This date in history
On campus
In the harbour


1. NSCAD Tuition

Photo via @artandactivism
Photo via @artandactivism

“About 100 students forced the board of governors at NSCAD University to delay a decision on a tuition hike Thursday evening,” reports Frances Willick:

Students gathered outside the meeting room shortly before the session began at 4 p.m., chanting and holding signs denouncing what they say amounts to a proposed 37 per cent tuition increase over three years.


“They let us listen and they let us participate, but when it came down to actually voting, they didn’t want any students present in the room — not even our student representatives on the board.”

The student representatives are voting members of the board of governors, Stratton said.

“They called it a conflict of interest. It was really unacceptable. So we refused to leave.”

The meeting was adjourned, without a vote taking place, at about 8 p.m.

Good on the students. We need as much pushback as we can get on Stephen McNeil’s austerity agenda, and students have the energy and smarts to make sure McNeil’s cuts cause him political pain.

And, a conflict of interest? That’s rich. By that argument, no citizen should be allowed to vote in any election whatsoever, as the politicians on the ballot implement benefits for, and charge taxes to, citizens.

Here’s who’s on the Board of Governors.

2. Halifax drivers are the worst

“Halifax has seen more fender benders and buckled bumpers than any other city in Canada this year, according to an Allstate Canada Safe Driving Study,” reports Global:

The study shows that Halifax has the highest collision frequency rate in the country, at 7.12 per cent.

The study looked at All State Canada data and tracked collision frequency among customers in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario and ranked 81 communities across the country. Halifax came in 81st place in regards to safety on the roads.

Global guesses Nova Scotians are terrible drivers because they have crappy winters and everyone is texting, but I think Nova Scotians haven’t got the hang of the “drive on the right” thing yet.

3. Segways

Segway drivers block a park trail in South Dakota. Photo:
Segway drivers block a park trail in South Dakota. Photo:

Speaking of rotten drivers, consider the Segway. (I’ve always wanted to write a Segway segue.) Yesterday, Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan introduced “legislation that would make the province the first to include self-balanced electric scooters in its Motor Vehicle Act,” reports the Canadian Press:

Under the regulations, drivers would be required to wear helmets and there would be a minimum age of 16 for a driver to operate a Segway or similar vehicle on their own.

The vehicles would not be allowed on roads with a speed limit higher than 60 kilometres per hour and wouldn’t be allowed to travel faster than 20 km/h on a road, or seven km/h on a sidewalk. They would also have to be driven on the extreme right-hand side of the road and municipalities would also be allowed to determine which streets could be used.

I don’t want to be the cranky old dude railing about kids and their newfangled technology, but this will not be good. People on Segways should either be in the road as vehicles or considered as pedestrians on the sidewalk. Allowing Segways both in the road and on the sidewalk is legislating the Segway equivalent of the bad cyclist — that asshole who jumps from the street to the sidewalk and then back to the street, riding in crosswalks, etc.

It’s dangerous.

For myself, I’d rather keep the machines off the sidewalks and out of the parks. Let them go play in traffic.

4. Weekend Mornings

Bill Roach. Photo: CBC
Bill Roach. Photo: CBC

CBC has announced that Bill Roach will take over hosting duties at Weekend Mornings.


1. Harbour crossings

A gondola crosses Singapore Harbour. Photo: Nicholas Chu
A gondola crosses Singapore Harbour. Photo: Nicholas Chu

Lezlie Lowe muses about a third harbour crossing that is dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists — no cars allowed — and discovers that it is too expensive.

When I was working at The Coast some guy came into the office and took 20 minutes of my time outlining his idea for a gondola across the harbour. At the time I thought he was simply a kook, but in the years since I’ve been won over.

Gondola enthusiasts prefer to call them Cable Propelled Transportation (CPT), to distinguish them from the Venetian boats and because it is basically the same technology as cable cars.

The selling points for CPT are you don’t need a lot of real estate (just enough space for the support towers); they don’t compete for roadway space with cars, buses, and pedestrians; and unlike subways they don’t require tearing up roads. CPT works well in tight urban quarters and for stretching across bodies of water like the Thames or, potentially, the Halifax Harbour.

A CPT advocate has ballparked the capital costs of CPT at $3 to $12 million per mile. For the sake of daydreaming, let’s say he’s off by about an order of magnitude, and the cost of a three-kilometre line from, say, Sullivan’s Pond in Dartmouth to Spring Garden Road in Halifax, with stops in the respective downtowns in between, is $100 million. That’s still less than 10 per cent of the cost of a $1.5 billion bridge.

