News

1. Escaped salmon

Kelly Cove’s fish farm near Rattling Beach on the Annapolis Basin. Photo: Simon Ryder-Burbidge (contributed)

This item is written by Ethan Lycan-Lang.

Escaped farmed Atlantic salmon are becoming a frequent enough problem to potentially threaten wild Atlantic salmon populations on the east coast, according to a local conservation group.

In a news release Friday, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) — a New Brunswick-based advocacy group working to conserve and restore wild Atlantic salmon populations — said two Atlantic salmon originating from aquaculture farms were found in the Gaspereau River this year. It’s the second year in a row this has happened, and the third time since 2017.

The group is concerned, because spread of disease, competition for resources, and especially interbreeding between farmed and wild salmon could be detrimental to the endangered wild populations.

“As members of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization, Canada and the United States have committed to ending aquaculture escapes,” the release reads.

“Yet the persistence of escapees in wild salmon rivers continues to threaten the sustainability of populations from Maine to the south coast of Newfoundland.”

The release further states that four farmed salmon were found on Maine’s Union River this year, and ASF scientists had found three escapees trying to enter the Magaguadavic River in New Brunswick.

The two fish found in the Gaspereau River had been collected for breeding at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Biodiversity Facility in Coldbrook. The facility helps facilitate a Live Gene Bank program. The program began in 1999 as an attempt to breed endangered wild Atlantic salmon in hatcheries until natural numbers improved.

Farmed Atlantic salmon don’t share the same genetic makeup as their wild counterparts. The biggest concern with escaped farmed salmon is interbreeding, as farmed salmon genes aren’t as suitable for survival in the wild. The ASF cites a 2003 Royal Society study that found “interaction of farm with wild salmon results in lowered fitness, with repeated escapes causing cumulative fitness depression,” potentially leading to extinction as offspring become less suited to wild habitats.

Additionally concerning, as the Examiner reported last week, escaped fish from farms with elevated levels of sea lice can spread the harmful parasite to wild populations.

Kris Hunter, ASF’s director of Nova Scotia and PEI programs, says while Nova Scotia does have systems in place to trace escaped farm fish, there’s room for improvement. Better tracing, he says, could help identify where these fish are coming from, and how these escapes occur.

“We need to see more monitoring because anywhere we look, we find [escaped fish farm salmon].”

Despite the discovery of farmed salmon in the Gaspereau this year, the ASF says it is unaware of any reported escapes in Nova Scotia in 2021. In a 2018 public review, the DFO found fish likely originating from fish farms breeding in the inner Bay of Fundy, where two wild endangered species are found, in all or most years from 1997-2012.

The DFO says the Inner Bay of Fundy wild Atlantic salmon, one of two designated units of salmon in the area, had a population of fewer than 200 individuals as of 2008. No significant improvements have been reported since.

2. Northern Pulp stands to profit from wind farm

Photo: Joan Baxter

This morning, Joan Baxter takes a look at a large wind farm proposed for Wentworth Valley.

This could have been one of those “environmentalists hate wind power” stories, but Baxter focuses on who stands to profit from the proposal, and comes up with a surprising (or not) answer: Northern Pulp:

…Nova Scotians loaned the mill owners $75 million to buy a huge chunk of land — 475,000 acres — in the province, land that had belonged to the mill’s previous owner, Neenah Paper…

The 30-year loan for the land was issued in 2010 by the NDP government of Darrell Dexter, and in addition to the $75 million, there was also a hidden gift of $7 million to the then-owners of Northern Pulp, two American private equity companies that would in 2011 sell the mill to Paper Excellence, owned by the Widjaja family of Indonesia.

As part of the same deal, the people of Nova Scotia immediately bought back 55,000 acres of the same land, at 1.7 times the price per acre that Northern Pulp paid for it.

As the Halifax Examiner reported on November 26 this year, as of 2020 Northern Pulp still owed the people of Nova Scotia nearly $85 million from outstanding loans, of which almost $65 million is from the loan for all that land that is owned by the Northern Pulp affiliate, Northern Timber.

At the December 4 open house on the wind farm in Wentworth, Garfield Moffatt, chair of the project’s Community Liaison Committee, said that an average yearly lease for the land for a small three-to-four megawatt turbine is about $20,000 a year for about 20 years, and that it could go up to $30,000 after that.

