1. Court Watch: Barenaked Ladies, murders, and a toothless victory for credit customers

The week, Examiner court watcher Christina Macdonald goes to Toronto for something called the Moots and catches a glimpse of the BNL’s Ed Robertson in the courthouse. Macdonald also discusses Christopher Garnier’s alleged breach of conditions, George Hubley’s conviction of accessory to murder after the fact in the Catie Miller case, and a man — Dimcho Dimov — who had his life turned upside down by the credit agency Equifax.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

2. Designing for seniors

Gary Markle with two models.

Reporting for the Halifax Examiner, Chris Lambie profiles NSCAD prof Gary Markle, who creates clothing for elderly people with limited dexterity, and is branching out into hospital gowns.

3. Pictou wakes: dangerous

“A Nova Scotia man who bit off part of a fellow mourner’s nose in a drunken brawl at a wake has been sentenced to six months in jail,” reports Aly Thompson for the Canadian Press:

Randall Edwin MacLean was drunk when he arrived at the 2014 wake for his old friend Howard Miller at a house in downtown Pictou, but he wasn’t the only one.

Judge Del Atwood said almost everyone present was inebriated, and as will happen sometimes when a group of people have had too much to drink, a disagreement turned into a heated brawl.


MacLean had asked Gaudet’s sister, Mary Jane Malloy, to “get me a drink,” which caused Gaudet, who had put his head drunkenly on the kitchen table, to rouse himself in objection.

Witnesses at the trial differed on exactly what followed — Atwood blamed “the alcohol-thickened fog of this war” — but tensions apparently grew after Miller’s son, Jerry, asked MacLean to stop rolling a joint.

Soon enough, several men tried to eject MacLean from the house. During a struggle, MacLean clamped his teeth on Gaudet’s nose, severing the tip.

“It was just hanging there,” Malloy said, as quoted in Atwood’s ruling.

The CBC adds:

The defence had argued during trial that MacLean, 49, was acting in self defence during a drunken fight on Oct. 14, 2014, and latched onto Gaudet’s nose in a desperate bid to balance himself and stay upright.

“Apart from acrobats … nobody keeps his balance with his teeth,” Atwood wrote in his decision. “People will use their arms, hands, legs or otherwise contort themselves when they need to maintain balance. People do not bite into other people to maintain posture.” 

4. Lantz intersection

Google maps

I’m keeping an eye on what looks like the inevitable announcement that a new interchange will be built on the 102 at Lantz. There are three points of context.

First, Lantz is part of the East Hants electoral riding, which is represented by MLA Margaret Miller, who bested the NDP’s John MacDonell in the 2013 Liberal sweep. MacDonnell had held the seat since 1998, and had won five elections.

The McNeil government of course wants to keep the seat in a traditionally NDP riding, and so has brought Miller into cabinet as Environment Minister.

Second, the Liberals are evidently looking around for other plum spoils to bestow on East Hants and, as is typical for this government, are using new schools or the renovation of old schools as part of its electoral reward system.

At issue in Lantz is the Chignecto-Central regional school board’s decision that, due to declining enrolment, either the 18-year-old Maple Ridge Elementary School in Lantz or the 47-year old Shubenacadie District Elementary School be closed. The schools are 15 kilometres apart.

Reporting for Local Xpress, Francis Campbell explains how the School Options Committee, which was tasked with making the decision of which school to close, instead came back with a recommendation to keep both schools open.

Third, the argument for keeping both schools open is that future development in the Lantz area will bring more families to the area, and hence more students in need of schooling.

That future population growth, however, is dependent on a new interchange on the 102. Campbell reports:

Paul Mombourquette of Lantz, a land developer who sold much of his holdings to the Penney Group in recent years, said the group will begin a 10-year building phase in 2018 that will develop 200 lots for semi-detached residences, amounting to 400 separate homes.

Within that time, he said the Highway 102 interchange planned for Lantz should finally be completed, bringing more economic development.

“It will be an explosion of population and development,” Mombourquette said.

He said the best land in other suburban areas in the vicinity of Halifax has already been used and that Lantz is a prime location with cheaper land to develop.

“It wouldn’t be overly prudent, in my mind, to lose a school when you know development is coming.”

The best land in other suburban areas has already been used? Do what?

There is enough land zoned for development in HRM to accommodate three times the anticipated population growth expected by the end date of the city’s regional plan, 2031.

Besides being an example of political spoils, the Lantz intersection will precipitate environmentally destructive exo-suburban sprawl.

The idea is to build an expansive subdivision on the other side of the county line, where the developer is not constrained by HRM planning and zoning policies. The residents will primarily be people who work in and around Halifax, so they’ll be commuting up to 100 kilometres a day.

5. Examineradio and Canadaland

Examineradio producer Russell Gragg has moved to Toronto to take a job at Jesse Brown’s media criticism podcast, Canadaland. As a result of the move, we’re having some logistical problems with our own podcast, Examineradio, so we decided to take this week off. We’re working through those problems and Examineradio will return next week.

Additionally, however, I’m happy to announce that next week Canadaland is coming to Halifax. King’s journalism prof Terra Tailleur, Brown, and I will comprise a panel asking, and perhaps answering, the question “Is Atlantic Journalism Fucked?”

The podcast will be recorded before a live audience — hopefully including you — at the Marquee, a week from today, Friday, March 3 at 7pm. Doors open at 6.

