News

1. The Halifax Examiner is four years (and one day) old

I missed it yesterday, but Monday was the fourth anniversary of the Halifax Examiner.

I announced the Examiner with a promotional video that in retrospect was way too much about me:

Wow, I sure look young there. But I don’t want this operation to be mostly about me. I’m most proud of the Examiner when we publish the stellar work of other writers, and one day I’d like to be able to walk away from the Examiner and start a second career as a science fiction writer or one of those old geezers plying the Venice Beach boardwalk and see the Examiner live on without me completely.

I think we’ve published some good work through these four years, so much so that it would be hard for me to single out the best for fear of overlooking many others. Regrettably, we’ve also had a few clunkers. But mostly, I think we’ve provided a perspective and a voice that would not otherwise be present in Halifax, and this may in the end be the most important role for the Examiner.

We have an annual Examiner party for subscribers in November (that just seems to work better for everyone), so stay tuned for details. We wouldn’t have made it four years without you, and it is so very much appreciated.

In the short term, I’ll go for drinks at the usual place at around 5pm today, if anyone wants to hoist one or two with me. I’ll give away free Examiner pens until I run out of them. And then I’ll head home to start tomorrow’s Morning File.

Next week, I’m taking a mapping class over at the J-school. It’s a skill I’ve wanted to acquire for decades, and the software and databases now exist such that even a tech dolt like myself should be able to learn how to make basic maps. If successful (a big if), I’ll jazz up Examiner articles and improve clarity for readers. The class runs 9am-5:30pm every day, and I’m going to set aside most of my usual work so I can concentrate on mapping; that means a few guest writers for Morning File, and maybe a couple of shorter ones from me.

And later this summer I’m going to take a real vacation. Not sure when yet.

2. Homicide

An RCMP release from yesterday morning:

June 18, 2018, Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia…At approximately 12:45 a.m. this [Monday] morning, Halifax District RCMP responded to a 911 call of a 21-year-old man having been shot while walking along Hornes Rd. in Eastern Passage.

The man had been walking with a female when a passing car stopped and the victim was shot. The man was rushed to hospital where he was later passed away [sic]. Police do not believe this is a random incident.

3. Byelection

Jamie Baillie

There’s a byelection in Cumberland South today. Voters will decide who replaces Jamie Baillie, who in January suddenly resigned as PC leader and as MLA after a sexual harassment incident. It’s strange how that incident remains unexplained.

4. SIRT

“The head of Nova Scotia’s police watchdog said he plans to ask the province for a bigger budget,” reports Taryn Grant for StarMetro Halifax:

In a presentation to the Halifax Board of Police commissioners Monday, Felix Cacchione, the executive director of Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT), said he needs more money and more investigators, which he’ll request in his annual report to Justice Minister Mark Furey at the end of the year.

Last month, SiRT was called to take over the investigation of a fatal police shooting that occurred on May 26 in Dartmouth, N.S. [it was actually in Westphal] — the first such incident the agency has examined.

On the weekend in May when SiRT had two deaths to investigate [the second was on PEI], it just so happened that two of its investigators were on vacation. Cacchione said cases involving fatalities deserve more resources than he was able to deploy.

“You can’t just send one person and ask one person to do all of what is required for a proper investigation. So hopefully when I am able to report to the minister I can indicate that we might need some more resources,” he said.

5. Anti-Catholic vandalism

“Vandals defaced a Halifax church and west-end cemetery overnight by spray-painting anti-Christian slurs and anarchist symbols,” reports CTV:

Staff at St. Theresa’s Church on Oxford Street and Mount Olivet Cemetery on Mumford Road woke up Monday morning to find a slew of graffiti on buildings, statues, and signs. Some of the slurs at St. Theresa’s Church contained profanity.

In April, similar vandalism was directed at Saint Agnes Church on Mumford Road and Saint Benedict Church on Radcliff Drive in Clayton Park.

6. Willow Tree

George Armoyan wants to build this see-through building at the Willow Tree intersection.

There’s a perfunctory public hearing at City Hall at 6pm this evening, where councillors will hear from the public about the Willow Tree development. I’m not going to waste my time attending (I’ll be at Charlie’s giving away pens) because the result is a foregone conclusion — council will give George Armoyan everything he wants. But if for some reason you want to attend and give councillors what for, here’s the staff packet on it.