Moffatt calculated that Northern Pulp would be paid at least $600,000 a year — and possibly much more — for having 18 very large turbines on its land on Higgins Mountain.

Click here to read “Proposed Wentworth Valley wind farm gets blowback.”

Profits aside, I’m agnostic on whether it makes sense to build a wind farm at this location. But as I’ve noted before, Nova Scotia seems to be completely missing out on the promise of offshore wind farms, which could potentially sidestep these sort of local battles and result in more renewable power at more predictable levels than land-based wind farms can produce.

In the “cost of space” item below, I make reference to how telephone technology in developing countries was able to simply skip right over the “poles and lines” stage of the industry that in more developed countries lasted more than a century, and go right to cell-based technology. As a result, there are places in war-torn countries like Syria and Somalia that don’t have functioning roads or hospitals, but have better cell coverage than parts of Nova Scotia. I fear something similar is happening with wind: we’re so focused on the old technology that we’re missing the opportunities of the new.

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3. Maritime Link

Maritime Link. Map: NSP Maritime Link Inc.

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.

A hearing begins today to determine whether Nova Scotia ratepayers should begin paying the full construction and borrowing costs to build the Maritime Link. 

The Maritime Link is the subsea cable built to deliver badly needed renewable energy to Nova Scotia from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador. The $1.76 billion cost for building and financing the Link is not in dispute: two independent auditors found the spending was reasonable and the transmission cable completed on time and on budget in 2017. 

What is very much in dispute and will be the central issue before the Utility and Review Board is whether Nova Scotians should now be charged the full cost when we are receiving only a trickle of the electricity that was supposed to arrive four years ago. 

Here’s part of the opening statement by consumer advocate Bill Mahody: 

For the period August 15 through November, Nova Scotia received 54,757 MWh of energy. The NS Block – on which this Board’s 2013 approval was based – called for energy deliveries of 308,610 MWh between August and November. On that basis, how can it be said that ratepayers are getting what they bargained for?

Interestingly, Nova Scotia Power fought the disclosure of those amounts of hydroelectricity but was ordered by the UARB to provide the figures, which show the flow from Muskrat Falls has been underwhelming as a result of expected interruptions during the testing and commissioning of the transmission system in Newfoundland. 

The Consumer Advocate continued:

Not only have ratepayers been dutifully paying the annual NSPML assessments since 2018, they also continue to be burdened with the substantial cost of replacing the energy that the Maritime Link Project has failed to deliver. The pre-filed evidence in this matter does not establish that ratepayers are getting what they bargained for, nor has any definitive deadline been provided to allow this Board to confidently name a date on which the promised benefits will materialize.

Delivery of the hydro from Muskrat Falls began August 15 — almost four years late — under an amended acceleration agreement between Nova Scotia Power (the customer) and Nalcor Energy (the supplier) that recognizes it could be the spring of 2022 or later before problems are resolved with General Electric software that controls the flow of energy from the dams in Labrador to Newfoundland. That transmission system is known as the Labrador Island Link (LIL) and it was partly financed by Emera, the parent company of NS Power. 

Lawyer Nancy Rubin represents a group of large companies in the Nova Scotia (led by Oxford Foods and Michelin Tire) that also opposes Nova Scotia Power’s attempt to recover the full cost of its investment before significant benefits accrue to its customers.

“The Industrial Group shares the concerns that have been expressed by consultants for the Small Business Advocate and for Board counsel with respect to the mismatch between NSPML’s request for 100% cost recovery for less than the original bargain,” said Rubin in her opening statement to the public hearing. “We will be exploring this issue during the hearing, including regulatory options to address any unfairness to ratepayers.” 

Nova Scotia Power’s response

Emera took a part ownership position in the LIL in return for Nova Scotia Power receiving 20% of the output from Muskrat Falls, or expressed another way, about 10% of the total electricity used by Nova Scotians. 

It’s a large supply at a fixed price for 35 years, which is the primary pathway to reduce our dependence on coal-fired plants. 

In fact, the Lingan 2 coal plant in Cape Breton had been scheduled to close next winter (2022-23) after hydroelectricity arrived from Muskrat Falls but that timing is now in question because of repeated delays in receiving the energy. The deal with Nalcor also gives Nova Scotia Power first dibs on an additional 10% of renewable energy from Muskrat Falls for which ratepayers will pay the going rate (or market price).

