On campus
In the harbour


1. Ship of Theseus


“CBC News has learned a government consultant defending the troubled steering system on Bluenose II was once a big critic of using hydraulics to navigate the boat,” writes Bob Murphy:

In a June 2011 e-mail obtained by CBC News, Fitt wrote to one of the ship’s designers, saying the rudder as proposed would be “colossally overbuilt,” “expensive,” and “not…either necessary or a good idea.

“We do not think it is either necessary or a good idea,” he wrote, adding the builders preferred a lighter, wooden rudder similar to the one on the original Bluenose II.

Fitt also pointed out the risks of installing a hydraulic system.

“An electric/hydraulic system is guaranteed to break down at some point in the lifetime of the vessel and put the crew and passengers at risk.”   

A year later, Fitt sent a letter to the project manager MHPM. Despite numerous design changes to the rudder, he wrote “fundamental problems remain.”

Fitt told Murphy that he’s now OK with the steering system because there’s a backup steering system on the boat.

2. Chase the Ace

Ben-Cowan-Dewar doesn't have to raise money through a lottery. The government just gives it to him.
Ben Cowan-Dewar doesn’t have to raise money through a lottery. The government just gives it to him.

People have spent nearly a million dollars buying tickets for the “Chase the Ace” game in Inverness, reports the Cape Breton Post:

On Saturday, an indeterminable number of people once again flocked to the small western Cape Breton community where they collectively spent more than $940,000 on tickets.

“It’s off the map – whoever thought that Inverness would ever be this busy,” said local resident Breton Doyle.

“They started arriving early in the morning and there were people and line-ups all over town – it’s amazing, I can just sit on my step and watch the madness.”


[E]ach Saturday has seen the former mining town besieged with thousands of people, so many that the RCMP instituted parking restrictions and had officers positioned all over the community directing a flow of traffic that would have been unimaginable just a couple of months ago.


While there was no accurate method in place to count all the people who had descended on the seaside community, rough estimations put the number well into the thousands.

The CBC has an explainer, er, explaining what Chase the Ace is all about. The short of it: a glorified fifty-fifty draw. Even shorter: gambling.

After prize money is paid, the money raised through Chase the Ace goes to the Inverness Cottage Workshop, which “provides vocational, personal, and social skills training for adults with intellectual disabilities.”

Fundraisers for charities provide an important opportunity for communities to come together and socialize around something that isn’t corporately branded, celebrate people doing good work, and raise a bit of cash for worthy projects. All good.

But would it be rude to point out that the Cabot Links golf course across town was able to land $14 million by simply asking the government for it?

It’s telling which enterprises have to raise funds through bake sales, church dinners, and lotteries, and which don’t have to worry about money.

3. Wild Kingdom

A beluga whale. Image: wikipedia
A beluga whale. Image: wikipedia

“The federal Fisheries Department is investigating reports that people in eastern Newfoundland have been trying to lasso and ride a beluga whale that has been frequenting the area around Grates Cove,” reports the Canadian Press:

Federal research scientist Garry Stenson says signs are being posted in the area warning people to stay clear of the whale for its own safety.

He says once belugas become accustomed to human interaction there’s a high risk of serious injury or death for the whale.


1. Andrew Younger

Andrew Younger
Andrew Younger

As he did as when was Energy Minister, newly appointed Environment Minister Andrew Younger has used his position to abort environmental protection policies, writes Stephen Kimber.

At issue are so-called “polluter-pay” regulations, taxes on the sale of polluting products. “We’re talking engine oil, tires, batteries, electronic equipment, hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, paper packaging, etc.,” explains Kimber. Polluter-pay taxes fund the environmentally safe disposal of the products after consumers are done with them.

Nova Scotia’s proposed polluter-pay regulations were six years in the making. But after Nova Scotia joined the other provinces in agreeing to a polluter-pay framework, the the proposal went nowhere. It took Younger’s predecessor at Environment, Randy Delorey, to jump start the process:

Because we hadn’t followed up, Delorey explained in a March report, “Nova Scotia is missing out on opportunities to offset waste management costs and increase diversion.” He said his department was preparing [polluter-pay] regulations. Department officials confirmed this summer they were on track to publish them this fall.

Now, however, Younger has aborted the regulations. Polluter pay will not be implemented in Nova Scotia. Continues Kimber:

Younger didn’t even make the announcement himself. He left that to his gloating allies at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.


Forget public consultations. Forget the environment.

Nice to know who really runs our environment department.

2. Donham v Frum v Donham

Stephen Marche wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times headlined “The Closure of the Canadian Mind,” which explained to Americans why Stephen Harper is a horrible prime minister. In response, David Frum wrote a piece for The Atlantic, headlined “The Delusions of the Canadian Mind,” criticizing Marche. This caused Parker Donham to write a rebuttal of Frum’s rebuttal, headlined “The Case Against Stephen Harper,” also published in the Atlantic. Because magazine paper is so cheap, The Atlantic then published a rebuttal-cubed piece by Frum against Donham headlined “What the Case Against Stephen Harper is Really About.” And now, Donham publishes on his own site a final (we hope) rebuttal — I think we’re up to #4.

Frum’s latest piece is “thin gruel, unworthy of a response except that it typifies the smugness and intellectual dishonesty that often characterize Frum’s style of argument,” writes Donham.



Police Commission (12:30pm, City Hall) — Commissioner Stephen Adams doesn’t think people should be able to appeal police-issued administrative fines to the courts, like this is East Germany or North Korea or some other police state hellhole where the cops can’t be reviewed by the courts.