7. Bousquet is all wet

Yesterday, I suggested that Dal prof Mladen Nedimovic’s research into offshore and Arctic earthquakes had less to do with helping people and more to do with helping the petroleum industry’s drilling efforts. Readers were not happy. A sampling of response:

Donald Forbes:

I am appreciative of your reporting and investigative work but your warping of a good news story about an offshore warning system as somehow all about promoting offshore drilling is wrong and disrespectful. One of Canada’s largest earthquakes occurred in Baffin Bay in 1933, we need to better understand what caused it, four people were killed in a tsunami on the west coast of Greenland last year, places like Norway have very sophisticated warning systems, and there is an urgent requirement for better public safety infrastructure for coastal communities in eastern Nunavut and other parts of Canada.

Clark Richards:

I agree with Donald. Asking questions is fine, but cherry picking past funding sources as evidence of some nefarious scheme to promote arctic drilling is at best a stretch. Geologists study earthquakes and tsunamis for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with petroleum or exploration. I suspect that in addition to providing a warning system there are important research questions that will be addressed with a network like this. Earthquakes are a valuable source of information about what lies below the surface and how things got to be the way they are now.

Alan Ruffman (via email):

Sometimes you need your friends to tell you when you are way off base. And in this case Tim, or one of your “reporters’, or should I refer to one of your “pre-opinionated reporters” is way off base on her/his way to first.

We have, as a nation, very few permanent seismic stations in the north thus we have very few digital data on earthquakes that occur north of the tree-line in, and offshore of, Eastern Canada. At your next gathering of your staff and family ask all in attendance “What was Canada’s most tragic documented earthquake?” I will bet that few know.

Well it was a 7.2 magnitude event offshore south of the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland on November 18, 1929 when a tsunami killed 28 persons. And ask where off Canada’s east coast have we had a similar-sized earthquake and it will perhaps surprise you to know that it was the 1933 November 20 (Ms =7.3) northwest Baffin Bay earthquake and most interestingly it is one of the largest instrumentally recorded passive margin earthquakes in the world. It is fair to say that we as scientists do not understand why either the 1929 and 1933 earthquakes occurred and if and when such events might reoccur. No one can predict earthquakes but by examining digitally recorded earthquakes from the seismic source zone responsible it is possible ascertain the kinds of failures that are occurring and whether they are apt to be tsunamigenic. or not.

Dr. Nedimovic’s proposed experiment is to use seismometers placed on the ocean floor over a long period is a well-thought-out attempt to capture the seismic signature of a series of possible aftershocks and other residual activity on the 1933 fault. He has no guarantee of success. About 15 years ago the Geological Survey of Canada placed a series of OBS instruments on the ocean floor south of Newfoundland for the same purpose. These instruments had batteries that only allowed them to operate for a year. When they were recovered the seismic data indicated that no measurable earthquakes had occurred. The experiment by the GSC was not a failure and it is an experiment that should be repeated.

The Halifax Examiner should be wishing Dr. Nedimovic and Dalhousie Earth Scientists better luck and not whining about their receipt of a most modest amount of funding from, I think two oil companies. Perhaps the Halifax Examiner should spent a bit of time reporting on where else Canada could be strengthening our understanding of the nation’s seismic risk?


Government

City

Tuesday

City Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — gonna be dope. I honestly thought about taking a mental health day today, but I just can’t resist watching city councillors talk about cannabis. I’ll live-blog the meeting via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer, starting as soon as I get there.

Wednesday

Special Events Advisory Committee and Audit and Finance Standing Committee — both meetings are cancelled.

Province

Tuesday

Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, One Government Place) — discussing the Federal-Provincial Camp Hill Agreement.

Wednesday

No public meetings for the rest of the week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

Thesis Defence, Psychology and Neuroscience (Tuesday, 9:30am, room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Julie Longard will defend her ​​thesis, “Relations Between Positive Affect and Sharing Behaviour in Early Childhood​​.”

Wednesday

A Linear Algebra Problem Related to Legendre Polynomials (Wednesday, 2pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Scott Cameron will speak. His abstract:

I introduce a problem which piqued my interest, namely a question asked in the context of simple linear algebra, and then generalize this problem to investigate further properties. This leads to a study of families of polynomial coefficients for kernels of shifted Legendre polynomials, and the properties which they have. It turns out that there is a general formula for the generating function of each of these families.

A computational study to explore the conformational space of amyloid-beta (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — PhD candidate Simiao (Michelle) Lu will talk.