Even then, our population can’t support the operational costs of a gondola, but neither can it support the capital and operational costs of a third bridge or a tunnel. But if we are really worried about future growth and how people will cross the harbour should the population ever get to one million or whatever, there are cheaper ways to go than building a bridge. Until then, just add more buses to the existing bridges, and increase ferry service.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To the Cape Breton Post:

In all my years I have never been so disappointed by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality as this year to have the annual downtown Christmas parade the same night as a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles home game at Centre 200.

These young men are a part of our community and contribute countless hours of service to our children by raising money for community charities, visiting schools and numerous other things.

What a way to show your support CBRM for our local team and teach our children respect. Shame on you!

Margaret Boudreau, Sydney


No public meetings.

This date in history

At its November 27, 1919 meeting, the Halifax city council considered industrial development and tourism, as follows:


The Council was summoned to consider a proposition to be laid before the Council by Horatio C. Crowell in connection with the holding in Halifax of an Old Home Summer.

His Worship the Mayor calls upon Mr. Crowell to address the Council.

The meeting is addressed by Mr. Crowell. Read letter His Honor Lieutenant Governor McC. Grant re holding of a Provincial Industrial Conference in Halifax, December third and fourth.

Government House, Halifax, NS, November 25, 1919

His Worship,
Mayor Parker, City. Your Worship:-

A provincial Conference under the auspices of the Halifax Board of Trade has been called to convene on Wednesday and Thursday, December 3rd and 4th. This Conference will discuss the industrial development of Nova Scotia and consider methods by which that development can be stimulated. A definite plan will be placed before the Conference by which the people of the province will be urged to’ direct their attention to the resources of the Province, the hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians living abroad will be appealed to come home to assist, and the resources of the Province to be exhibited through the medium of a worlds fair to those foreign countries with whom we have opportunities of developing our trade.

This is the first time in the history of the Province that business men representing all elements of of life have been called together to discuss the industrial development of Nova Scotia’s resources.

I appeal to you as Mayor of your town to interest yourself in this vitally important matter and assure a strong delegation being present from your community at the forthcoming conference.

MacCallum Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

Alderman Ritohie submits the following resolution:

RESOLVED that the City Council of Halifax strongly endorse the Old Home Summer project for a year to be set later.

FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of Halifax support the Province of Nova Scotia in this forward movement and offer its assistance and cooperation.

FURTHER RESOLVED that this City Council endorse the proposal to hold an International Exposition in Halifax to run concurrently with the Old Home Summer and as a phase of that celebration.

FURTHER RESOLVED that this City Council be represented at the Provincial Conference held at Halifax December 3rd, and 4th, for the consideration of these two projects, and .nominate five delegates to attend said Conference in accordance with Lieutenant Governor Grant’s appeal.

Moved by Alderman Ritchie seconded. by Alderman Colwell and passed unanimously.

Horatio C. Crowell was a “newspaper man” with the Halifax Herald, back when newspapers were unapologetic boosters of any harebrained scheme put forward by the mucky mucks…. oh, wait.

Crowell also wrote this ode to Nova Scotia:

Did it ever occur to you that the Creator may have left this little sea-girt peninsula until the last? That He may have reserved for it many of the treasures of His workshop? That after He finished His great masterpiece He may have spent aeons in moulding those features of this Province which possess such delicacy of beauty, such subtlety of charm that, travel the world over, we find them unexcelled, and without peer?

Did you ever think that when this world was coming out of chaos the Creator might have set aside ever so little of the congealing mass upon which to imprint His own special design? Have you not thought of the Divine Hand pressing a finger upon the soft clay, and behold, a valley here, another there? Have you not seen in the wonderful contour of hills and mountains of this land the Divine imagery of what hills and mountains should be?

Have you never heard in the babble of its brooks and the murmur of its tides and surge of its surf, the music of a Divine choir which sang praises while the Creator worked? Have you never yet heard through the forest, through the orchards, over fields and meadows, the Breath that gave it life?

Did it never seem strange to you that this is a land without tempest, or flood, or drought, or gale, or pestilence; and if you did, did you ever think that the reason may be, because it is God’s land?

Of course, Nova Scotia does in fact have tempests, floods, droughts, gales, and pestilence. Crowell should’ve stuck to the idea that Nova Scotia has God’s Own Time Zone.

Anyway, here’s the program from the convention:

Program 1
program 2

I wish I had been around to live-blog that.

