Hi, I’m Erica Butler, your Examiner transportation columnist, filling in for Tim today and tomorrow.


1. Film industry

Writes Stephen Kimber:

IATSE Local 849, the union that represents most film technicians in the province, has statistics showing its members worked 40,687 days in 2014, earning $11,120,665 in gross pay and pensions. In 2017, those numbers had tumbled over a cliff: just 13,454 days worked with gross pay and pensions — $3,842,454 — 65 per cent lower than in 2014.

Click here to read “Stephen McNeil says there’s ‘lots’ of film activity; the facts tell a different story.”

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2. Burnside prisoners protest

The renovated North Unit day room at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The prisoners at the Burnside jail are engaged in a non-violent protest; here is their statement.

3. The Saudi exodus

a photo of the Tupper Medical Building

“The Saudi exodus from Dalhousie Medical School could trigger a chronic multi-million dollar-sized migraine for the institution, possibly starting this fall, as it scrambles to replace a lost revenue stream,” reports Elizabeth Chambers:

Immediately in question is the collectability of an estimated $5.9 million in Saudi tuition for the current term.

Chambers goes on to report that at issue is not just annual tuition payments, but additionally the unacknowledged subsidy the students are providing for health services.

Click here to read “The Saudi exodus from Dalhousie Medical School could be a massive financial hit to the university.”

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4. Dartmouth fights off the NCA

Photo by @foundryphotography, August 19, 2018, NCA rally at ferry terminal park Dartmouth.  Check out the full photo album here. 

A National Citizens’ Alliance (NCA) rally on Sunday in Dartmouth ended shortly after it began, with police escorting a half dozen organizers away through a large crowd of counterprotesters, reports Silas Brown for StarMetro Halifax.

You may recall the NCA from their appearance at this year’s Apple Blossom parade in Kentville, where they chanted, “We don’t want to become a globalist village,” and pleaded for protection of “Canada’s identity, culture and heritage.”

The NCA have since been banned from future Apple Blossom events, as well as being barred from hosting events at a Royal Canadian Legion, a church hall, and a hotel in Halifax, according to Rebecca Lau of Global News.

Meanwhile over in Halifax on a rainy Saturday, a few hundred people showed up for the rebirth of the multicultural festival, now dubbed Mosaic, reports Andrew Rankin in the Chronicle Herald. Rankin spoke to attendees who had a distinctly different vibe than the NCA:

“We just wanted to show our support and we think this is awesome,” said Laurie. “We should be celebrating our cultural diversity and supporting more immigration. History has shown we’re a much better province and country for it.”

5. Tidal environmental monitoring: hot potato edition

A photo of the tidal turbine.
Photo: Cape Sharpe Tidal

No one has implemented an approved contingency plan for environmental monitoring around the Cape Sharpe Tidal turbine spinning in the Minas Basin, and it appears no one will, reports Bruce Wark.

Wark reports that the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) has denied responsibility for near site monitoring, despite its role as “approval holder” for the entire tidal site:

Melissa Oldreive, who speaks for FORCE, said in an e-mail that Cape Sharp Tidal Inc., not FORCE, is responsible for monitoring near its turbine and for implementing a contingency plan to replace its environmental sensors which aren’t working.

“We are urging for the implementation of the approved program or contingency plans as soon as possible,” she wrote. 

However, Cape Sharp is in financial disarray with one partner, OpenHydro, facing bankruptcy and the other partner, Emera Inc., seeking to walk away from the company.

6. Immigration Canada is systematically separating refugee kids from their parents

Brian Hill of Global News tells the tale of an 11-year-old girl facing the horrible choice of remaining in Canada alone without her mother and brother, or returning to Sierra Leone with her family, where she runs the risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation.

This is the second story by Hill documenting the effects of a Canadian immigration policy that will not allow child refugees to include their own parents with their applications. Adult refugees can include family members including spouses and dependants, but children cannot include those they depend on.

The rule blocking kids from adding parents to their permanent residency applications applies to all child refugees in Canada, regardless of whether they arrive alone or with their family. It also applies when child refugees – such as Tenneh – have no one in Canada to care for them.

As Global News first reported in June, Immigration Canada has no evidence to support this policy. It says the rule is in place to prevent children, especially unaccompanied minors, from “exploitation,” but could not provide any research or statistical information to back up this assertion.

7. Invasive chain pickerel found in Kejimkujik

A young chain pickerel has been found inside Kejimkujik National Park, despite efforts to keep the invasive species out, reports Jenny Cowley for the CBC.

Chris McCarthy, resource conservation manager at the park, says the fish they found was small, but chain pickerel can grow to about a metre in length.

 “One of [the] larger ones was cut open, and they actually found three baby snapping turtles in it,” McCarthy said about the species.

The fish are also quick to reproduce, leaving other native species at Kejimkujik at risk. 

