I’m Erica Butler,  filling in for Tim while Tim keeps right on working. We both bring you today’s Morningfile.


1. BP approved to resume drilling

The Seadrill West Aquarius has been approved to restart drilling operations for BP on the Scotian Shelf.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board has given the green light for BP to resume drilling the exploratory well which was the site of an accidental spill of thousands of litres of drilling lubricant in June, reports Mairin Prentiss for the CBC.

The regulator said the spill of 136,000 litres of drilling mud on June 22 was caused by a loose connection in the mud booster line on board the West Aquarius rig, which is drilling about 330 kilometres southeast of Halifax.

The regulator said BP Canada is improving its inspection procedures, installing a pressure alarm system and replacing a section of mud booster line to try to prevent another a failure in the future.

The petroleum board investigation is still incomplete.

A coalition of groups called the Offshore Alliance questions the “scientific and democratic legitimacy” of the offshore petroleum board, which is both regulator and promoter of offshore industry in Nova Scotia. The alliance is calling for a moratorium on offshore exploration and development pending a public inquiry into the industry.

2. Yarmouth ferry

A photo of the Alakai, the ship used for the Yarmouth ferry.
The Alakai. Photo: Halifax Examiner

This item was written by Tim Bousquet.

The Yarmouth ferry ain’t doing so great.

The City of Portland released the June passenger counts for the Yarmouth ferry. Passenger counts for June 2018 are 13 per cent lower than from June 2017. Here are the running monthly totals:

June: 3,616
July: 10,813
August: 13,909
September: 7,128
Total 2016: 35,466

June: 7,677 (+112% compared to June 2016)
July: 11,816 (+9% compared to July 2016)
August: 12,533 (-10% compared to August 2016)
September: 6,907 (- 3% compared to September 2017
Total 2017: 38,933 (+10% over 2016 total)

June: 6,701 (- 13% compared to June 2017)

The $100 million subsidy to Bay Ferries — $10 million per year for 10 years — is dependent on an annual passenger count of 60,000. Here’s what Paul LaFleche, the deputy minister of of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, told the legislature’s Public Accounts Committee on March 30, 2016, after the deal with Bay Ferries was announced:

We’ve set what we believe are realistic targets for this ferry. We knew the subsidy would be double digit initially. We knew there would be some start-up costs, and we knew that the passenger counts had to be set realistically. So again, when I appeared last September — and I know only some of the media heard me and some of the other people in the audience — we said 60,000. We didn’t say 120,000. We didn’t say 150,000.

We had people who actually bid on other numbers even though we told them they had to bid on 60,000 – and of course those bids were disqualified. We went back to them before we disqualified them and insisted to them, can you bid on 60,000? They said, we don’t believe in 60,000, we have a big number. We weren’t interested in that. At this time, we would like to achieve 60,000 in the next couple of years. If we achieve a much larger number, that’s fabulous.

3. Tidal Power

Graphic: Cape Sharp Tidal

This item was written by Tim Bousquet.

“Cape Sharp Tidal Inc. successfully deployed its second massive turbine Sunday afternoon at its test site in the turbulent waters of the Minas Passage, eight kilometres west of Parrsboro, N.S.,” reports Bruce Wark, who was the only reporter on the scene:*

“We had a very good day today,” said a smiling Alasdair McLean, country manager for the turbine developer OpenHydro. “Things went according to plan.”

The specially built barge carrying the 16-metre, 300 tonne turbine attached to its 700 tonne base was slowly towed into position and kept there by two tugs as the tide ebbed shortly after 1 p.m. The turbine disappeared underwater at 1:45 and an hour later, McLean declared it was resting in its proper position about 27 metres below the surface.

“We’ve had months of preparation for today,” he said, “and it’s really satisfying to see it all get pulled together.”

Wark goes on to report that a local fisherman, Mark Taylor, complains that he lost 100 lobster traps during the turbine deployment.

