Hi, I’m Erica Butler, the Examiner’s transportation writer, filling in this morning while Tim is off visiting his mom.


1. Sidewalk snow clearing

Councillor Shawn Cleary is taking another stab at fixing sidewalk (and bike lane) snow clearing in Halifax, with a motion slated for council’s transportation committee this month. Erica Butler talks to Cleary and sustainable transportation advocate Eliza Jackson, and looks at the latest reports from city staff, which explain why some sidewalks in Halifax are better maintained than others.

Click here to read “The city can do a better job clearing snow from sidewalks, says councillor Shawn Cleary.”

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2. Cecil Clarke does double duty

Cecil Clarke. Photo: cecilclarke.ca

Another hat has been thrown in the ring for leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, reports Mary Campbell in the Cape Breton Spectator:

CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke has declared his candidacy for the provincial Tory leadership, which he intends to pursue while remaining mayor.

Campbell questions Clarke’s decision to remain mayor while running for party leader, and takes a comparative look at other mayors and city councillors across Canada who have taken the plunge into provincial or federal politics over the years.

Click here to read “When One Elected Office Just Isn’t Enough.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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3. Police reopening 2014 sexual assault case possibly related to 2017 attacks

A sexual assault case that was closed after one month back in January 2015 has been reopened by Halifax Police, reports the CBC’s Elizabeth McMillan.

In December 2014, a 19-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted by a 31-year-old man in Halifax, according to Halifax Regional Police.

CBC News has learned she identified the man as Matthew Percy, who is now 34 and is facing two charges of sexual assault and two charges of voyeurism related to attacks last September.

Halifax police have not confirmed any connection between the cases. Matthew Percy is in custody and will be in court later today, reports the CBC.

4. Cooke Aquaculture gets the boot, again, in Washington state

The Associated Press reports:

Washington state officials on Sunday cancelled a lease with Cooke Aquaculture Pacific at the site where net pens holding farmed Atlantic salmon collapsed last summer, releasing tens of thousands non-native fish into Puget Sound.

The decision comes days after a multi-agency state investigation found the Saint John, N.B., company negligent for failing to adequately clean its nets, saying that directly contributed to the net-pen failure in August at the facility.

The report, published in the Chronicle Herald, goes on to detail accusations that Cooke is misreporting fish escape numbers to authorities. This lease is the second lease that Cooke has had terminated in as many months.

On the east coast, Cooke Aquaculture has recently admitted to “slightly higher fish mortality due to the harsh recent storms” at its Jordan Bay facility near Shelburne, reported the Chronicle Herald in late January. Earlier the company had claimed no fish deaths related to the storm in question.

Cooke Aquaculture’s Jordan Bay site in early 2018 storm. Photo Kathaleen Milan and Ron Neufeld, from asf.ca

5. Gender identity starting to be recognized in prison system

“A new Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) policy means that Transgender women can now be sent to women’s prisons while Transgender men will serve their time in a men’s prison, if that is their preference,” reports Rebecca Rose in the Nova Scotia Advocate.

Rose tells the story of the advocacy and human rights complaint behind the changed policy, and goes on to explore remaining issues with the “transphobic culture” in Canadian prisons.

6. Waye Mason visits Port Williams students to talk Cornwallis

A group of middle school students in Port Williams have been getting press for their proposal on what to do with the statue of Cornwallis now in storage somewhere in Halifax. And yesterday, they got a visit from Halifax’s deputy mayor, Waye Mason, reports CTV news. Considering the tone of chatter on social media surrounding the fate of the statue, it’s not surprising to read this comment from Mason:

“The quality and maturity of the presentation from the Grade six to eight students has been superior to some of the emails I’ve been getting the last little while,” says Mason. 

Still no word from the city on when we will see formation of that special advisory committee on “the commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History.”

7. O Canada now commands everyone

“The national anthem is now officially gender neutral after legislation altering the lyrics received royal assent Wednesday morning,” reports CBC. The lyric “in all thy sons command” has been changed back to its original version, “in all of us command.” Of course, before any of those lyrics were written, the anthem was a French composition entitled Chant national, which includes problematic references to the commingled power of the church and state.

