On campus
In the harbour


1. Cat fight

Fuzz the cat is the subject of a battle between Spryfield resident and cat owner Kara Jenkins and cat rescuer Sarah Fraser, who had Fuzz euthanized. Jenkins told her story first to Global News, while Fraser defended her actions on Facebook. Now of course every news outlet in town is watching the fur fly.

I predict this story will dominate the news for the next week.

2. Catherine Campbell

Catherine Campbell
Catherine Campbell

A police release from yesterday:

Investigators with the Vice Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division are seeking the public’s help locating a missing Dartmouth woman.

Thirty-six-year-old Catherine Campbell was last seen on September 10 at 6:30 a.m. in Dartmouth. Catherine is described as a white woman with a medium build, blonde hair and blue eyes. 

There is no evidence to suggest that Catherine has met with foul play but there is concern for her well-being. Officers request that Catherine or anyone with information on her whereabouts calls police at 902-490-5020.

I don’t normally post about missing people. I understand why the police feel they need to alert the public, but in the vast majority of cases the missing people are runaway teens or beleaguered adults, and many of those are fleeing bad home situations or escaping from the mental health hospital (“a Pleasant Street address” is the tell in the press releases). As I see it, these people have enough problems in their lives without their troubled pasts popping up in google searches for their names for the rest of eternity.

But Campbell’s situation is different. As the New Glasgow News reports, Campbell is a constable with the Truro Police Service.

3. Joel Plaskett starts the gentrification of Downtown Dartmouth

Joel Plaskett
Joel Plaskett

I kid!

Plaskett lives in Downtown Dartmouth (I’m sort of a neighbour), and has long sung the praises of the place — his songs recount walking home drunk over the Macdonald Bridge and such local landmarks as the Park Avenue Sobriety Test (an actual dented guard rail at the end of Park Avenue, by the Dartmouth Common), which is memorialized as the deciding point for a sort of Dartmouth Everyman coming to terms with aging:

It’s the girl at the bar, she’s pouring a drink
She’s taking your dough, and you think that she winks
So you ask her your name and she tells you a lie
‘Cause Frank’s not a woman’s name

Last call has been called and now Frank’s closing down
You’re out on the street and there’s no one around
And it’s raining outside, in whiskey you’ve drowned
Now you’re walking across a bridge

And you’re sobering up and you get to the park
And it’s sketchy as hell and it’s totally dark
When you’re one of a kind you can’t get on the Ark
So zip up your jacket and go home

I can think of no better person to open a record store/ barber shop/ coffee shop than Plaskett. The new operation, called the New Scotland Yard Emporium will be below Plaskett’s recording studio, the New Scotland Yard Recording Studio, at 45 Portland Street.

4. Stolen snow crab

Someone stole a truck carrying more than 18,000 kilograms of snow crab, reports the Canadian Press. The truck was parked in Westville. Presumably, since the CP uses “crab” as opposed to “crabs,” the crabs had already been picked and processed.

5. Lyle Howe

Lyle Howe
Lyle Howe

In the wake of Lyle Howe successfully appealing his conviction on sexual assault charges, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has reinstated the Halifax lawyer.


1. Lower speed limits

We should lower speed limits on pedestrian-heavy urban streets to 40 km/h, argues Erica Butler. I heartily agree.

As Butler points out, there are legitimate arguments against lowering the speed limits — without broader education, enforcement, and street redesign programs, lowering the speed limit, as one consultant’s report put it, “will contribute to the general disregard for road rules among drivers.” I don’t know that drivers are much regarding road rules as it is, but point taken.

Still, with most of the cars I’ve driven, increasing the speed from 40 km/h to 50 km/h means, on flat ground, gearing up. Driving my Honda, I have to shift between second and third gears myself, so I’m much aware of it, but of course the same shifting happens in cars with automatic transmissions. The result, at least for me, is a natural inclination to go even faster — it’s hard to travel at 50 km/h, because the car seems a bit sluggish. So a 50 km/h speed limit translates into drivers travelling 60 km/h in practice.

I noticed this while driving a rental car with automatic transmission this past weekend; the car seems to “naturally” want to be in the mid-speed levels of each gear, and the driver automatically responds accordingly — it takes conscious effort to go slower or faster than the mid-gear speed. Keeping the car in second gear, however, provides a check against going faster, and therefore increases safety to pedestrians. That’s my theory anyway.