* Update, Noon: Bruce Wark didn’t see her at the deployment site, but it turns out that freelance reporter Lynn Sawyer was also there. She sends this photo:

a photo of the turbine deployment

4. Gottingen bus lane goes to committee

A proposed dedicated bus lane on Gottingen Street will go to council’s Transportation Standing Committee on Thursday. A staff report recommends removing parking from Gottingen Street southbound, delineating three lanes, and using the northbound for buses only during peak hours.  For the rest of the day, parking and loading would be permitted in the northbound lane.

The Examiner covered the controversy over the Gottingen bus lane back in February. The North End Business Association is opposed to the project, and counter-proposing that Halifax Transit take express buses off the small scale commercial street and move them to Barrington Street. That plan would require routing of Dartmouth-bound buses onto the ramp to the MacDonald bridge, something that Halifax Transit says it can’t do safely under the current alignment, though internal emails city show that city engineers believe it is possible.

I’m wondering why we don’t do something funky like a centre reversible busway on Gottingen, with streetcar-like bus stops marked with raised, coloured pavement. This would give southbound buses a clear path in the morning peak hour (which will be even more important once the route 1 Spring Garden finally runs both ways along Gottingen as is promised in the Moving Forward Together plan), and northbound buses a clear path in the afternoon.

5. Mayor Savage goes back to school

Mike Savage is taking a week in the Big Apple to attend Michael Bloomberg’s city leadership initiative. Don’t worry, the trip doesn’t cost Halifax anything except the mayor’s time.

Here’s hoping Savage gets to meet Catherine Pugh, the Baltimore mayor who had four Confederate statues removed overnight last summer, and also Janette Sadik-Khan, the former New York transportation commissioner of New York who transformed how streets are planned in the city.

Bousquet adds: Peeps, Bloomberg is a terrible person. Continuing his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani’s “broken windows” policies with his own stop-and-frisk policies effectively criminalized an entire generation of black and brown men; as journalist Steven Wishnia wrote in 2013:

Bloomberg was not as racially pugnacious as Rudolph Giuliani, but his policing policies relied on a racist statistical fallacy – that because most crime suspects are black and Latino men, that justifies treating all black and Latino men as potential criminals. Of the 685,000 people a year questioned under the stop-and-frisk policy and the 50,000-odd busted for marijuana possession, around 85 percent were black or Latino. State Sen. Eric Adams, a former police officer, testified last April that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had told him the stop-and-frisk policy focused on blacks and Latinos “to instill fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police.” Kelly denied saying this, but it was only an impoliticly explicit version of the administration’s standard defense – that crime will return to crack-era levels unless you keep certain demographic groups clamped down. Earlier this year, the mayor urged that public-housing residents be fingerprinted.

Savage is mayor of a city that likewise overly targets people of colour with street checks, with the entirely predictable resulting criminalization of youth and perhaps even more disheartening, the creation of another generation that rightly views the power and policing structures of our community with distrust. Savage should not be going to “learn” from the monster that is Bloomberg; rather, he should be un-learning those lessons.

6. Fishermen are picking up after themselves

The CBC features a happy report on fishermen collecting lost gear from the Bay of Fundy, and people using the broken gear for landscaping retaining walls and weaving doormats. Apparently, reports Shane Ross, this is something fishermen have been doing for about a decade.

Ghost gear not only entangles whales and other sea life, not only degrades to become microplastics to be ingested by sealife and then potentially us, not only makes up 46 per cent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but it also entangles new fishing gear, costing fishermen money and time.

I’m filing this one under, “I should hope so.”

7. Knowledge House sentencing

The Chronicle Herald reports that two people convicted of fraud in the Knowledge House stock market swindle will be sentenced Wednesday. Former CEO Daniel Potter and lawyer Blois Colpitts were both convicted in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in March.  In May, the Crown asked for 10 to 12 year prison sentences, while Potter’s defense lawyer asked for three to four years.


1.  Librarians school an economist on how libraries work

On Saturday, a professor of economics at Long Island University wrote a hamfisted piece in Forbes (and Forbes published it!) calling for Amazon to “open their own bookstores in all local communities” so that, “they can replace local libraries and save taxpayers lots of money.”