In the harbour

5am: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
6am: Horizon Star, offshore supply ship, arrives at Pier 9 from the offshore; I’m not certain, but I believe the ship has been servicing the BP Seadrill West Aquarius rig
10:30am: Undine, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
11am: Arsos, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Kingston, Jamaica
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Pier 36
Noon: Rt Hon Paul E Martin, bulker, arrives at National Gypsum from Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. I had never heard of Fairless Hills before; it is on the Delaware River, just downstream from Trenton, and is a coal depot owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. The adjoining town of Fairless Hills is named for Benjamin Fairless, who was the president of U.S. Steel back in 1951, when the company built the town to house workers for its steel plant of the same name.
4pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Footnotes

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the social, ethical, and political issues involving government financing for private businesses, through ACOA, Innovacorp, and Nova Scotia Business Inc. This has been taking a lot of time… I’m starting with the premise that there is indeed a role for such funding, realizing that even that premise is debatable. But if there is… does this mean that private banks and credit unions are failing in their role as financiers? And if so, why is that? I’d like to understand that better before moving on to the other issues I want to address at length.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Keep up the excellent work…we need journalism that the Halifax Examiner delivers. And it’s nice that Mary Campbell’s work is hi-lighted from time-to-time. She does a great job covering Cape Breton issues in depth and does so with a good deal of wit.

    Congrats on your fist 4; looking forward to more to come.

  2. Happy Bidet Tim! As you may (or may not recall) I was one of your earliest fans who contributed a $ tun even before you had set up the subs system.

    I am pleased to say that I have read every issue from cover to cover ever since.

    Just wish you’d spend more time on heritage issues rather than confine the subject as OWM (old white man) stuff. It Is the heart of what makes this city what it is and was and we protect it in ways that would shame most US cites and most cities west of New Brunswick1

    Your fan, iain T.

  3. Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to the Halifax Examiner
    Happy Birthday to you!!!!

    Keep up the informative, investigative and interesting content!!!!

    aj

  4. The “sexual harassment” episode that crucified Jamie Baillie remains unexplained because it’s utter bullshit.

    There was no harassment. There was a consensual, spur-of-the-moment sexual encounter that both parties regretted. No one complained. Best I can tell, no one felt exploited or abused. But busybodies got wind of the unfortunate event (party officials, not MLAs) and wrapped it in the ideological frame of “power imbalance = harassment” (pretty ludicrous, when you consider that Jamie was a lame duck, with little or no actual power in the situation).

    That set in motion a mindless process whose goal was to control damage to the party. As always, the Halifax news media, having totally bought into this ideology-de-jour, refuse to examine these cases on their merits (witness their brutal treatment of Michael Kidd). They simply egged the process on, without discernment.

    Result: Many lives were damaged. Many innocent bystanders were hurt. Jamie Baillie’s years of public service were rewarded with shameful public humiliation. And all for what? No discernible purpose other than ideological self-affirmation by sanctimonious scolds.

    1. Well, that’s new information to me. This is the first I’ve heard it involved a consensual relationship, later regretted or otherwise.

      1. The Cumberland South PC candidate at my door told me essentially the same story – consensual relationship, now regretted.

  5. happy anniversary! I would come to the party but i really don’t like being around people. no matter how noble the aim of the pursuit, if you accept corporate money you are fouled.

    (does the king’s artist paint the warts?)

  6. Congratulations on another year in the bag. The Examiner definitely is a unique and valuable perspective here, and I’m happy to subscribe and to tell others to do so too.

    Congratulations also on having one of the only news comment sections that I look forward to reading almost as much as the daily morning file. I appreciate also that you consider readers comments (such as the above posting) almost as a “letters to the editor” section when appropriate. I can now say that I’ve been published by the Halifax Examiner (where’s my cheque? :P)

  7. Happy birthday, Halifax Examiner! I’m a big fan.

    By the way Tim, I just read a book I know you’ll enjoy – Bullshit Jobs, by David Graeber, about the existence and societal harm of so many meaningless jobs (one of them he mentions is corporate lawyer – I was one once, and he’s dead right).

  8. Tim, re: your footnote, I suggest looking into the rationale for community/municipal banks and local investment as one perspective on bank & government business funding. E.g., Michael Shuman’s book, Local Dollars, Local Sense; or talk to Gregory Heming, councilor in Annapolis County. I’m no expert, but I’ve done some related research so I’d also be happy to talk to you about this from a rural economic development perspective.

      1. I have heard the founder of Oxford Frozen Foods say at a public meeting that financing for freezer plants does not interest the Big Banks, as the collateral (a big freezing plant in a rural area) has little immediate re-sale value.

        Based upon newspaper reports, it appears that OFF borrows from the province and repays loans at conventional interest rates. I am sure many other rural businesses do the same.

        For well-run businesses, this should be considered a good thing. For a wind-turbine tower manufacturing plant, perhaps not so much.