News

1. QuadrigaCX

Exhibit K in the bankruptcy filing: Millions of dollars in bank drafts held by QuadrigaCX Director of Operations Aaron Matthews are stacked on somebody’s stove.

The biggest tech story of the year so far happened right here in Nova Scotia, and it’s amazing.

When 30-year-old Fall River resident Gerald Cotten died unexpectedly, the location of some $260 million in cash and cryptocurrency went to the grave with him.

Writer Andrew Wright tells us:

A 25-year-old Gerald Cotten and his partners had set up the original
QuadrigaCX in Vancouver but by 2016, Cotten, working on a laptop out of his modest Fall River, Nova Scotia home was the sole officer, director, and holder of the company’s “cold wallet” offline reserves of
cryptocurrencies currently worth about $191 million.

Cotten died unexpectedly in December, and his estate is now part of bankruptcy proceedings at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, which will decide what to do with his assets:

Chief among those assets are a simple laptop computer and a thumb drive, both encrypted and holding the secret whereabouts of about $191 million in cryptocurrency.

The $70 million in cash and other assets is also something of a mystery.

By noon today, this story will be all over the international press.

Click here to read “The $260 million QuadrigaCX mystery.” 

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2. Shambhala

Sakyong Mipham

The supposed “third party investigation” of alleged sexual assaults and other improprieties in the Shambhala community that was conducted by Wickwire Holm lawyer Selina Bath was published over the weekend.

I don’t know Bath, and have no reason to think she is anything other than impartial (the only thing I know about her is that she once represented the Atlantic Lottery Corporation). I do wish, however, the report directly stated whether or not she is part of the Shambhala community.

It’s important to note that some of the alleged survivors did not want to talk to Bath. You can read their reasoning here, but the short of it is that they believe any law firm hired by the Shambhala organization is necessarily compromised.

In any event, a summary of her investigation (as filtered through the Shambhala organization) reads as follows:

From the beginning of the investigation last July to its close November 16, Wickwire Holm received 100 individual contacts by telephone or email. Of these total contacts, 25 did not respond to Wickwire Holm’s follow-up inquiry to engage in further communication.

The investigator engaged in conversation with the remaining 75 contacts. Of these, 42 concerned matters related to potential sexual misconduct.

Of those 42 individuals, 10 were related to the Sakyong, including Claimants No. 1 and No. 3 whose investigative reports are attached; 12 had some evidence that tended to corroborate the investigated reports and 20 were related to matters of sexual misconduct involving other Shambhala leaders (some of these dated from the 1980s).

Of the 10 contacts related to the Sakyong, two were from the late 1990s; six were from the period 2000-2005; and two were in the time period after 2005.

Of the remaining 33 contacts which did not involve sexual misconduct allegations, Wickwire Holm reported to us certain issues raised by these individuals which are described below.

Claims Investigated

Out of the above contacts, six were determined to meet the criteria for investigation and were wholly or partially investigated as follows:

Claim No. 1 was initially referred by Shambhala to Wickwire Holm for investigation and, as shown in the Addendum to Claim No. 1, the claimant eventually came forward and agreed to participate, and that Report is attached hereto as Claim No. 1.

Claim No. 2 was initially referred to Wickwire Holm by Shambhala and, despite efforts by Wickwire Holm to reach out to the potential claimant, she did not come forward to present her claim. Because of that, the matter was not investigated.

Claim No. 3 The Claimant agreed to participate, and the claim was investigated and is attached hereto as Claim No. 3.

Claim No. 4 involved an internal and local dispute (not involving the Sakyong) which after an initial interview, the Claimant withdrew.

Claim No. 5 The Claimant agreed to participate. The claim was investigated, and it is attached hereto as Claim No. 5.

Claim No. 6 The Claimant, for a variety of reasons, came forward after the deadline with a claim (not involving the Sakyong). The nature of the claim and the fact that it would have delayed the final report caused the IB not to have Wickwire Holm pursue the investigation at this time. However, the IB has referred this claim to the International Care and Conduct Panel to determine whether an investigation should be commenced.

Summary of the Findings and Conclusions of Claim Investigations No. 1, No. 3, and No. 5

The following is a summary of the significant Findings and Conclusions made by Wickwire Holm in each of the three claims that were investigated to resolution. The investigative reports are included in their entirety in the following section “II. Claims Investigations by Wickwire Holm.”

Claim No. 1: A finding of sexual misconduct by the Sakyong.