Panos Mourdoukoutas suggested that a combination of Starbucks, Netflix and Amazon could get people just about everything a library could, and somehow individuals would save money by trading in their collective library taxes for individual spending in the corporate marketplace.

As expected, librarians in the Twitterverse went ballistic. The comments on Mourdoukoutas’ original post are quite a read, but when it comes to angry librarians, there’s really only one place to go: Alex Halpern, the guy that heartily defended public libraries back in October when New York Observer columnist Andre Walker declared that “Nobody goes to libraries anymore.”

Are you out of your fucking mind https://t.co/ROcoCkPLGZ

— The Angriest Librarian Again (@HalpernAlex) July 22, 2018

2. Health care workers school Liberal MLA on social determinants of health

Meet Hugh MacKay, who has decided to blame the healthcare crisis on constituents habits after reading a comic today.

Hugh must not do the grocery shopping, if he did he would know that healthy food costs more than junk food. pic.twitter.com/uFFNM8k8fJ

— Gayle Collicutt (@GayleCollicutt) July 22, 2018

Chester-St. Margaret’s MLA Hugh Mackay posted to Facebook on Sunday with a short missive on how lifestyle choices are driving up health care costs:

“Before questioning why there is not more money for education, roads, and community services, think about the immense wasted costs in treating the results of our lifestyle choices.”

Health care workers and others then chimed in to explain the social determinants of health (the main statistical determinants of health, like income, education, race, and gender, among others) to Mackay.

Mackay issued an apology on Monday.


1. Dumb

Last night, King of Donairs had to issue a tweet saying, “we do not endorse Trump.” That can’t be good, right?  The clarification came after a previous tweet featuring their new promotional hats which read “Make Donairs Great Again.” The hats were produced to help promote the opening of a new location in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

KOD Grande Prairie Grand Opening is tomorrow at noon!
Free shirts and hats for the first 30 customers! #gpab #donair #pizza pic.twitter.com/wGrEAUBebG

— King Of Donair (@KingOfDonair) July 23, 2018

2. Terrifying

In the aftermath of Danforth shooting, today a veiled friend of mine was chased down near the central library with racist anti-muslim chants. The shooting was horrific, but that response is unacceptable, not in our Halifax, not anywhere.

— Houssam Elokda (@HoussamElokda) July 24, 2018




No public meetings.


Community Design Advisory Committee (Tuesday, 11:30am, City Hall) — the committee is still pretending that the Centre Plan will matter.

Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Art Room, Prospect Road Community Centre) — the only thing on the agenda is an update on the Nichols Lake Trail.

Public Information Meeting (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Gate Library) — Michael Napier Architecture Inc. has a development agreement to build a 10-storey building with 80 apartments at 169 Wyse Road in Dartmouth (the old Little Nashville/Centrefolds Strip Bar site), but now wants to reconfigure that into a six-storey building with 76 apartments.

Public Information Meeting – Case 21336 (Wednesday, 7pm, Community Room, Atlantic Superstore, 3601 Joseph Howe Dr., Halifax) — application by WM Fares to amend the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Mainland Land Use By-Law to enable a seven-storey residential development on a portion of 29 McFatridge Road. As part of this proposal, HRM will consider changes to reduce parking requirements in the C-2C (Dutch Village Road Mixed Use) Zone. https://www.halifax.ca/business/planning-development/applications/case-21336-29-mcfatridge-road


No public meetings this week.

On campus



Recursive Designs (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Andrew Szilard from Western University will speak. His abstract:

More than a hundred years ago, starting with G. Peano and followed by D. Hilbert, H. von Koch, W. Sierpiński, mathematicians were forced to realise that curves of potentially infinite length can be constructed by iterating simple geometric transformation rules, that these curves can be approximated by fractured lines and that some of these curves were space-filling as they could go arbitrarily close to any point in a closed region of the plane, as if they were two-dimensional. These curves, while only mathematical curiosities at first, were termed as monster curves for their peculiar properties such as being nowhere differentiable.