The chain pickerel was first found in Nova Scotia in 2013 in the Petite Riviere watershed, where they may have wiped out the world’s last remaining Atlantic whitefish.  Last year, chain pickerel pulled out of the LaHave river were found to have been feasting on Atlantic salmon smolts, according to reports by Paul Withers of the CBC, who has been covering the progress of the species.


While geologists gather in Halifax this week to figure out how to get more carbon out of the ground and into the atmosphere (see On Campus, below), CBC news reports that a crew of 21 Nova Scotian firefighters are en route to B.C., where nearly 600 wildfires are burning and the province has declared a state of emergency.


A kid on a bicycle stops to watch as a flock of giant monster birds attack a 30-storey building proposed to be built on Spring Garden Road.

Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — on the agenda is Dexel Development’s proposal for 30-storey and 16-storey towers at the corner of Robie and Carlton Streets. Tim wrote about this herehere and here.

No government meetings for the rest of the week.

On campus


Conjugate Margins Conference (8am Monday through 4pm Wednesday, Student Union Building) — Starting today and going until Wednesday, research and industry scientists will gather for this government- and industry-sponsored conference “focused on improving knowledge on the geological evolution and petroleum prospectivity of divergent Atlantic margin basins.”

Major sponsors are the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, OERA (Offshore Energy Research Association), Husky Energy, and Equinor (formerly Statoil).

From the conference website:  “The organizers strive to create a gathering that encourages the building of business and research relationships with the goal of improving knowledge and prospectivity of this under-explored global petroleum province.”


Thesis defence, Mathematics (Tuesday, 10:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — PhD candidate Evangelia Aleiferi will defend her thesis, “Cartesian Double Categories With An Emphasis On Characterizing Spans.”

Thesis defence, Sociology and Social Anthropology (Tuesday, 11am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Diana Lewis will defend her thesis, “Tlilnuo’lti’k — Weji-sqalia’timk — How we will be Mi’kmaq on our Land: Working Together with Pictou Landing First Nation to Redefine a Healthy Community​​​.”

In the harbour

8am: Minerva Eleftheria, oil tanker, sails from Monobuoy for sea
9am: Dukhan, LNG tanker, sails from CB#1 for Qatar
9am: Penn 92, asphalt barge, arrives at CB#1 from Boston


Better late than never?

Join the Conversation


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  1. Like other reasonable people, I am concerned about the chain pickerel. But I am very concerned about those “giant monster birds” that are going to threaten downtown buildings. (Thanks for that great caption! It made me smile on an otherwise grim day).

  2. Re NCA protests: A half-dozen people show up to spout their views, which probably wouldn’t have gained any attention at all were it not for the counter-protestors. Idea for the future: Let them show up, spout their verbal drivel, and pay them no attention at all. The coverage is, after all, exactly what they want. Ever hear of the Streisand Effect?

  3. I’m assuming the pickerel were originally introduced by sneaky sports fishers, like the Largemouth bass in New Brunswick . Someone keeps trying to introduce Rainbow trout on the Restigouche watershed too. (The fish didn’t just move in on their own, like the White-tailed deer did in the late 19th century, killing off the woodland caribou with their brain parasites.) I think there should be severe penalties for doing this, but obviously it is hard to catch anyone in the act when it involves releasing a few fish.

    1. It seems like with modern genetic tools it would be easy to determine if the chain pickerel were somehow moving on their own or were all descended from a founding stock of a couple fish. It does seem to me like it would be quite an operation to catch the pickerel, keep them alive, making sure to have both sexes, and take them somewhere else to release them.

      Either way, I, Donald J Trout, am calling for a TOTAL and complete SHUTDOWN of chain pickerel until we can figure out what the hell is going on.

        1. That is certainly one possibility. They spawn on aquatic plants so anything that could transport egg-bearing plant matter without it drying out between lakes could do it. It probably is anglers, I just think that it is an intriguing possibility that we could use DNA to figure out the relationships between chain pickerel populations.

          We’ve changed the environment so much that there could be a new natural process moving the pickerel.

          But it is probably jackasses.

  4. My grandparents told me years ago that pickerel had got into Shortts Lake and wiped out all the trout there. This was way before 2013, though perhaps it’s a different sort of pickerel.

    It breaks my heart to see how much we have damaged these lands and waters. But I’m thankful for counter-protestors.

    1. Alex, it’s actually chain pickerel in Shortts Lake. This fish has been in many NS lakes since the 1940’s (especially southern NS). However, the number of lakes across the province that has been impacted by this species has shot up in more recent years. As a result, chain pickerel is rapidly becoming much more widespread, with negative impacts on lake ecosystems and trout fisheries.

    2. Thanks for pointing that out, now corrected. They were first discovered in the Petite Riviere watershed in 2013.