I don’t know abut the industrialization goals of the convention, but the tourism side — the “Old Home Summer” promotion — eventually came to fruition. As James H. Morrison wrote in “American Tourism in Nova Scotia, 1871-1940“:

Tourism in Eastern Canada, more specifically the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, can be divided into three chronological periods. The first, that of the military tourist, began in the early nineteenth century and lasted until 1871, drawing its clientele almost exclusively from the officer class stationed in the various provincial urban centres. Beamish Murdock noted in his History of Nova Scotia that military officers preferred Halifax to other overseas postings due to the fact that “… the opportunity for sport with the gun and line, or excursions inland, increased their desire to revisit it.” 

The second stage covered a period of some seventy years from 1871 to 1940, and can be generally be considered to be the “elite sport tourist” period; unlike the first stage, which consisted for the most part of British “tourists,” this second period included mostly Americans. The difference in interest and attitude was striking, and can best be seen in the comments of an American who visited Halifax in 1889. He described the city as a “quaint, delightful, dirty old town,” and it was his hope that “… it would be saved from the doubtful blessing of becoming a popular summer resort with summer hotels overrun by Americans.” 

The invention of the automobile and the consequent mobility of those who could afford such vehicles dashed any hopes that Halifax or indeed Nova Scotia would be saved from such doubtful blessings. By the 1920s the Nova Scotia government was actively encouraging tourism and in 1924 the first Old Home Summer was held. The key to financial success in the industry was the automobile. In 1922, between July and September 2,000 tourist vehicles entered the province. The number of cars increased each year and despite a slight decline during the 1930’s, by 1940, almost 50,000 cars entered the province.

But before a bunch of American tourists could come to Nova Scotia, the province had to figure out that “drive on the right” thing. As the April 1920 edition of American Motorist explained:

Nova Scotia Advocates Rule of “Drive to Right”

Up in the Land of Evangeline the rule of the road is to “drive to the left.” But Nova Scotia is on the verge of having an army of road travelers from the United States. En route to Nova Scotia the road travelers must pass through New Brunswick, which province is quite ready to make a change in the rule, but it wants the same thing done in the adjoining province; and so the Nova Scotia Motor League, of which A.G. Watson is the secretary, is mobilizing sentiment in favor of “Drive to the Right,” the reasons for which are quite concisely set forth in a recent issue of the Maritime Merchant, published in Halifax:

“We shall drive to the right eventually; why not now? It matters not whether driving to the left is better than driving to the right, the fact remains that ninety per cent of the people on this continent drive to the right and will not change their ways to suit us. And if we do not change our way in this respect to suit them, it will be all the worse for us. The automobile has made people so ‘ubiquitous’ that as soon as we get our roads in good condition we shall have swarms of people from all parts of the continent coming to visit us, and if we impose on them the strain of remembering a new rule of the road in every emergency some of us will have broken bones and mangled bodies to testify to our conservatism. Much the simpler way to correct the situation and bring about uniformity in the rule of the road all over this continent is for our minority to fall in with the great majority, who probably have nine times as much stubbornness in the aggregate as we have. We shall easily learn to drive to the right, and there will then be no danger of confusion when a visiting motorist unexpectedly meets a native motorist at a sharp turn in the road. If we stick to the old rule of the road we shall simply invite unnecessary accidents, for Americans and people from the western part of Canada will be here with their cars in increasing numbers in the years to come.

“By actual statistics, it is said, ninety per cent of the visitors coming to the state of Maine, come in motor cars, and we may expect an increasing proportion of our own visitors to come in the same way as the years pass. While we are talking of bringing a million visitors to Nova Scotia during Old Home Summer, we should prepare for the reception of the large percentage who will come here in their own motor cars….”

That’s right… the tourism promotion of Old Home Summer was supposed to bring a million people in cars to Nova Scotia in 1924, so Nova Scotians had to start driving on the right. The change was made on April 15, 1923, so Nova Scotians had an entire year to practice before all the million right side-driving Americans showed  up. Problem was, nowhere near that many tourists came for Old Home Summer — the Archives says the actual number was 102,000. So far as I can determine, no one lost their job for missing the mark by 90 per cent, just as a century later no one will lose their job for failing to double the number of tourists by 2024.

On campus


Density-Functional Theory (1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Axel Becke will speak on “Full Circle: A Career in Density-Functional Theory.”


The Devil (3:30pm, McCain Building, Room 1170) — Norman Pereira will speak on “The Devil and Mr. Putin.”

Education and Fertility (3:30pm,Room 1108, Mona Campbell Building ) — Harry Krashinsky, from the University of Toronto, will speak on “The Causal Effect of Education on Overall Fertility: New Evidence from Canadian Data.”