That’s an important part of Nova Scotia Power’s position as spelled out by its consultant, John Reed of Concentric Energy Advisors. Reed’s argument is that with so much uncertainty surrounding when full deliveries from Muskrat Falls will begin, it was advantageous to Nova Scotia ratepayers to amend the agreement to ensure the current shortfalls will be made up as quickly as possible. Here’s part of the evidence filed by Reed:

Since the NS Block was initiated on August 15, 2021, any undelivered energy is being banked for delivery and customers’ use at a later time. The delivery of this energy is contractually required to be made as soon as reasonable and not at the end of the 35-year agreement… also as noted in the evidence of NSPML, the Acceleration Agreement secures the date for access by NS Power to Market Priced Energy under the Energy Access Agreement (“EAA”) as at September 1, 2022, setting a firm date for the commencement of such access and removing the risk of delay as a result of further LIL commissioning delays.

And Nova Scotia Power will need that additional green energy if it hopes to meet its legislated 2030 target of generating 40% of electricity from renewable sources. 

This week’s hearing will also hear arguments as to whether the monopoly should be able to claim as allowable expenses “incentives” paid to retain executives on the Maritime Link Project — “more than $10 million,” according to a UARB filing from the consumer advocate.

And additionally, $1.4 million in “donations.” Nova Scotia Power claims these donations were an integral part of being able to adhere to provincially mandated policies to improve diversity in hiring. More than $400,000 went to First Nations groups in Cape Breton, $140,000 to universities, and slightly more than $40,000 to women’s groups. The company is also trying to expense the transportation of items to food banks. 

“In the context of a Maritime Link Project that is years behind schedule in delivering promised benefits and the substantial costs incurred by ratepayers for replacement energy, asking ratepayers to pay incentives and donations are particularly bitter pills to swallow,” argued the Opening statement from Bill Mahody, the consumer advocate.

How reliable is the subsea cable?

A report commissioned by the Utility and Review Board to assess the reliability of the Maritime Link subsea cable was field by Laurence Trim, from Cable Consulting International in the United Kingdom. Here is an abbreviated list of Trim’s concerns: 
1) the thermal properties of the 500 MW cable have not been verified;
2) the Maritime Link will carry slightly less energy than designed and;
3) there is no evidence to support an expected service life of 50 years and the fibre optic cable is likely to have a lifetime of 25 years.

In response to the concerns raised by the UARB’s consultant, Nova Scotia Power’s consultant has made available several reports from their own experts designed to allay those worries. One example:

Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link continuously monitors the cable temperature through the Digital Temperature Sensing system. The DTS contains both alarm and trip thresholds, which ensures that the cable will not operate beyond design parameters within the range of the DTS, where environmental conditions create the highest potential for elevated temperatures (i.e. shallower waters and higher relative sea temperature at shallower depths).

More discussion with respect to the technical issues and overall reliability of the system will take place during the public hearing. You can tune in to listen here.

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4. Desmond inquiry

Shanna, Aaliyah and Lionel Desmond

“The inquiry looking into the 2017 murder-suicide of the Desmond family has been examining the roles played by PTSD and domestic violence in those horrific events,” writes Stephen Kimber. “Last week, the inquiry heard from a panel of experts about the impact of systemic racism.”:

But last week, even as the public inquiry finally began to wind down its public phase, we learned of yet another gaping gap in the system — culturally specific mental health programs for Black men like Lionel Desmond.

“Those services do not exist,” Robert Wright, a sociologist who specializes in forensic mental health, trauma, and cultural competence, told the inquiry. He was one of four Black experts assembled by the inquiry to explore the Desmond affair through a racial lens.

The larger problem? Systemic racism…

Wright testified that the Health Association of African Nova Scotians had recommended nearly a decade ago that the province develop a specific mental health and addictions strategy for African Nova Scotians, including culturally specific training for health care workers, an online curriculum and the creation of a network of professionals.

Some of that happened, but then, in 2016, the government abandoned the project as soon as the pilot period ended.

Click here to read “Systemic racism and the Desmond murder-suicide.”

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5. COVID

On Friday, I produced the usual weekly recap of Nova Scotia’s COVID situation.

The weekly new case rate has been hovering around 200 since mid-September, characterizing a fourth wave that is more sustained than previous waves but also has a lower hospitalization and death rate, reflecting the value of vaccination.