2. Cranky Letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Somewhere in Canada there must be a zoo made up of horses with only heads and two front legs. The other parts are apparently used to run government departments.

Canada Post is a prime example. The large mail sorting machine installed in Halifax a year ago is a case in point. Whoever sold this to Canada Post must have made a large amount of money. To justify this equipment, local mail placed in one hand and intended for the other hand is now first sent to the sorter — and then returned to the other hand.

These suburban mail boxes are another example. I am sure they did not come cheap and they must be maintained. All these devices give nothing back to government, whereas human employees pay income taxes, CPP and EI premiums. No wonder this country is in trouble.

Byron Zinck, Wolfville



Halifax and West Community Council (6pm, City Hall) — the agenda is here.


Standing Committee on Community Services (1pm, Room 233A, Johnston Building) — Deputy Minister Lynn Hartwell will be questioned about the Disability Support Program.

Convention Centre

Trade Centre Limited today published 15 tender offers for two-year standing offers for services in its facilities. I guess it’s just boilerplate language carried over from the previous standing offers, but I find the offers puzzling. Here, for example, is the overview of the offer for kitchen equipment repair services:

The objective of this Request for Standing Offer for Trade Centre Limited (TCL) is to identify and select qualified vendors for the service of Kitchen Equipment Repairs for our current facilities, the World Trade and Convention Centre, Exhibition Park and Scotiabank Centre (SBC) for the period commencing 1st October, 2015, and ending 30th September, 2017 (2-yrs Standing Offer)

[bold in original]

There are a few problems with this. First, Trade Centre Limited no longer manages Exhibition Park. Second, the new convention centre will supposedly open on January 1, 2017, so as the offer reads the contractor will be providing services in a closed facility for nine months. Third, TCL itself will cease to exist when the new convention centre opens, so how can it offer contracts for the newly formed Halifax Convention Centre, an organization that has nothing to do with TCL?

TCL is a provincial crown corporation, wholly owned by the province. The Halifax Convention Centre (HCC) will be a new entity, owned half by the province and half by the city. It appears that TCL is issuing tender offers for services that are to be provided to HCC, but those contracts can’t possibly be approved by the HCC board of directors because that board doesn’t yet exist.

I realize I’m being extremely picky here. Yes, we all know that Scott Ferguson and his crew at TCL are simply being shifted over to HCC, with the jobs unadvertised and no national search conducted to fill them. So the corporate structure is a sort of shell game used to accommodate the shifting financial responsibilities for the convention centres old and new. (But tell me again: why is the city going to be responsible for half of Fred MacGillivray’s super pension and other liabilities carried over from TCL?)

Still, while the tender offers make vague reference to “new work” and “new construction,” they don’t really spell out what that means, or where that work or construction is. The words “Nova Centre” or “Halifax convention centre” do not appear in the contract offers.

It all seems half-assed.

On campus



PhD defence, English (Tuesday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Geordie Miller will defend his thesis, “An Allegory of Value: American Literature Within Neoliberalism.”

Patient-Oriented Cardiometabolic Disease Research in Nutrition and Genetics (Tuesday, 12:30pm, Centre for Clinical Research, CH&E Classroom #409, 5790 University Avenue) — Leah Cahill, a visiting prof from Harvard, will speak.

Bruce Martin (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 3655, Life Sciences Centre) — Bruce Martin, ‎who is the Applied Sciences Manager at JASCO Applied Sciences, will speak on “Characteristics of air-gun array pulses and the ambient soundscape in Baffin Bay and Melville Bay, West Greenland.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Tuesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Tuesday. Map:

Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro cargo, St. John’s to Pier 41
Atlantic Compass, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove, then sails to sea

Tosca sails to sea
OOCL Hamburg sails to sea

The cruise ship Liberty of the Seas is in port today.


I’m recording an interview with Michael Harris today for this week’s Examineradio.

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

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  1. RE: Lower Speed Limits:

    “Prioritizing the speed and movement of vehicles not only diminishes business revenues because it degrades the sidewalk experience, but it is also expensive because it increases collisions. There were over 1,400 vehicular collisions between 2009 and 2013, that is roughly one per day! Vehicular collisions cost Canadians $25 Billion dollars every year. Moving vehicles through quickly also has a high human toll, with higher speeds ensuring more deaths and injuring.”

