp’s bid for environmental approval of an effluent treatment plant two weeks ahead of schedule. Public comments on the assessment will close on November 8th, and a decision is expected by December 17th.

In yesterday’s Morning File, Joan Baxter reported on the short timeline for the Northern Pulp assessment process, especially in light of the slow processes in place around Nova Scotia Environment investigations into leaks at the very same pulp mill. It seems that either government moves slowly, or it moves lightning fast. Here’s Baxter in a follow up comment to yesterday’s piece:

By my reckoning, the focus report and all the Appendices and Addenda, amount to more than 2,600 pages. How is any citizen to read and comment on such a huge amount of industry-funded research (with lots of PR mixed in) in 36 days? And I ask again what I asked in [yesterday’s] piece: how can Nova Scotia Environment deal with this amount of information and come up with a decision in such a short time, when it can’t do an investigation into a relatively minor pipeline spill from Northern Pulp in more than 11 months?

Reporting for the CBC, Michael Gorman notes that the current report was ordered after the company’s initial assessment application was found lacking back in March. And there is an imminent deadline looming, writes Gorman:

All of this is happening against the backdrop of the Boat Harbour Act, legislation passed nearly five years ago by Premier Stephen McNeil’s government that says the mill must stop pumping effluent into the former tidal estuary no later than Jan. 31, 2020.

3. Whitman for mayor

Matt Whitman

Tim Bousquet wrote this item.

The Glen Arbour Homeowners’ Association confirms what has been obvious for a year or more: Matt Whitman is running for mayor:

From: Glen Arbour <>
Sent: October 3, 2019 09:07
Subject: GLEN ARBOUR HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION: Councillor Matt Whitman for Mayor
Our City Councillor Matt Whitman has announced his intention to run for City Mayor in 2020.  He will be making a public announcement on October 30th -12:00 noon at grand parade outside City Hall.  He told us that he “would love to see the Glen Arbour folks there”.Matt has been a proactive supporter of Glen Arbour throughout his term as our Councillor.  He was instrumental in helping us obtain City approval for many of our special projects  — most recently the tennis courts and the basketball 1/2 court.  He actively supported the installation of speed signs and speed humps on GAW as well as the installation of a guard rail on GAW, etc. all in support of keeping our community safe.  Many of these projects were directly funded by Matt out of his discretionary funds.Matt’s continued support as City Councillor might be seen as a strong indication of how he would be as our City Mayor. It would be great to see a show of support for Matt on October 30th as he mentioned.Regards,Your GAHA 

The “discretionary funds” referred to in the email are the Capital District funds that councillors can spend on projects (usually) within the districts they represent. A couple of things should be noted here:

First, these funds are not “his” — Whitman’s — funds; they are public money provided to the city and thence to the councillors by citizens through their taxes. (It annoys me to no end when councillors talk about “my district” or “my funds”; such language completely nullifies the public.)

Second, the justification for the capital funds is that because councillors are regularly in touch with constituents they therefore best understand the districts’ needs, and so councillors should have the ability to quickly use capital funds in the districts without having to go through the regular bureaucratic process. That argument is, in a word, bogus. In reality, the capital funds are usually used for precisely the purpose illustrated in the Glen Arbour email: to curry favour with voters. That is, they are used as a bribe.

Several times through the years, citizens have told me that district capital funds have been used in a reverse fashion: that certain councillors have threatened to withhold funding to citizen groups if certain actions that benefit the councillor aren’t taken. I’ve looked into this, and while no one will go on the record about it, I believe them.

But besides all that, any councillor could land a half basketball court and a speed bump. FFS, Glen Arbour, that ain’t an exactly political courage or even particularly noteworthy.

4. Racially motivated assault in Cape Breton

Kyle Moore of CTV reports that an assault on a Singh Brar, an international student and cab driver in Cape Breton, was racially motivated, according to Brar.

Brar, who is from India, says it all started after he asked the customer to pay his fare upfront. He says the man became irate and started yelling obscenities and racial remarks. He then ripped a religious symbol hanging from the mirror in the car.

“He was like, ‘you guys come here, you guys do this and that, you snatched up all the jobs.’ And I was like I can’t take it anymore. I’m not here to face racism or hear the things that are disrespectful to my country and my community,” Singh Brar said.