Cellular Stress (3:30pm, LSC 5260) — Mel Robertson, from Queen’s University, will speak on “How the cellular stress response protects neural circuits.”


Reader Alana Beck tweaked my interest yesterday by pointing me to the provincial list of Personal Service Contracts. I don’t have time to go through it in detail right now, but two things stand out:

Fred Morley
Fred Morley

Fred Morley
Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness
Chief Economist/Executive Director Policy

Morley is Nova Scotia’s most successful C student — not really so bright, but damn talented at landing the cush jobs. Before taking the personal service plum in August, Morley was the Chief Economist at Halifax Partnership, Executive Director of Business Retention Expansion and Research at Nova Scotia Business Inc., Director of Marketing and Research for Nova Scotia Economic Development, Senior Economic Advisor to the Province of Nova Scotia, and Research Coordinator for the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

In other words, except for that research gig at APEC, Morley’s never had a job that wasn’t on the government teat.

Then there’s this:

Marilla Stephenson
Marilla Stephenson

Marilla Stephenson
Executive Council
Project Manager

Speaking of newspaper columnists being unapologetic boosters of any harebrained scheme put forward by the mucky mucks… In 2014, the former Chronicle Herald columnist was hired “to support the work of the oneNS Coalition….A critical part of the work involves outreach to stakeholders, coming to common agreement on the issues and their solutions, and working in a co-ordinated, collective fashion to address them.”

Jesus Christ on a stick, everything about oneNS is a flaming pile of bullshit.

In the harbour

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

Dinkeldiep, general cargo, Saint-Pierre to Pier 42, then sails back to Saint Pierre
Serenity Ace, car carrier, Bremerhaven, Germany to Autoport

Paganella sails to sea
Oceanex Sanderling sails to St. John’s


Photo: Russell Gragg
Photo: Russell Gragg

Later today we’ll be publishing Examineradio episode #37, in which I interview former MPs Megan Leslie and Peter Stoffer.

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

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  1. No need to worry about the cost of a third bridge. When sea level rise gets to the point where the boats can’t get under the bridges, and all the rail line and commercial property around the harbour edge is going underwater at high tide, we will need to build a dyke across the harbour, from about the container pier/rail cut to the Highway 111 terminus.

    That way we simply shut down the harbour for a few hours while the water level would be too high, and open things up for regular traffic the rest of the time. This would, obviously, be far cheaper than trying to raise everything around the harbour or build a dyke around the entire perimeter. Not to mention the potential loss of real estate.

    And in doing so, there’s a bonus. Yes, a free crossing!! well, almost. Most of the way across would be used as part of a bridge, the actual harbour entrance could be traversed either via a fast lift or sliding bridge, or even taken under the opening in a tunnel or a manufactured tunnel laid on the ocean floor. And that location is where any long term study put the third crossing anyway. (why do you think the 111 ends where it does?).

    In the meantime, this allows us to hedge our bets on whether sea level rise will actually reach the +2 m estimates being tossed around. For now we do nothing, spend zero, but when it becomes clear that we do need to react, we go ahead.

    In the meantime, I love gondolas, but why not just use catapults?

  2. I can’t believe Old Home Week is that old! I thought it must have been some big promotion from the late 60s / early 70s. My parents and in fact, the whole Parrsboro portion of my clan have always talked about Old Home Week (in my memory, so as far back as 1973 or so) as others talk about spring break or Christmas – a stable, given part of the calendar. I don’t know about its success as a tourism promotion but as an incentive to bring wandering locals home, it certainly has performed beyond expectations, judging from its longevity. My cousins who have gone out west to work and my brother who moved to Ontario to drive buses — the lot of them have often planned their vacation ‘home’ around Old Home Week, knowing that was the week they’d see people they hadn’t seen in years.

  3. Personally I like Zip Lines; but Cable Cars are more risk free and socially/family friendly. Perhaps a combination of both for those on a tighter budget or just to appeal to the tourist sector…. the same tower infrastructure could support both modes of transport.

  4. Tim, although I really doubt that you’ve the time to read it, your extended writing about the 1919 meeting brought to mind a book I’m reading for a project I’m doing on Agrarian Self-representation in PEI. You should check it out if you’ve not had the chance to do so already:

    McKay, Ian. The Quest of the Folk. Antimodernism and Culture Selection in Twentieth Century Nova Scotia. McGill: Queens University Press, 1994.

    It’s quite something. Lots of good stuff about the development of Folk through Arts and Crafts, Song, etc which is intimately tied to the tourism identity which the province sought to cast itself in.