Claim No. 3:

1. a.) A finding that more likely than not the Sakyong attempted to have sexual relations with the Claimant and that any sexual advances towards Claimant constituted sexual and clergy misconduct.

1. b.) No finding that sexual assault occurred.

2. The claim that the Sakyong attempted to force Claimant to have sex with other men is not found to be substantiated.

3. Finding that there was no evidence to support the allegation that the Sakyong had sexual relations with teenagers at the Shambhala Mountain Center.

4. Finding that the Claimant was expected to donate her time and money to the Sakyong and Shambhala and, more likely than not, the Sakyong did suggest to Claimant that she donate her townhouse in Boulder.

5. Finding that Claimant was expected to remain silent about what she experienced, saw or heard while in the presence of the Sakyong and that she felt shamed upon leaving the community. No finding that she was verbally threatened.

Claim No. 5: Claimant’s allegations against Respondent, another sangha member, were not substantiated. No finding of misconduct by Respondent.

You can read the whole report here.

3. A White People’s Guide to Black History Month

Image from the Daily Mail.

El Jones wrote a wickedly funny satirical guide for surviving this Black History Month as a white person:

Always suggest that all you are doing is “debating.” Just remember, Black people aren’t actual humans who have lives, jobs, or dignity. Black people just exist as examples for you to use to illustrate “controversial” issues. Kind of like specimens, or zoo animals.

If Black people object to your characterization of them, then be sure to say you were “just joking,” “just raising some interesting points for discussion,” or that you are just “exploring both sides in a balanced manner.”

If Black people are hurt by having issues that seriously affect their lives callously made into examples, then move to the next step.

Always accuse Black people of being “offended.” Remember, they are emotional and unstable, and you are a calm, reasonable white person. Calling them “sensitive” or “PC” is another good option. No matter how informed they are, always suggest the problem is their perceptions and feelings. Black people get carried away easily. That’s why there’s so many of them in prison.

Click here to read “A White People’s Guide to Black History Month.”

4. Add two more cowardly Liberals

“I have more than once described the Liberal members of the standing committee on public accounts — Vice Chair Gordon Wilson and MLAs Brendan Maguire, Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Hugh MacKay and Ben Jessome — as the “Fangless Five” for their unfailingly fearless failure to do their job of holding the government to account,” writes Stephen Kimber:

Someone on social media one-upped me by calling them the “Feckless Five.”

Last week, Examiner Editor Tim Bousquet offered up “Craven Fools,” as in “these craven fools are undermining the very institutions of our democracy.”

Hold that thought.

It turns out we may need even more new nomenclature now that we must include the two additional interchangeable Babbling Bobbleheads from the freshly-minted-but-still-smells-of-the-same-old standing committee on health.

The health committee boasts two different, don’t-make-a-damn-difference Liberal MLAs — Keith Irving and Rafah DiCostanzo — to the aforementioned MLAs Wilson, now elevated to chair, Lohnes-Croft and Jessome.

Click here to read “Now that the Fangless Five have become the Insensate Seven, it’s past time for…?”

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5. Boat Harbour

The aeration pond at Boat Harbour. Photo: Joan Baxter

“A day before Pictou Landing First Nation (PLFN) Chief Andrea Paul and her community, together with allies from all over Nova Scotia, were to celebrate the countdown to the long overdue closure of Boat Harbour, Northern Pulp suddenly announced that it would be holding an RSVP-only press conference in the swanky office of its law firm, McInnes Cooper, in Halifax,” reports Joan Baxter:

And it would be doing so one hour before the Pictou Landing First Nation event started on Thursday morning.

Click here to read “‘Everything won’t stink so bad.’”

6. Michael McNutt

“A lawyer representing two men who allege they were abused by a former teacher and volunteer coach says there are probably many more victims out there,” reports Blair Rhodes for the CBC:

Last month, Halifax Regional Police announced charges against Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, for alleged historical sexual assaults.

There are 27 charges involving 13 alleged victims. The charges are from the 1970s and 80s when McNutt worked and coached in the Halifax area.

“I wasn’t terribly surprised,” Halifax lawyer Mike Dull said. “I mean the whispers of his inappropriate behaviour have been ongoing in the Halifax community for a long time.”

Dull’s clients are involved among six civil lawsuits that have been launched against McNutt, in addition to the criminal charges.

The suits also name the Halifax Regional School Board — as it was known at the time — along with hockey and baseball organizations as defendants.

I’ve spoken with some of the survivors, and have seen police investigative notes. I can say with some assurance that this case is much more expansive than has been reported so far.