The vaccination status of new cases provide an insight into that:

From Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, there were 221 new cases announced. Of those:
• 61 were fully vaccinated, a rate of 7.7 per 100K fully vaccinated
• 10 were partially vaccinated, a rate 0f 29.3 per 100K partially vaccinated
• 150 were unvaccinated, a rate of 101.2 per 100K unvaccinated

And now that children aged 5-11 are getting vaccinated, NS’s already high vaccination rate is about to get that much higher still, providing yet more protection.

I’m not at this point worried about the Omicron variant — there’s just not enough known about it to warrant needless apprehension. Yes, it’s probably more contagious than the Delta variant, but it may be less harmful, and it might even turn out to be a (relative) good thing, bringing us to a new stage of normalcy with the virus. That last bit may be wishful thinking on my part. Time will tell.

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6. The cost of space

They made a pretty picture of a rocket in space, so everyone in Nova Scotia thought it must be real.

Despite credulous news reports that a spaceport is (supposedly) any moment about to appear in Canso, I remain skeptical.

Any investment opportunity is speculative, and the satellite launch industry is especially full of what in real estate is called “puffery” — outsized claims that have little correlation to the physical reality of the proposed project. So take all the claims with a grain of salt, and take my read of the industry with an equally tiny grain of salt. Still, let’s look at what we know.

What is at the core of the Maritime Launch Service (MLS) proposal is a cheaper way to launch stuff into space. By cobbling together a Soviet-era rocket produced by a corrupt company in a teetering nation that uses a potentially poisonous fuel mix, and finding a jurisdiction with a reputation for accepting big schemes without too much regulatory oversight and with a favourable currency exchange rate with the US dollar, maybe, just maybe, the scheme will, er, fly.

But despite flowery press releases about new investors and detailed timelines for launches, I’ve seen little about the actual cost of an individual MLS launch. There are no cost claims beyond “low-cost” and a “contact us” for specifics on the company’s website. But an earlier press report suggests an MLS launch will cost US$45 million. Again: grain of salt.

Two words: Elon Musk.

I am not a Muskbro. He’s the very epitome of puffery, over-selling his projects with big claims that never seem to materialize. He’s also an asshole.

Musk has three companies. One of them — the Boring Company — is simply a way to cash in on his name, and will never amount to anything. The second is Tesla, which in my opinion is extremely overvalued, and will likely be overrun by a competitor when one of the big tech companies buys an existing car company — think Apple buying GM — and produces a cheap, workable electric vehicle line.

However, Musk’s third company, Space X, is the exception: it already has reduced costs with a truly — wait for it — innovative product: a reusable rocket.

There’s no speculation about this: Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket boosters have already been used successfully 67 times, transforming an industry that until now has relied on single-use rockets that simply fall into the ocean.

As stock analyst Greg Konrad explained to reporter Michael Sheetz, the Falcon 9 is transforming the entire industry, as Space X competitors are likewise working on developing reusable rockets.

“New competitors, like Blue Origin, are creating this whole ecosystem of launch vehicle providers that are servicing the lower end of the market with cheaper solutions,” Konrad said.

How cheap? Space X advertises a launch price of $62 million per, which is an actual cost, not the speculative “contact us” price of $45 million that MLS may or may not be able to reach. Sure, a savings of $17 million is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s comparing MLS puffery to Space X reality.

More important is how the reusable rocket technology will scale, and how competition might bring down the price of launches.

Musk says — again, beware of puffery — that his new Starship rocket will “drive the cost per launch as low as $2 million, lowering the cost to reach low Earth orbit ‘by another order of magnitude or even further,’” said analyst Sam Korus.

We’ll see, but from my perspective, MLS is talking about building a traditional poles-and-wires telephone company while the rest of the industry is actually building a cell network, leapfrogging the old technology.

Why would anyone spend $45 million to launch a satellite on an expendable rocket from Canso when they could spend $2 million (or even $20 million) to launch a satellite on a reusable rocket?

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Noticed

I’ve had a rough time of it lately, and I feel weird and guilty admitting as much, as I know with certainty that so many people have it far, far worse than me; who am I to complain? But, as the kids say, it is what it is.