Entry cost is $10, all of which goes to CKDU radio. We’ll have Examiner T-shirts and coffee mugs for sale, and maybe some surprises.


1. Snow, sidewalks, and setting our sights a little higher

A woman contemplates her next move after disembarking a bus on Gottingen Street, in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 15th. Sidewalks in either direction of the stop remained untouched at the time. Photo: Erica Butler.

“According to the 2011 sort-of-census, over 77 per cent of people in downtown Halifax get to their jobs by walking, biking, or using transit,” writes Halifax Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler:

In the university district, it’s about 72 per cent. And in the near north end, where I live, it’s about 69 per cent.

That’s a whole heck of a lot of people who use sidewalks on a daily basis. And ideally, we’d like it to be more. Halifax is trying to increase the share of trips that people make without cars, region-wide, to help keep traffic congestion and our GHG emissions from spiralling out of control as the city grows.

Which is why it’s surprising that we’ve built such a poor system to keep our sidewalks clear in winter.

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2. Encounter on Urban Environment

A still from the National Film Board documentary Encounter on Urban Environment.

“Are there documents you consider essential to understanding Halifax? asks Stephen Archibald:

My suggestion is a National Film Board documentary Encounter on Urban Environment. It records a week in February 1970 when a panel of 12 specialists from “away” spent long days meeting with government, institutions, and the community to uncover existing issues and consider pathways to the future.

Archibald goes on to discuss the film, which wrestles with the social and racial issues that plague us still, and along the way Archibald points at some glimpses of bygone streetscapes.

The film is available for free on the NFB website.

3. Culture Action Plan

Paul Andrew Kimball, a filmmaker who is also an announced candidate for the PCs in the next provincial election, critiques the McNeil government’s Culture Action Plan:

Where are the actual plans? You know, things like specific new budgetary provisions, or real programs, or success measurement benchmarks and matrices. Those kinds of things, which are what you’ll find in an actual plan, are missing.

Imagine Dwight Eisenhower coming up with a 30+ page memo in 1944 for why invading Western Europe would be a good thing without providing any indication of how he was going to pull it off. That’s what the McNeil government has just done with culture.

By way of contrast, here’s what an actual action plan looks like, using the film and television industry as an example.

• Restore the film tax credit at a base rate of 30%;
• Create a film agency along the lines of the old Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation to administer the tax credit and other funding programs, with a total staff of no more than five – CEO, Director of Programs, Director of Finance, Programs Assistant, Office Administrator;
• Do what they do in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia and bypass the Department of Finance entirely when it comes to the tax credit Part Bs, and after the review by the film agency hand it off directly to the Canada Revenue Agency;
• Create a competitive $2 million equity investment fund to be administered by the new NSFDC, open only to Nova Scotia producers. Limit the size of any single investment to $150,000;
• Create a competitive $350,000 development fund to be administered by the new NSFDC, open only to Nova Scotia producers. Limit the amount of money available to any single project to $20,000;
• Create a $250,000 travel assistance and marketing fund to be administered by the new NSFDC;
• Incentivize grossly underrepresented groups such as women and minorities within the Nova Scotia film and television industry with bonuses to the base tax credit rate and competitive advantages in the ranking for funding applications; and
• Because production is more expensive in rural areas, provide a regional bonus to the tax credit for production outside of HRM in order to make sure that all areas of Nova Scotia can reap the benefits of the industry.

There you go. An actual plan for the film and television industry. You can agree or disagree with it, but at least you know where I’m coming from. We have something to discuss.

I critiqued the Culture Action Plan yesterday.

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the Charlottetown Guardian:

I honestly don¹t know how these U.S. journalists can sit through a one-hour press conference with someone as ignorant as the American president. 

All his careless comments about fake news and leaks and blatantly insulting the people, the no doubt, well-educated people with each blurb that comes out of his mouth.

As a journalist, I know for sure, I’d leave the U.S. for Canada very quickly, rather than have to listen (for the next four years) to these insulting barbs; yes barbs, not blurbs. A blurb is, in most cases, kind words, but this ingrate knows no such thing as kind words. It must have been very difficult for him to pretend to enjoy our smooth and well-trained Prime Minister. 

The pretend handshake was obviously difficult for him to carry out in a half social manner.  He displays has no social skills and no social manners, no people skills, and getting to be as rich, and supposedly powerful, as he is, could only have happened through threats and intimidation. 

I really do have to tune out from all local and regional reports on Trump. As for American news channels, I’m a devoted Canadian who only watches local, regional and national news. But having said that, they all do love to get their little sounds bites on Trump those sound bites that I’ll be putting on mute.

Kathy Birt, Mount Stewart


No public meetings.

On campus

Reading week.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9:15am Friday. Map:

7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
8am: Reykjafoss, general cargo, arrives at Pier 42 from Argentia, Newfoundland
10am: Tavrichesky Bridge, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from IJmuiden, Netherlands
3:30pm: Reykjafoss, general cargo, sails from Pier 42 for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
11:30pm: Viking Adventure, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany


I’ll have the new company and society registries posted later this morning, and an article by Chris Lambie with the headline “Nova Scotia’s girl problem.”

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. That cranky letter. Good plan! Pay no attention to the nasty man at the pinnacle of the free world. That way you can really enjoy the surprise when the snowblower hits the manure pile.