The latest batch of charges have not been tried in court, and so there’s a presumption of innocence on those charges. Still, I can say definitively that McNutt was a sexual predator of children: He has had at least three prior convictions related to sexual interference with children.

While the focus right now is understandably on McNutt, his predation of children raises broader questions about other adults in positions of responsibility. It sure looks like people were aware of, or at least suspected, that McNutt was preying on boys. And despite that knowledge or suspicion, they put the reputation of their respective institutions above addressing the crimes, and so instead of notifying police, they shuffled McNutt off to other institutions where he could commit more crimes.

7. College sports

The F-word is used something like 18,000 times in this video, if that matters to you:

I appreciate that the videographer apologizes for holding the camera vertically:

*Filmed vertically for grip as it was extremely close to the action and risked falling into the chaos. Enjoy!

“University hockey fans witnessed a brawl between members of the Acadia Axemen and the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men in Wolfville, N.S., on Saturday evening — and videos of the incidents are spreading rapidly across social media,” reports Emma Davie for the CBC:

Videos show players on both teams throwing punches, grabbing jerseys and hurling insults at one another.

One player from the Acadia team can be seen hitting people with his hockey stick from the bench.

The @AxeMenHockey twitter account live-blogged the action:

Spears just jumped Southam at centre ice… now Maaskant and Spears drop the gloves and Maaskant lands a couple of big blows. Spears says something to the bench

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

We have a mass brawl in the benches.. this is not good, sticks flying,things have gone off the rails…

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

Hoyles is losing his mind for StFX being chased around by a linesman now he jumps back at the Acadia bench.. this is something else…

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

I have no idea what happens next after that… that was pure pandemonium as Spears jumped Southam at centre ice, and then things just went wild. pic.twitter.com/kCJ34VChJv

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

We’re still waiting for things to get figured out.. if there’s any silver lining, the long delay should cool tensions and let emotions drop a bit after that donnybrook.

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

Both head coaches have been ejected from the game, Brad Peddle for StFX and Darren Burns for Acadia, along with a number of players from both teams. At least 7 from StFX, 3 for Acadia I believe

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

looks like 6 from Acadia were ejected…

— Acadia Axemen Hockey (@axemenhockey) February 3, 2019

After the fight, a hockey game broke out, and the Axemen prevailed, 6-3.

Meanwhile, “a disciplinary drill that sent a player to hospital has resulted in the suspension of St. Francis Xavier University women’s basketball coach Lee Anna Osei,” reports Bill Spurr for the Chronicle Herald:

Upset with a first-year player for skipping a class, Osei had her do a drill called either the crab walk or the alligator crawl up and down the sideline during practice last week, sources told The Chronicle Herald.

By the time the punishment was over, the player had abrasions on both elbows and wrists that required medical treatment, the sources said.

When the X-Women went to Fredericton last weekend, Osei did not accompany the team.

“This is a personnel matter involving an injury to a student-athlete that occurred during practice,” Leo MacPherson, St. F.X. director of athletics, said Thursday.

“Our standard protocol when something like this happens is to have the coach step aside while we conduct our investigation. That investigation is ongoing, thorough, and the student-athlete is now back at practice and should play this weekend.”

8. Extinction Rebellion

A press release from the Extinction Rebellion group:

At noon on February 16th, 2019, local members of Extinction Rebellion will conduct an action at Spring Garden Road near Queen Street in downtown Halifax as part of the Canadian Declaration of Rebellion week. In response to the persistent and negligent failure of our leaders to acknowledge and act on the climate crisis, concerned citizens will perform a die-in and then block traffic near the Halifax Central Library. 

“We have less than twelve years to take urgent action or we face literal extinction. Our leaders have not yet found the courage to stand up to fossil fuel interests, and acknowledge and act on the crisis. We must help them find their courage before they lock our children into an unlivable future.”

What: Extinction Rebellion NS Direct Action to Protect Future Generations

When: Saturday, February 16, 2019, 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Where: Spring Garden Rd, near Queen Street, Halifax

Who: Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia

Why: To help our leaders – in government, business and the media – find the courage to acknowledge and act on the climate crisis.

9. Charlottetown

“The City of Charlottetown has parted ways with its deputy chief administrative officer,” reports Dave Stewart for the Charlottetown Guardian:

The city created the new position and hired Scott Messervey to fill the role on Jan. 22, 2018.

Messervey had been serving as audit director in the province’s auditor general’s office prior to joining the city.