I was struck by this little tidbit in the CBC story: “Members of Parliament traditionally sing the national anthem each Wednesday before the start of business.” At my kid’s school, the anthem is a daily occurrence, and I’m frankly surprised that it’s not standard operating procedure every day that parliament is in session.

YouTube video


1. When corridors run through neighbourhoods

The debate over a proposed northbound-only bus lane on Gottingen is just getting started. Halifax resident Matt Neville has been speaking up on Twitter:

#Halifax Transit Priority Corridors in a nutshell — Robie, Bayers + Young have long been major divides that define neighbourhoods — they are corridors already. Gottingen, however, is the street that holds the neighbourhood together. @shawncleary @wayemason @hfttransit @NEBAhfx

— Matt Neville (@mn_ville) February 7, 2018

Neville went on to explain his aversion to the plan in a follow-up tweet: “There is no way to send 90 buses an hour in express lanes down the street — 55 of which don’t stop or stop once only — and not negatively affect life on the street or negatively impact the safety of non-motorized users without major street redesign.”




Design Review Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — the committee will rubber stamp an eight-storey development at Hollis and Bishop Streets.

Public Information Meeting – Case 20795 (Thursday, 7pm, Cafeteria, Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Senior Elementary School, Timberlea) — a Lakeside development.


No public meetings.



Economic Development (Thursday, 10am, One Government Place) — for some unfathomable reason, the committee has asked Jordi Morgan to speak about “Red Tape Reduction.” We’ve been on this train for 35 years — taxes are too high for businesses, there’s too much red tape, blah, blah, blah, and every government has responded by cutting business taxes and doing away with regulations and still they come back and say taxes are too high and there’s too much red tape, blah, blah, blah. Truth is, business promoters like Morgan won’t be happy until we achieve the tax- and red tape-free Nirvana of Somalia, and even then they’ll blame business failures on governments.


No public meetings.

On campus



Surviving Progress (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, Marion McCain Building) — a screening of the 2011 documentary which “connects the financial collapse, growing inequity and the Wall Street oligarchy with future technology, sustainability, and the fate of civilization itself.”

Love Is In The Stars (Thursday, 7:15pm, Planetarium, Dunn Building) — $5, minimum age 13 with parental guidance. Reservations required.

Failure — A Key Ingredient For Success? (Thursday, 7:30pm, in the auditorium named for a bank, Marion McCain Building) — Liesl Gambold moderates “Fail Forward: Falling Short and Climbing Up,” billed as “an informal forum to hear about the failures and experiences that led to the success of several FASS faculty members and a Dal Tigers coach.”


Piano Recital (Friday, 11:45am, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — students of Peter Allen and Lynn Stodola will perform.

Pain: Through the Lens of Loss (Friday, 12pm, Room 1014, Rowe Management Building) — Janice MacInnis leads this group discussion. Register here.

Pascale Allotey. Photo: gheg-journal.co.uk

A Matter of Survival: Health Rights from the Bottom Up (Friday, 12:10pm, Room 104, Weldon Law Building) — Pascale Allotey, Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, will speak.

Nonlinear Optical Properties of Molecules for Microscopy (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Danielle Tokarz from Saint Mary’s University will speak.

Does Place Matter? Debates and Burial Decisions of Muslims in Canada (Friday, 2:30pm, Room 1028, Rowe Management Building) — Chedly Belkhodja from Concordia University will speak.

Sara Spike. Photo: saraspike.ca

Seeing at Sea: Lighthouses, Sailors, and the Politics of Vision in Late Nineteenth-century Nova Scotia (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Sara Spike, director of the Eastern Shore Islands Heritage Research project, will speak.

Rachel Barton Pine. Photo: artsandissues.com

Violin Masterclass (Friday, 4:30pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — Rachel Barton Pine will perform, following her Thursday night concert with Symphony Nova Scotia.