The study of these curves gave rise to some useful applications. Lindenmayer systems (aka L-systems) of parallel rewriting and recursive turtle graphics made possible a concise definition, analysis and simple implementations of these curves using only a few lines of program code. Recursive tiling of planar regions are intimately related to these curves. A number of illustrated programming examples are given through graphical interpretation of L-systems.

Pride Week: Pinkwashing 101 (Tuesday, 6pm, South House, 1443 Seymour Street) — from the event listing:

Last year, Queer Arabs of Halifax put forward a resolution at the Halifax Pride AGM after raising concerns of content that pinkwashed their current realities and trauma: “Pinkwashing is the use of claims to 2SLGBTQ+ friendliness by governments, corporations or organizations to divert attention from their violations of human rights or policies. The resolution specifically targeted the pinkwashing of violations of international humanitarian law by foreign governments; violations many members have experienced directly, having been racially profiled and denied basic human rights” (Queer Arabs Halifax, 2016). This resolution was not addressed by Halifax Pride which lead to a multi-organizational boycott of Halifax Pride 2018. This workshop will discuss the systemic, widespread, and state sanctioned violence of pinkwashing abroad as well as the local and current repercussions, harm, and struggle. This conversation aims to use larger concepts such as state control, neo-liberalism, supremacy, and access as a lens to examine questions such as:
• What does queer justice and liberation look like under capitalism and queer centric exploitation?
• What are the intersections between pinkwashing, occupation, and neo-colonisation and where do our responsibilities lie in disruption of this reality?
• Who is systemically erased and excluded from Pride? Who has ready access to “freedom”? What does a anti-racist restructuring or reimagining of corporate pride look like/ feel like?

Contact: HRES@dal.ca


The Commodification of Pride: A Facilitated Conversation (Wednesday, 7pm, Venus Envy, 1598 Barrington Street) — from the event listing:

You are welcomed to a facilitated conversation about the systemic and widespread commodification of pride celebrations. This space will be participatory and will be centred around self examination and discussion. The goal of this space is to be one of reflection, healing, and movement. This conversation aims to use larger concepts such as community/family, power, and access as a lens to examine questions such as:

• In which ways are your queerness and consumerism connected? How is this linked to pink-washing?

• How do you feel or see yourself represented within queer joy or queer celebration? How is this tied to mass consumption of certain kinds of “acceptable” queerness?

• Is celebration a tangible part of your queer identity? How does this show up in how you present? In how your body feels? In how you hold relationships?

• Can queerness be appropriated?

Contact: HRES@dal.ca

In the harbour

4am: Alpine Mary, oil tanker, arrives at Bedford Basin anchorage from Antwerp, Belgium
6am: AS Felicia, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Miami, Florida
Noon: Advance II, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea


That Humidex was definitely not kidding around. Take care, and go jump in a lake if you can.

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  1. Seems that councilors and the transportation department don’t care to listen to the folks who work and live on Gottingen Street. Those with their feet on the street suggest that Dartmouth bound buses be routed up Barrington for the six blocks because the Transportation Priority Corridor is damaging to the neighbourhood.
    If I were cynical, I would suggest that government’s lack of care and unwillingness to consider alternatives is a form of environmental racism. The air quality on Gottingen is already bad because the street already has too many buses and cars. The Gottingen Transportation Priority Corridor, which will be clogged with diesel buses running primarily between downtown and Dartmouth and the suburbs, is just condemning Gottingen’s businesses and residents to years of heavily polluted air and the resulting poor health.
    Although I live near Gottingen, the Transportation Priority Corridor will mean that I will find another shopping district or order online. Much as I prefer to shop locally, asthma keeps me off of polluted streets.
    My asthma and that of my children (both adults now) was due to living on a bus packed street when cities and transportation departments did not know of the environmental dangers from diesel buses. Now public health studies have consistently established serious harm to the health of residents and people who work near roads with heavy diesel traffic. This begs the question, why put Transportation Priority Corridors on residential streets? In the case of Gottingen, why not really explore the opions?