I was talking with a friend the other day, and she told me that she feels “constantly bombarded,” and that hit the nail on the head for me. I’ve worked too much for too long. People want help from me, they want my attention, they have their complaints. No one of these events is singularly very demanding, but collectively, the drops are a deluge, and I’ve lost mental clarity, much less sharpness. I’ve been terribly depressed, honestly.

So I’ve stepped back from work a piece. The Examiner crew has helpfully given me some space and time, and that’s how I was able to skip out on doing Morning Files last week (thanks, Suzanne, for making that happen). Otherwise, I’ve mostly just done the COVID updates and took time for myself: I went for walks, worked out, started a home reno project, listened to music. It’s helped, but I can’t just jump right back in where I left things off and expect not to fall back into that hole. I’ll figure it out, and I’ll be fine.

All of which is to say: these are difficult times. If fortunate me can suffer, then those with greater challenges must be especially taxed. Take care of yourselves. Ask for help if you need it. Don’t let the world overwhelm you.

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Government

City

Monday

Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Monday, 12pm) — livestreamed

Tuesday

Budget Committee and Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — also livestreamed; Budget Committee agenda here; Regional Council agenda here

Province

Monday

No meetings

Tuesday

Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 9am, One Government Place) — organizational and agenda-setting meeting

Health (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) — organizational and agenda-setting meeting


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Dal Bookstore Yard Sale (Monday to Wednesday, 9:30am-4:30pm) — 2nd floor SUB, and at the Bookstore, Cox Institute, Truro Campus

Maternal-Infant Research Study Highlights(Monday, 12:30pm) — Jillian Ashley-Martin will talk via Teams

Tuesday

Solstice Songs and Folk Songs (Tuesday, 7:30pm. St. Andrew’s United Church, 6036 Coburg Road, Halifax) — $10/$15; info here. They can’t ruin Whamageddon for you if it’s a cover.

Dal Bookstore Yard Sale (Tuesday to Wednesday, 9:30am-4:30pm) — 2nd floor SUB, and at the Bookstore, Cox Institute, Truro Campus

King’s

Memorial (Monday, 9am to 4pm, A&A Lobby) — honouring those lost at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal and all those impacted by gender-based violence, with a brief gathering at 4pm


In the harbour

Halifax 
05:00: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
05:30: Tiger, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
06:00: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
06:00: Augusta Luna, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Moa, Cuba
10:30: ZIM Vancouver, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York
15:30: Atlantic Sky sails for New York
16:00: Em Kea, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Montreal
16:30: Tiger moves to Pier 27
20:30: Tiger sails for sea

Cape Breton
11:00: Arctic Lift, barge, with Western Tugger, tug, sail through the causeway to Aulds Cove quarry
13:00: Balsa 94, cargo ship, arrives at Mulgrave from Santiago de Cuba


Footnotes

If you put “Elon Musk” in the headline, readership increases 18 million percent.


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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. Others may well have it tougher than you, but as Philip Larkin once noted

    “Yours is the harder course, I can see. On the other hand, mine is happening to me…”

    Take care of yourself. No explanations required or desired.

  2. The proposed Canso spaceport project includes other elements that are stuck in the past (and persist in 2021 through they really shouldn’t):

    – It got this far based on promises of “good jobs,” and backroom deals with MLAs and municipal councillors;

    – It sailed through the province’s terrible Environmental Assessment process (no federal assessment for Canada’s first private spaceport?);

    – It glazes over the fact that there is rational, well-founded local opposition to the project (see https://www.actionagainstthecansospaceport.com/

    Thank goodness for the Halifax Examiner’s critical coverage to help expose another case of a Nova Scotian boondoggle in the making.

    1. It seems there has been a lot of delight in this publication in seeing industry fail in the Canso area most recently natural gas. Now there seems to be salivating hoping the space program fails. These are only a few examples. Does no one here want to see Canso become a place of success? Come on folks, how about something positive for this area, just once!

      I wonder how many readers have even been to Canso? It’s such a lovely place but so economically depressed. Maybe as a step to learn, spend some time there and drop some much needed tourist funding!

      1. There are plenty of reasons to think the Canso spaceport will fail. The company has a sketchy history and has never launched anything into space before. If they can deliver on their 45 million per launch price, they are still 200% more expensive than SpaceX on a $/kg basis and only 33% cheaper on a per rocket basis. The “good jobs” are mostly going to go to people from away – probably Ukrainian contractors – there is nobody in Cape Breton with experience launching rockets. The supply chain for the rockets stretches to the Ukraine, not exactly a stable region these days. The Ukraine literally means “the borderlands” – it has never been stable.