  2. The TCL tender is for ” qualified vendors for the service of Kitchen Equipment Repairs for our current facilities, the World Trade and Convention Centre, Exhibition Park and Scotiabank Centre “

  3. Tim, I won’t start a catfight here, other than to say this: did you see the photos of the supposedly ‘beloved cat’? Or read the vet report? That cat was neglected in the extreme, and was dying. The rescuer took her to the vet, who assessed and made recommendations. The most humane thing to do was to euthanize her. At least in those moments when the rescuer and the vet had her, she knew love and was safe. People who mistreat animals like the fake-tear-crying ‘owner’ should be charged with abuse.

    I firmly believe people should keep cats indoors (I have four and they’re all indoor cats, vaccinated and regularly vet-checked anyway) and if you can’t afford to look after them properly, don’t have them. Or ask a rescue for help if you need assistance with spaying, neutering, etc. We are always raising money to help the myriad legitimate rescues and shelters around the province.

    There’s also the need to have some proper support from municipal governments in dealing with the abandoned, feral, stray and abused cats (dogs too, but they don’t tend to be feral). The province has beefed up the legislation, but the rescues cannot do it all.

    1. This cat story is exactly what makes me dislike most online discourse, the over the top hyperbole, “she knew love and was safe”, oh please. And a bit of a personal attack on the cat owner as well, nice.

      I understand wanting to help an animal in distress. I’ve donated to animal rescue organizations, we’d have currently have two rescue cats along with our older two cats, and have found homes for three other rescues. Ms. Fraser should have been damn sure no one owned Fuzz before putting her down. She had the chance to wait and to try to find the owner so she explain the situation but she didn’t.

      1. Both are wrong. The SPCA is an example of an organization that avoids euthanasia at all costs, sometimes going to great veterinary lengths to bring a cat back to health. I don’t know about the cat in this story but I know that the SPCA would attempt to find the owner.

        However if the guardian of this elderly cat loved it so damn much, why was it outside unattended while she wasn’t home? ??

  4. “So a 50 km/h speed limit translates into drivers travelling 60 km/h in practice.”

    Before I get off your lawn; there are several studies showing that NO speed limit is in fact the safest.

    People then drive for conditions, and not close to an arbitrary number that (for some reason) stays the same during the day, the night, snowstorms, or hot sunny days.

    1. Erica explores the street design issue a bit, and that gets to what you’re talking about.

    2. To add to that,

      “Keeping the car in second gear, however, provides a check against going faster”

      What do you do, redline it before shifting?? It’s not a check on a standard if you’re driving right and it’s irrelevant on most cars.

      1. I agree with Tim. As a lifelong driver of vehicles with manual transmission (2-wheeled and 4-wheeled), I too am always conscious of the gear I’m in and how it relates to the speed I’m traveling. Of course being in the lower gear keeps you from speeding up, because there is more resistance. So if you in fact *don’t* want to approach redline, you travel more slowly.

        This is one reason I hate driving a car with an automatic transmission. It’s too easy to become oblivious to what you and the vehicle are doing. Apparently only about 5% of new car purchases are manual … suckers pay more for automatic, in my opinion … Automatic and cruise control lead to stunned zombie drivers going faster than they need to go, for conditions.

    3. Well, from the motorist’s perspective there’s no “safe speed,” you’re right. The risk of a collision is generally related to your speed compared with traffic. From a pedestrian’s perspective the evidence is clear. Here’s a clear explanation:
      At 32km/h, the pedestrian has a 5% risk of death. At 48km/h that goes up to 37-45% depending on your source. At 64km/h it’s 83-85%.
      Since the major cause of delay on urban streets is signal timing, not maximum vehicle speed, it makes sense to design at or below the speed that the traffic signals can accommodate anyway. This resource provides some good reference:
      The evidence is clear that slower streets are safer streets. We used to think that you absolutely needed design changes to make it work, but New York reduced its speed limit to 40km/h in November and early results are promising, but it’ll take at least one full year of data to be sure that a change more significant than the pre-existing trend occurred.
      So: drop the speed limit, and fix the design of the street any time you’re repaving or doing major works in the area.

      1. The safest speed is based on visibility, road conditions, and other traffic.
        At 2 a.m. in clear weather, clear visibility and no other traffic there is no reason to lower the limit and little or no reason to enforce the posted limit.
        There are no speed limits on vessels transiting the English Channel, Malacca Straits and other congested shipping areas around the world but international regulations do require proper consideration of the conditions at the time. Think of a container ship making 22 knots overtaking a loaded supertanker making 15 knots, all in the same lane.
        And how many pedestrians are injured on busy streets ?