Messervey was brought on to take some of the load off CAO Peter Kelly’s shoulders. Since Kelly arrived in 2016, he had been taking care of the tasks done by four former directors, positions that hadn’t been filled — director of public services, director of corporate services, director of human resources and director of fiscal and development services.

Messervey didn’t respond to an interview request.

Messervey has been in P.E.I. since 2009. In the auditor general’s office, he served as the audit director of financial statements and the audit director of professional practice and quality assurance. He has also worked in the private sector and spent nine years with the auditor general in Nova Scotia.

I’m always happy to console someone down on their luck, out of a job. If Scott Messervey wants to have drinks, I’m buying.

10. Jacob Boon

Jacob Boon has left his position at The Coast to take a job in the Yukon Northwest Territories.

He’s been an important part of the local journalism scene for the past five years, and will be sorely missed.

Best of luck to Jacob and all his future endeavours.

https://twitter.com/RWJBoon/status/1092222032819957760

Noticed

1. Liebling

Mary Campbell writes in the Cape Breton Spectator:

One final note: I found a quote from the great American journalist A.J. Liebling that sums up the raison d’etre of the Spectator (and all the other brash, young startup news publications in Atlantic Canada) in a single sentence:

There’s nothing crummier than a one-paper town.

(I found it in this New Yorker article by Jill Lepore about the future of newspapers.)

Wikipedia tells this story of Liebling:

In 1926, Liebling’s father asked if he would like to suspend his career as a journalist to study in Paris for a year.

I sensed my father’s generous intention and, fearing that he might change his mind, I told him that I didn’t feel I should go, since I was indeed thinking of getting married. “The girl is ten years older than I am,” I said, “and Mother might think she is kind of fast, because she is being kept by a cotton broker from Memphis, Tennessee, who only comes North once in a while. But you are a man of the world, and you understand that a woman can’t always help herself…” Within the week, I had a letter of credit on the Irving Trust for two thousand dollars, and a reservation on the old Caronia for late in the summer, when the off-season rates would be in effect.

I wonder if… no, never mind.

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.
White space

2. Bike bridge

Artist’s rendering of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge in Chico, California over East 20th Street, just east of Highway 99. The project was awarded more than $12 million Thursday by the state Transportation Commission; the city is chipping in the remaining $3 million. Graphic: City of Chico)

I couldn’t help but think of the Macdonald Bridge bike ramp when I read this article about a new bicycle bridge to be constructed in Chico, California.

Chico has a population of about 100,000 (maybe a third of the population of the urban area in HRM), and is moving forward with a $15 million bike bridge ($12 million from the state), over a busy road. Depending on how you count the costs, the proposed Macdonald Bridge bike ramp is about $6 million.

Chico is of course much warmer than Halifax, but has a long rainy season. It is also on the valley floor, and so flat, conducive to bike riding.

The Chico bike bridge is part of a larger bike network that spans the city from north to south:

The bridge would eliminate the need for bicyclists to weave through the Chico Mall parking lots and cross the multiple lanes of traffic on East 20th Street.

“This was a critical gap closure,” said city of Chico associate engineer Noel Carvalho. “There’s not a lot of bike traffic crossing 20th Street because it’s just too dangerous. People avoid it.”

“This project will open up new opportunities that weren’t there before.”

The bridge will especially be useful to people going to a campus of the community college on the south side of town, but it’s also in a retail area that includes the Chico Mall and the usual big box stores.

A rendering of Halifax’s potential future bike bridge connecting the Macdonald Bridge to North and Gottingen Streets.

Government

City

Monday

Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — HRM’s first Annual Workforce Report is out.

Grants Committee (Monday, 1pm, City Hall) — the committee is being asked to approve a less-than-market-price lease of 5,300 square feet of space in the Canada Games Centre to the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic Society:

The market value was established in comparison to the lease rates paid by the current tenants at the Canada Games Centre at a rental rate of $19.00 per square foot and operating cost of $15.47 per square foot for a total rental rate of $34.47 per square foot plus HST. The proposed lease agreement with CSCA is considered a less than market value as the total rent is $18.33 per square foot plus HST. The proposed rent for this space is $16.14 per square foot below the current market value for the facility. In addition, all Tenants within the facility are responsible to pay their proportionate share of the property taxes.