        I personally would like to see the launch site get built, if the people shilling for it were willing to bear 100% of the costs and had a good plan in place for rocket fuel spills.

        And Tim, the fuels are not “potentially poisonous”, they are poisonous until they’ve reacted with each other, hopefully in a controlled way, to form benign chemicals.

      2. I am existentially exhausted, but I feel I need to respond to this.

        First, what I think or what the Examiner reports has ZERO impact on the success or lack thereof of the proposed spaceport. The spaceport will succeed or not based on its own merits and how the international financial markets and stock exchanges value it, and I can assure you that they don’t give two shits what some asshole reporter in Halifax says.

        But more to the point: I’ve been writing the same god damned thing for my entire career, and I’ll be writing it until the day I drop dead. And that’s simply this: the powers that be, the wealthy and entrenched in Nova Scotia, have framed a false proposition: if you want jobs and prosperity, you MUST support *this* project, and if you don’t support *this* project you’re an asshole who hates jobs and prosperity.

        The thing is, they — the wealthy and entrenched — are the ones who stand to (perhaps) profit a tiny bit from *this* project, and nobody else the fuck will. It certainly won’t help the average person, and even when inevitably it fails, the wealthy and entrenched will make a bit of cash on it, so fuck the rest of you.

        As I say, I’ve written about this repeatedly. The most succinct encapsulation of it is in this piece I wrote for The Coast: Two decades of world-class delusion.

        The argument is that if you don’t support this probably bogus scheme to draw money from away to enrich us all forever, amen, you want everyone in Nova Scotia to live in poverty forever.

        But it’s a false dichotomy. There’s a counter strategy in Nova Scotia for improving the lot of the average person, and it’s been vilified, demeaned, and ignored for decades. That strategy was laid out by the Antigonish Movement, but the principles still stand. It’s self-reliance, mutual support, cooperatively owned housing and business enterprises, and a government that works for the common person and not the rich and entrenched.

        The choice is not “you support the spaceport or you’re an asshole.” Rather, it’s “you support people where they are, help them improve their lot on their own terms, keep their own money in their own communities, or you think that some American businessman is going to altruistically save you.”

        1. Thanks so much for this Tim. Excellently put. As someone who lives less than three km from this preposterous proposed spaceport (and subscribes to the Halifax Examiner) I’d also like to point out the disgusting degree of classism we have experienced here through this ordeal, the idea we should just accept whatever absolute crap is thrown at us, that we should just swallow and tolerate what has already done so much damage here. Nevermind the fact we have a multi million dollar fishery. Canso/Little Dover is the site of one of the first experiements in the cooperative movement in NS. Like the fisheries strike of the early 70s, company greed and manipulation is tearing us apart. Moses Coady and Jimmy Thompkins are rolling over in their graves.

        2. Thank you for perfectly expressing, again, what happens here in NS. The big projects that always amount to little or not enough issue is a Ground Hog Day phenomenon in NS. We give big corporations and hedge funds all our money, land and government staff promoting and propping up these boondoggles on the promise that our GDP will soar and we will all be living our best lives. Yet here were are, with the worst child poverty rates in Canada, homelessness and a long list of those without a doctor. No corporation who comes here to do business cares about here or us. They take their money and keep in their own banks, in their own countries or put it in an offshore tax sheltered account. It really makes us look like fools, ready for the next con when the masses keep falling for it again and again, and again.

        3. Well said. That article in The Coast is why I subscribed in the first place. The convention center was bad enough, but we sure did get a glass and steel monstrosity out of it. It at least provides a certain amount of value, even if that value was less than we paid for it. The rocket site’s only long term contribution will be a little bit of work for locals maintaining the fence around it once it’s abandoned, and a place for kids to drink and smoke pot and paint graffiti on stuff after that.

      3. It is refreshing to read something about the Canso Spaceport that isn’t another press release from MLS that our lazy mainstream media reports pretty much verbatim. If this is where you got your information on the spaceport, rest assured you have only heard the salesman’s pitch. A pitch comprising empty promises, excuses, and a whole lot of misinformation.