Grant Committee (1pm, City Hall) — the committee will divvy up $107,000 dedicated to the eight business improvement districts.


No public meetings.


Tree goats (h/t Robyn McNeil):

YouTube video

On campus



James Early (7pm, Halifax Central Library — James Early, the Past Director of Culttural Heritage policy at the Smithsonian Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, will speak. Early is the first speaker in a series organized by the provincial Department of African Nova Scotian Affairs, the Black Loyalist Society, and the Africville Heritage Trust as part of the UN-declared Decade for People of African Descent.


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.”

Leah Cahill
Leah Cahill

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 to the weekly Oceanography Seminar, but either he hasn’t yet figured out what he’s going to talk about or the seminar organizers haven’t updated their webpage with the title of the talk. Either way, we’re positive it will be fun.

In the harbour

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

Tosca, car carrier, Southhampton, England to Pier 31, then to Autoport
Atlantic Compass, ro-ro container, New York to Fairview Cove

CMA CGM Melisande sails to sea
NYK Meteor sails to sea
Colombo Express sails to sea

The cruise ships Norwegian Gem and Maasdam are in port today.


I took the weekend off. Which means I’m behind on everything.

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

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  1. Before private and government investors risked millions of public and private dollars on the Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs golf courses, Inverness was a dead former coal mining town: ugly, depressing, bereft of prospects for a viable future. Except for the coal, it’s a story played out in hundreds of communities throughout rural Nova Scotia. Young residents might love Inverness or hate it, but until recently, no sensible young person would stay.

    No one knows what to do about rural Nova Scotia, but you keep yourself busy ridiculing anyone who tries.

    Today, Inverness has an industry that employs many Inverness residents, offers hope of a future for young people, and draws praise from around the world, not just for the golf course, but for its spectacular setting.

    You think this is a bad thing, because government helped a businessman with a project. You harp on it incessantly, mean-spiritedly, as if any sensible person would know it is the height of folly for government to assist a private startup in a hopeless and depressed region. This is a weird form of sticking up for the little guy by kicking a community where little guys live, when its down and trying to get up.

    You’re a fool whose ideological imperviousness to evidence is no less severe than Stephen Harper’s. Only a fool would think Cabot Links had not been a wonderful thing for Inverness, a wonderful use of development funds.

    1. Just think what $14 million invested in helping people with mental disabilities would have done for the people with mental disabilities AND for the town, the people working for the agency, etc.

    2. I really don’t see how questioning no/low interest loans to a multi-millionaire from tax payers, is kicking a community or mean-spirited. What’s wrong with expecting Keiser and Cowan-Dewar to use their own funds to build both golf courses. Advancing $11 million of taxpayer money to Cabot simply freed up Keiser’s money to be invested in new courses in Oregon, Wisconsin, Tasmania and Ireland.

      Although I left that community decades ago to attend university and then work, I would hardly call the folks who chose to stay, foolish. But I might have, had their decision been solely based on working at a golf course that’s only open six months of the year. There are better options than waiting tables six months of the year and drawing pogey the other six. I really don’t see two golf courses as an industry that gives hope to young people, other than a summer job for college.

      And now taxpayers are being asked to pony up another $10-15 million to expand Margaree airport because it’s 21 minutes closer to Cabot than the Port Hawkesbury airport. $10 million dollars so that jet setting golfers, willing to fly to the ends of the earth for true Links golf, are spared from enduring an extra 21 minutes in a chauffeur driven Mercedes. How can you expect the 99% to not have a problem with that?

      Is it possible that you’re lacking objectivity on this issue Parker?

      1. Allan J expanded the Port Hawkesbury airport so that he could fly in from Ottawa and save the journey from the very good airport at Sydney. All that money for one vain man,

  2. Every iteration of the “Why Harper is Awesome” vs “Why Harper is Evil” debate that I read further confirms for me that everything I have considered inherently Canadian, a tundra-tough element of our identity, is no longer stable. We may in fact not be a country of citizens who cherish peace, the middle way, democracy, social care for the sick and elderly. We may not love our beautiful land and ecosystems and see the need to cherish them beyond the profits they may deliver.

  3. Re :Donham & muzzling scientists. – I cannot understand why so many writers get worked up about ‘muzzling government scientists’ . Why are government scientists more important than other civil servants ?
    I don’t recall such an outcry when the leading climate scientist in the UK, Prof. Phil Jones, conspired to defy the UK Freedom of Information legislation when his university received an FOI request. In a subsequent investigation by the FOI Commissioner Prof, Jones was found to have violated the legislation but was not charged because it was beyond the 6 month time limit. No scientist or academic condemned the action of Prof. Jones and his flouting of legislation was loudly supported by academics around the world. Some time after the fuss UK universities attempted to convince the government to exempt them from FOI !
    All persons who are employed by the use of public funds should be required to answer queries from any person who calls or writes. Greater openness from all public bodies is the issue.

  4. The tedious part is taking the tree down after Christmas and carefully wrapping up the goats and putting them away in their little boxes.

  5. I loved the NY Times article as well as Jean Chretian’s Globe and Mail editorial.

    I have never felt as misrepresented by my national government in my lifetime. It shames me to think of all the things Stephen Harper represents that are contrary to my perception of what it means to be Canadian.

    Let’s hope come October 19 he will become the has been he deserves to be.

  6. I wrote a comic featuring tree goats a couple of years ago. Cute, but they are decimating tree crops in Morocco.