  2. Here is my solution to food affordability: Because it is of course impossible for people on the lower end of the income spectrum in Canada, despite being richer in real terms than most people on Earth to learn to cook basic staples like rice, beans, potatoes, bread etc (which is what nearly everyone on Earth gets 90% of their calories from) we have to do something radical: Install a set of silicone nipples in every dwelling that dispense soylent when sucked on – for free.

    1. Looks like you’re another candidate for some schooling on the social determinants of health, but then again, why would anyone waste their time in this manner.
      Would love to see you manage anything like a credible reference for the 90% (bull%%#t) number that you pulled out of the air.
      And as an added bonus, relevant income level in Canada is relevant for people living in Canada. It matters nothing what people in Laos or Ghana or Malaysia or Japan make in income, to my buying power in Canada. Such a dumb argument. Aaaargh. Ignorance is so frustrating.

  3. Readers should know that Bruce Wark, whom you invariably cite on stories about efforts to develop Fundy tidal power, is an obdurate opponent of that energy source. As I understand it, he believes we will be able to wean ourselves off planet-killing carbon emissions without resort to new energy sources; he thinks dispersed solar panels will do the trick. Most experts think he’s wrong.

    Readers may want to review the foul-mouthed YouTube rants by Mark Taylor, the only fisherman Wark cites, before deciding how credible a source of information on the subject he is.

    As a society, we grant lobster fishermen exclusive access to a lucrative public resource. One has only to visit any coastal community to see the wonderful impact this has on their household economies. That’s a great thing. Rural Canada could use a dozen more industries like lobster fishing.

    Unfortunately, some fisherman think their exclusive access should extend not just to lobster stocks, but to large sections of the ocean itself. They demand a veto over any competing (or even complementary) uses. That’s unreasonable.

    Personally, I think climate change is a planetary emergency, and we should throw everything we’ve got at it.

    1. Whoops! I’m wrong about one part of this. The foul-mouthed YouTube guy is Darren Porter not Mark Porter. My apologies to Mr. Porter—and to Bruce Wark.

    2. Nova Scotia may be out of offshore natural gas but Mozambique is sitting on very large offshore deposits -which will generate jobs and cash for the country. The one field will ,push the country to 17th in the world and above Norway in volume of reserves. I see posters on several sites claiming the oil and gas industry faces a slow death, a claim which rarely contains verifiable data.

  4. Worst part about the ferry is that passenger numbers and nights in SW NS hotels have been steadily declining since 2000 (when good data became available), long before there was no ferry. It was already a failing economic development strategy and when the Dexter Gov’t cancelled the old ferry that was actually a good choice from a rational point of view. Even after the ferry stopped hotel nights in SW NS did not dramatically decline. For years people had been bypassing Yarmouth, Digby and the rest mostly to come to Halifax and area regardless of if they used the ferry or not. Sure, there were a few jobs created but that wasn’t enough to turn around Yarmouth and area. But Dexter gov’t and McNeil gov’t both have made mistakes in handling this. Dexter didn’t have a plan for something else to provide jobs in SW NS- no reasonable retraining programs, no funding, no gov’t led projects- there was no replacement for the perceived benefits of the ferry. They did not provide an ALTERNATIVE. I suspect this contributed to his gov’ts downfall. McNeil has played the political angle hard. Brought back the ferry, pumping money into it to get votes. But its STILL not providing any more jobs than before and hotel nights are STILL declining. The economic impact is NOT significant.
    Cancel the subsidy, reinvest the money in clean energy jobs, fisheries, manufacturing and affordable housing in the Yarmouth area. Provide a VISION for the future. Get people working and excited about their future and they will forget about the ferry.

  5. Last night we looked up prices for the Cat because we live in Ottawa and want to go to Halifax…

    Car: $275USD one way
    Person: $200 round trip

    TOTAL: $950 round trip for two w car

    It takes about 7.5hrs to get to the ferry or Edmunston from here. If driving, we’ll drive the whole way even if we wanted to visit Boston… or Portland… on the way.