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More austerity & non-alcoholic cocktails: Morning File, Friday, May 1, 2015

Today’s guest editor is Natalie Chavarie. 

On campus


1. Poison Ban

Pigeon from tumblr
Pigeon crochet from tumblr

Halifax has banned the use of pigeon poison on all city property. The noise this made on twitter was similar to a pigeon flapping its wings.

YouTube video

2. Charlie Dennis

The Cape Breton Post had a touching article about the life and remembrance ceremony held for Charlie Dennis, an inspiring leader to Nova Scotia.

“I think it will go down in history that he was the greatest crusader for the protection of the Bras d’Or Lake and the watershed,” said Bates. “You can describe that in so many words but that is what you reduce it to. The Bras d’Or Lake was his model and his creed, and he took it seriously and inspired all the rest of us to get aboard and share his vision.”

Chiefs of all five First Nations communities in Cape Breton attended Thursday’s services, including Rod Googoo, the chief of Waycobah and a friend of Dennis for almost 50 years.

Googoo said Dennis was the leading force in getting the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources running.”

3. Capital Investment Incentive

The provincial government cuts program for the manufacturing sector, reports Michael Gorman.

“Government’s approach to economic development no longer includes direct grants to individual businesses,” it said.


“There’s been no consultation with the users of these programs,” said Reinhardt, a former provincial civil servant. “When you make a bunch of cuts without understanding what the impact is, that’s a real concern.”

The incentive was introduced by the NDP government in 2010 to allow companies to receive 20 per cent of investments, up to $1 million, to modernize equipment and upgrade facilities, something Reinhardt said her members need to compete and stay in business.”

In a regional blog It’s the Economy, Stupid, David Campbell writes a post about government spending on economic development. Interesting mention of government as a “lender of last resort.”

4. Electricity

A report reviewing Nova Scotia’s electricity system, including a Consultation Summary, was released yesterday. I’m pretty sure it will have absolutely no effect on your power bill.


1. Book Pub with Howard Epstein & Graham Steele

A friendly debate between two authors will be held at The Company House on May 15.

Halifax Examiner produces a podcast series which can also be heard on CKDU radio in Halifax. Listen to Examineradio Episode #4 to hear interviews with Epstein and Steele.

2. Lunenburg Art School

I’m a supporter of the arts community and am thrilled to see a professional art school open in rural Nova Scotia. The Grand Opening of the Lunenburg Art School will be held today and marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony. There’s also an art opening and reception being held this evening.



No public meetings.


Legislature sits (9am, Province House)

On campus

No public events today.


Food Trucking season is finally here! To track down your favorite trucks download the Street Food App Halifax. Some highlights this year:

  • Halifax Press Grilled Cheese & Ol’ School Donuts share a spot on Grafton Street beside the old library;
  • There will be a monthly #FoodTruckParty hosted by The Coast in Halifax and in Dartmouth;
  • We expect to see a few new trucks on the road!
  • Starting in June – The Food Wolf  will be located outside our winter canteen spot at Mayflower Curling Club this summer. The site will become a food truck ‘parkette’ which means that other trucks will join us and we will become a pod of trucks.

About me:  I food truck. I work as a Program Officer for the federal public service in downtown Dartmouth.  I predict that the next big food & beverage trend will be non-alcoholic cocktails. I love organizing and producing events and feel honoured to have created Halifax’s first Night Market #NXNMRKT. I sit on the North End Business Association Board of Directors. I’m thinking of starting a Project Management designation. I bike to get around, year round. Like many of my peers, I’m also seriously considering leaving Nova Scotia. I’m not a morning person.  I tweet @nataliechavarie and @thefoodwolf

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  1. Thanks Natalie for my daily fix and especially for Tom Lehrer. First thing I thought of when Tim mentioned poisoning pigeons. I’ll look for your food truck next time I’m in the big bold city.

    Since its May day this seems appropriate. Solidarity Forever! (with all the lyrics)

  2. MAY DAY

    The following is the dedication from James Agee’s famous and poetic 1939 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Today is as good a day as any to remember it.

    You have nothing to lose but your chains, and a world to win.

    These words are quoted here to mislead those who will be misled by them. They mean, not what the reader may care to think they mean, but what they say.

    In view of the average reader’s tendency to label, and of typical dangers to which any man, whether honest, or intelligent or subtle, is a present liable, it may be well to make the explicit statement that neither these words nor the authors are the property of any political party, faith or faction

  3. My excitement to click to the blog on economic development was only surpassed by my disappointment when I did it.

    Look, every government in the world at every level is in a market competing for business. That’s why we do it – because we have to try… at least try. They take a tiny bit of their budget – in our case about 2% – and use it strategically to draw investment, trade, jobs, opportunity and ideas to their geographic area.

    Talking about it as if there’s an option not to do it is the silliest of seabilly sensibilities.

    The discussion is how best to do economic development. We’ve certainly explored the crony capitalist pick-a-winner style long enough to know that’s not right, and we should be smart enough to know much of the rest of what we’re doing is “Bureaucrat Development” not economic development at all.

    What economic development strategies do we need? What are our weakness. Number one, very simply – we lack access to capital. We live in a region of net debtors, overspenders with little or now ability to save or invest. We live in a region where retail banks are simply out-conveyors of wealth and over no capital to business. We live in a region which through confederation with Canada is at severe geopolitical disadvantage. We live in a region whose economic is tied mercilessly by a common currency to other regions whose economies have always and always will move at a faster pace by virtue of population, access to capital and vast northern expanses of wealth that we simply don’t have.

    How do we find the right strategy? It’s starts simply – understanding where wealth comes from. There are only four places. We can use our labour to fish it from the sea, grow it in the soil, dig it from the earth or manufacture it… we can make stuff, ideas and services. As it’s clear to all that we’ve overcapitalized or exhausted… we could say commoditized… the first three options SO Economic Development needs to focus on the last option… we make stuff. This isn’t just old fashioned manufacturing – it’s about intellectual property and the creative economy from services to subscriptions.

    Happily, that’s where the fun and the future is. But to get there we have to talk about, support and respect the special jobs that create new wealth and especially think about the creative jobs producing uncommoditized new products, ideas, intellectual properties and opportunity.

    The most recent rhetoric form the new Dept of Business is ironically the least supportive and most unhelpful possible option for Nova Scotia and I for one will speak out against it at every turn. It seems classically bureaucratic that those calling loudest for these changes are the ones most stuck in the past and the old ways of waste in government.

    1. There are thousands of opportunities to find business from outside this province that do not require any form of government subsidies to get involved with. Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada are not a market. Anyone operating here needs to understand that the only way to find wealth is to look beyond our borders to markets that actually have money. I realize that not all businesses can be bootstrapped and profitable, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be looked for.

      My company has been holding regular events to help other small/medium companies learn how to use inbound marketing to attract clients and business from away. We’re not looking for clients at these events. Dozens of businesses come to these events. But, it’s still a tiny percentage of all the businesses locally that could benefit from these strategies. I guess it’s still easier to take a gov’t grant than it is to run a real business.

      I firmly believe that all business development agencies in the province should be killed off immediately. There are some amazing people working for these entities, but the initiatives are entirely wrong-headed. No gov’t agency is qualified to pick winners and their track record clearly speaks for itself.

  4. No direct grants to business. OK. But now they go through the black box of NSBI instead. Hardly a win for anyone.