Brar’s boss told Moore that other drivers have also experienced similar racialized incidents that have not been reported police.

5. Anti-abortion demonstration planned for Sunday, counter protest also planned

A group called Life Chain Canada is organizing another set of nationwide demonstrations on Sunday October 6th, with a Halifax event planned for 2:30pm-3:30pm at Robie Street near the Halifax Commons. Life Chain Canada organizes the event annually, and each year pro-choice Haligonians come out in counter protest. This year is no different, with a call circulating on social media for a pro-choice rally that will “build community while asserting our legal right to make choices about our own bodies”, also on October 6th, from 2pm to 3pm.


1. Police Chief Dan Kinsella featured in StarMetro

Dan Kinsella. Photo: Hamilton Police Service

StarMetro Halifax continues its Friday “guest editor” series with Dan Kinsella, Halifax’s new chief of police. Kinsella’s piece is mostly a morale-booster for the police force, giving kudos to those involved in an incident on Labour Day weekend, where a man that police had come to arrest grabbed a knife, threatened to harm himself and refused to leave a house in Dartmouth. The 15-hour incident involved road blocks and dozens of police personnel.

Kinsella writes:

What stood out for me the most in our response that day was the manner in which our officers used empathy, concern and kindness when dealing with an individual in a crisis, and used those very skills to achieve the desired outcome.

We recognize that when citizens know that an officer cares, they will not only co-operate, but act as partners in public safety. I recognize we have work to do to earn and maintain that trust and confidence with community members from all backgrounds. That relationship-building starts with listening, a genuine effort to build trust and partnering to create solutions together.

Kinsella’s insight about trust begetting cooperation is an interesting one, considering that he doesn’t attempt to address the major public trust issue facing the Halifax police force right now: the demonstrated anti-Black bias in the practice of street checks.

Happily, StarMetro has an interview with Kinsella running alongside his piece, where editor Philip Croucher asks one of the important questions around the street check issue:

Why haven’t you apologized to Black Halifax residents over the issue of street checks as a way to help build community trust?

I’m currently doing my community reach out, my consultation, and I recognize that apologies can be a powerful way to move forward and they can have significant impact on the community. So I’m continuing to do my work in gathering that information so I can make an informed decision on which way we go as an organization. I also recognize it isn’t just Halifax Regional Police, there’s a number of community partners and other agencies that have a role to play in this. What I want to do most importantly is make sure whatever way we decide to go forward with the community, that we can go forward, recognizing that there have been injustices and negative experiences historically, and my goal is to make sure they don’t happen again as best I can.

But if they do happen and someone gets the experience, to your further question, a negative experience, I need to hear about it so I can follow up, and I will hold people to account if that is in fact required, and I’ll continue to do my work in that area to make sure that whatever way we go forward, it will be an informed decision.

It sounds as if Kinsella is saying here he’d like to deal with negative experiences on a case by case basis, which of course is not how you treat a systemic problem, like the anti-Black bias shown to exist in the practice of street checks (and, one would assume, in plenty of other police practices.)


Ummmm…. Ew?

Tide pods for the refined pallet

— Raccoon at home (@Seebo429) October 4, 2019



No public meetings.



Legislature sits (Friday, 9am, Province House)

On campus



Citizens and Science in a Digitized World (Friday, 12:30pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Kimberlyn McGrail from the University of British Columbia will talk.

SURGE Entrepreneur Chat (Friday, 12:30pm, Room 2660, Life Sciences Centre) — Darren Rowles from Sona Technologies will talk. Register here.

Stereoselective Construction of Challenging CC Bonds: Total Synthesis of Complex Bioactive Agents (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Andrew Evans from Queen’s University will talk.

Plantations and Factories (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Justin Roberts will talk.


Halifax Drug Use Symposium (Saturday, starts 8:30am, McInnis Room, Dal Student Union Building) — from the listing:

Hosted by Canadians Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP), the conference will discuss harm reduction as it relates to drug use, and socially just policy alternatives​. Throughout the day we will be hosting various events and opportunities for engagement including a film screening, speakers, and panel discussions. Please join us in the conversation around socially just systemic change to drug policy! Come out for this impassioned day of learning, story telling, and radical compassion.​

Info and tickets here.