        As a resident of Canso I can tell you the natural gas project was an hours drive from here. Definitely not in the Canso area. I recall they were asking the federal government for 1 BILLION dollars. Tax payers money to fund a foreign company.

        I am growing tired of hearing people from away calling Canso so economically depressed. Our local fishery is booming. The profits from it stay home. The fish processing plant has recently expanded. The fish buying stations have been busy this year. We own our grocery store. It’s our co-op. Actually it’s more than a grocery store. It’s a generals sore, hardware store, and lumber yard. The profits from our co-op say home.

        Up until this current health crises, Stanfest and the Canso Regatta have been very busy times in our community. I expect these 2 events will only grow in the future.

        We are weathering this current health crises much better than most. Turns out living in a small rural community has it’s advantages over living in the big city. Our local people have stepped up to support their local businesses. Again our money staying home.

        So instead of forcing some absurd project on us that nobody else wants, ask us what we want. It is our community and maybe, just maybe, we should have a say.

  3. Tim. Over the last calendar year you have accomplished more as a an individual journalist than some (most) entire organizations. You should plan on a three, six, or even full year sabbatical at some point to fully recharge. Not only you will benefit but everyone around you including your loyal readers.

  4. On Nov. 12, DHW reported the following:

    “There have been 101 cases of COVID-19 with an episode date between November 4 and November 9. Of those:

    “45 (44.6 per cent) were fully vaccinated
    9 (8.9 per cent) were partially vaccinated
    47 (46.5 per cent) were unvaccinated
    There have been 6,067 cases from March 15 to November 9. Of those:

    “489 (8.1 per cent) were fully vaccinated
    391 (6.4 per cent) were partially vaccinated
    5,187 (85.5 per cent) were unvaccinated”

    In other words, the RATE of infections among the fully vaccinated quintupled during the period cited. It was probably an error or a statistical anomaly. So I wrote DHW’s media people about it beginning Nov. 17 and they will not explain it to me. Maybe a reporter would have better luck. DHW should remember that information vacuums attract conspiracy theories.

    1. I calculate it slightly differently — using announcement dates rather than case date, and also, more importantly, using cases per 100K in each vaccination status, and have produced the chart below for new case rate per 100K in each vaccination status. Rate per vaccination status, rather than percentage per total population, is a MUCH better calculation, because as more people are vaccinated OF COURSE there will be a higher percentage of new cases among those who are vaccinated. As my graph shows, there is no real increase in the RATE of new cases among vaccinated people.

      https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Screen-Shot-2021-12-03-at-4.40.02-PM.png

      1. My issue relates to how the government does the math, not The Examiner. DHW’s release shows a big increase in the breakthrough case RATE from Nov. 4 to Nov. 9. On the face of it, the rate quintupled. DHW replied: “The vaccines approved for use in Canada are all very effective, however, there will still be breakthrough infections. Vaccines help minimize the chance of severe disease and death, but do not fully prevent someone who is exposed to the virus from becoming infected. We will continue to follow NACI recommendations and administer third doses to those that are eligible … ”

        I knew all that and said so. I want to know why the rate — ie the percentage — jumped so dramatically. I think Richard Starr has the answer below, but I want to hear from the government.

    2. A familiar scenario – media people failing to respond to legitimate questions from bloggers or non-blogging citizens, leaving the vacuums you cite. I’ve been keeping track of the weekly numbers of vaccinated infections put out by public health. Numbers rose steadily (from 22.3 % to 30.9% in October) then jumped to the 44.6% Nov. 4-9, possibly the result of the outbreak at the nursing home in Pugwash where all of those infected would have been doubled vaxxed. Percentages have dropped slightly over the last three weeks to 34.7%.

  5. I’ve always wondered how the hell you did/do it, Tim, day after day, putting out this wonderful newspaper. Take the time you need, mate. Take more. You’ve got a great team. The Halifax Examiner is a splendid achievement, a true inspiration. Thank you.

    1. I’m with you, Peter. Tim has seemed indefatigable since the outset. I too am somewhat of a psychological wreck now, but hey, I’m retired. I don’t have to put out and do so much, day after day. Go easy, Brother Tim.

  6. The cyclone 4M also has less than half the payload capacity of the Falcon 9. I stand by my recommendation that Canso should build the world’s largest fiberglass rocket to compete for tourist dollars with the giant lobster in Shediac.