Saint Mary’s


The Order of Things (Thursday, 4pm, Student Centre 301 B) — a screening of Andrea Segre’s 2017 film.



Liederabend: An Evening of Song (Thursday, 7:30pm, President’s Lodge) — Marcia Swanston will speak.

In the harbour

6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
10am: Frieda, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea
Noon: YM Essence, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
Noon: Nord Gainer, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
2pm: STI Notting Hill, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea


While you’re singing or whistling the “in all of us command” rendition of “O Canada” to yourself this morning, figure what we can do about that God stuff.

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  1. Is anybody aware of any legal criteria for a transgender woman to be incarcerated in a women’s prison?

  2. When will they fix “our home and native land” for those citizens not born here?
    (About 20% of the population)

  3. God keep our land, glorious and free, O Canada we stand on guard against Tories. Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee.

    There, problem solved.

  4. Regarding bus lanes and the like. In Europe when possible, trains, metros etc go underground and there is substantial infrastructure above. Could the rail corridor that makes its way onto the peninsula and to the south end be enclosed with schools, housing whatever be built on top? It seems like a large swath of potentially useful land to be wasted on open air.

    1. I like the underground concept to enhance public transit way better than bandage fixes on the surface road system. Halifax roads were sized best for horse and buggies…. building transit infrastructure on raised roadways above ground might work, no earthquakes here to scare the public. Dallas TX did a nice job implementing their system. It allows for a fast above the ground transit solution.

      1. I imagine it’s probably far easier to go through life as a councillor or mayor yaying or neighing condos and snow clearing than making big infrastructure decisions that might succeed or fail in a spectacular fashion. It would be awesome to have a great streetcar system but the houses that would have to be torn down or altered traffic pattern would engender ingratitude if not hate towards the culprit for generations. It’s NS. Safer to stick with status quo and complain about it…

      2. HRM has an area of 5,500 sq km
        HRM population circa 404,000
        Dallas has an area of 3,644 sq km
        Dallas has a population of 5,100,000
        Peninsula Halifax has circa 65,000 people.
        Halifax is predominantly rock under less than 1 inch of soil.
        Comparing Dallas or other cities with Halifax is mostly a waste of time; our streets are narrow and our climate is unique. A foggy day in Eastern Passage is often a bright sunny day in Bedford Basin.

        1. I was going to use Lausanne as a nice example of a small city with a similar population, geography (rocky/hilly) and size to Halifax with a nice light rail setup but apparently they’re the smallest city in the world with such a solution…

          Perhaps we can trick the feds into using the opportunity to shuffle a bunch of money to Bombardier and build us one down the middle of Robie, from the Bridge to Inglis, then round to Lower Water…


        2. All true, but Halifax wants to grow the downtown core and fast transit is needed. Fast transit will never be achieved with buses and the only service a LRT can facilitate is very limited. Halifax will be around for hundreds of years and building a subway can take as long as it needs to and be progressed as fast as the budget can handle; but it will never occur if we continue to look at today’s population density as the reason to begin being BOLD when developing a fast public transit system that will really meet the needs of the future.

    2. There are many examples (mainly in northern Europe) of ways to incorporate public transit in a non-intrusive and/or attractive manner with public spaces, pedestrian access, etc. Sadly, nobody on this side of the pond seems to have any sense of style. Above-ground / raised transit corridors, etc., are fine by me if the overall design “works”. Otherwise, well…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDOI0cq6GZM

      1. I always liked the Monorail Song… the Simpsons is often spot on… of course HRM is not an example of a low density city with a centralized population. HRM is is an amalgamation still with a low population density, but it cannot be called truly centralized with the way the suburbs and rural regions were allowed to develop. So plan for the long-term hoped-for population growth to actually be achieve in 50 or so years and start building a public transit infrastructure to positively meet the needs of the future. No gains are ever made without taking some risk. None of the existing roadway based transit solution have the potential to meet the potential requirements 50 years in the future. why to we keep spending taxpayers money to develop solutions that are already known to be deficient when looking at long-term requirements?