It’s a five-year lease with the following rent:

Public Information Meeting – Case 21730 (Monday, 7pm, Rockingham United Church) — Pathos Properties wants bylaw changes so it can build an eight-storey apartment building at 205 Bedford Highway, Halifax. That’s across from where Flamingo Drive hits the Bedford Highway; the site now is occupied by a tired house with a crappy two-storey apartment building attached to it, and some hipster dude playing with his phone out front:

Tuesday

Special Transportation Standing Committee (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — this meeting is called to move forward the recommendations of a study of the taxi industry, minus the recommendation that cameras be installed in cabs. After the Transportation Committee votes for approval, the proposed changes get kicked up to the full regional council for consideration.

Police Commission Special Meeting (Tuesday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — consideration of the proposed budget, along with the related issue of fees for background checks.

 Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm, City Hall) — the biggest issue on the agenda is the rezoning of the former Ben’s Bakery site.

Province

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Community Services (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — discussion of the ACCESS-Ability Program.

Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — a per diem meeting.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Caregiving Support Group (Monday, 12pm, Room 3207, Mona Campbell Building) — Janice MacInnis and Marilyn MacDonald will talk.  Contact talent.management@dal.ca .

Nova Scotia’s Opioid Use and Overdose (Monday, 12pm, Theatre C, Tupper Link) — Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health in Nova Scotia, will talk.

African Heritage Month Launch (Monday, 12pm, Council Chambers, Student Union Building) — flag raising, music, food, and African drumming.

Anne Johnson. Photo: cognitiverepairkit.ca

Valuative capacity of some compact subsets of $\mathbb{Z}_p$ (Monday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Anne Johnson will speak. Her abstract:

​​​​We present a result from a 2015 paper by Fares and Petite called “The valuative capacity of subshits of finite type,” which gives a formula for the valuative capacity of certain compact subsets of $\mathbb{Z}_p$. We also show that the sets of interest in this paper can be viewed as the inverse image of limit sets under the map that sends $\mathbb{Z}_p$ into projective space.

Bring your own $\mathbb{Z}_p$.

Scientists Talking to the Public: A One-Way Conversation? Exploring Engagement Strategies in Science Communication (Monday, 5:30pm, Room 1014, Rowe Building) — Alexander Desiré-Tesar and Curtis Martin will speak. Their abstract:

Scientists have been communicators as long as there has been discoveries about the world around us and the universe beyond. Today, scientific research can be instrumental in helping to resolve major issues locally and globally. Seeking solutions to these problems is the responsibility of everyone: the public, governments, as well as researchers. Thus, communication about research is essential. How well is the communication working? This lecture features two presenters who will speak about their recent studies that investigated scientific communication from the perspectives of scientists and the strategies individual and environmental non-governmental organizations used to engage the public in discussion about science through social media platforms. This lecture will be of interest to all members of the academy, public policy professionals, and the public.​

Rickshaw Boy (Monday, 6pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — screening in Chinese with English subtitles.

Miriam Poldosky

BILL C69, Highlights of the Proposed New Impact Assessment Act (Monday, 6:30pm, Room 1016, Rowe Building) — Miriam Podolsky, director of Science Policy at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will speak.

Tuesday

Official Launch of Dalhousie’s Partnership with the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation   (Tuesday, 2:30pm, Indigenous Community Room, MacRae Library, Agricultural Campus, Truro) — RSVP here.

Don Juan Comes Back from the War (Tuesday – Saturday, 7pm, Saturday matinee 2pm, David Mack. Murray Studio, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — directed by Jure Gantar. Tickets $15.


In the harbour

10:00: Ice Point, oil tanker, arrives at Tufts Cove from Philadelphia. I hope they don’t spill anything.
12:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
12:00: Vuoksi Maersk, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
13:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, moves from Pier 30 to Pier 36
14:00: Horizon Enabler, offshore supply ship, moves from Pier 9 to Irving Oil
14:00: Budapest Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for sea

Where are the Canadian military ships?



Footnotes

I’ve got nothing.


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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. Mr Boon will be missed. Good luck to him and hopefully the Coast can get someone just as good for his replacement.

  2. We refer to them as “bike” bridges, but both are being built so that drivers don’t have to slow down to a speed that protects vulnerable road users. If we didn’t value drivers’ time and convenience so much we wouldn’t need them (though the Macdonald bridge ramp will help with the steep grade that prevents it from being accessible to all ages and abilities).

  3. The Charlottetown outside auditors issued a qualified opinion on the financial statements and a few days later the person responsible for preparing the financial statements leaves. Charlottetown has a population of 36,000 so how come calculating inventories is so difficult ?

  4. Hi, If I read correctly, The Coast guy is in Yellowknife which is in the Northwest Territories, not the Yukon.