Vector fields and flows, categorically II (Saturday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Geoffrey Cruttwell from Mount Allison University will present joint work with Robin Crockett, JS Lemay, and Rory Lucyshyn-Wright. The abstract:

In this series of three talks, we’ll investigate how to define and work with the idea of vector fields and their associated flows in the setting of a tangent category.  Tangent categories are categories equipped with an abstract version of the tangent bundle for smooth manifolds; as such, vector fields are easy to define in this setting.  However, to talk about their associated flows requires more care: we need an object “which uniquely solves ordinary differential equations” in the tangent category.  We’ll investigate this idea, and then focus in particular on how considering tangent categories of vector fields and flows gives us a new perspective on commutation of vector fields and flows.  If time permits, we will also consider flows for linear vector fields in this abstract setting.

Mount Saint Vincent


No public events.


Nutrition Experiments at Residential Schools (Sunday, 2pm, Halifax Central Library) — Ian Mosby, whose work uncovered the program of nutrition experiments being carried out in residential school across Canada, including at Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, will discuss these findings and host a panel discussion. More info here. Co-hosted by Acadia University.

In the harbour

05:00: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 36 to Pier 41
06:00: Bulk Newport, bulker, arrives at Pier 27 from Port Alfred, Quebec
06:00: ZIM Luanda, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
07:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
07:15: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship with up to 2,100 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Sydney, on a 14-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
09:30: Carnival Sunrise, cruise ship with up to 3,730 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
16:00: Atlantic Star sails for Liverpool, England
16:00: Artemis, container ship, moves from anchorage to Pier 42
16:30 Nolhanava sails for Saint-Pierre
16:30: ZIM Luanda sails for New York
18:00: Celebrity Summit sails for New York
18:00: Bulk Newport moves to anchorage
19:00: Carnival Sunrise sails for New York


The world is hectic if you’re interested in changing it.

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  1. My district Councillor has always been very open and above board about setting priorities for district capital funding. Glen Arbour is a high-end community with lots of well-to-do and even rich people. Not surprised they would back Mr. Whitman. Not sure his candidacy will resonate very broadly across HRM.

  2. Yes, government moves fast when it suits it (yes, let’s throw out elected school boards overnight) or glacially slowly when it doesn’t (Halifax Centre Plan, Lahey forestry report).

  3. JWC for Mayor ! Who once reminded me, ““In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”

    ― Sun-Tzu

  4. “the justification for the capital funds is that because councillors are regularly in touch with constituents they therefore best understand the districts’ needs, and so councillors should have the ability to quickly use capital funds in the districts without having to go through the regular bureaucratic process. That argument is, in a word, bogus. In reality, the capital funds are usually used for precisely the purpose illustrated in the Glen Arbour email: to curry favour with voters. That is, they are used as a bribe.”

    Truer words…

    If you want careerists councilors doing whatever it takes to keep their jobs, connected more closely to the bureaucrats than citizens, with bad habits bordering on criminal, if you want a lack of dynamic change, if you want more of the same, if you want too close relationships with land speculators and moneyed interests, if you want people with lives far removed from that of average citizens, if you want people who have it so easy that they see their success as proof of the rightness of any crazy thing they think or say, then these slush funds are the way to go. They nearly assure incumbency, power-monging, and that kind of grinning gladhandling jiggery pokery that is the Machiavellian hallmark of municipal politics.

    We got to put a stop to it or this gang, many openly bought and paid for by land speculators, the rest maniacs of various stripes will be with us forever

    1. I’ve always thought it was interesting how Waye Mason uses the funds for my district – participatory budgeting. (Can’t say I’ve participated myself, but I appreciate the concept!)

      1. The slush fund model has more problems, but participatory budgeting has it’s problems as well. A well organized group can have their voice – and thus their share of the budget – over-represented in comparison to a group that has greater need but less coordination. Decisions are also made once annually which means that urgent community needs that come up in between voting can’t be addressed. There is also the potential to still have the funds be perceived as a gift from the councilor and not of the community.

        I’d like to see a pilot where a small community board made up of residents of each district meets quarterly to disperse the funds.