1. Nova Scotia Power and Emera
An audit of NS Power finds a too-cosy relationship between the regulated utility and the unregulated operations of its parent company, Emera, Inc., and other associated businesses. As a result, ratepayers may be subsidizing operations for the Emera businesses.
One example, reports Jennifer Henderson for the Examiner:
As for the relationship between NS Power and Emera Utility Services, the audit found a glaring example of sharing commercial information between two subsidiaries that raised several compliance and competitiveness issues. The audit says NS Power issued a purchase order to an affiliate company called Emera Utility Services (EUS) for services needed to test the oil in 10,000 transformers. The audit claims the contract was not competitively bid or UARB-approved.
The audit quotes a chain of emails from a NS Power employee that showed he reached out to EUS one day after receiving a call from a potential supplier outside the Emera family of companies. The email shows the option of NS Power doing the testing itself was never adequately considered or documented before hiring EUS, the sister company, several weeks later. Wrote the unnamed employee:
I put a cost comparison sheet together for NSP, EUS and (redacted name of company). You should be able to see that NSP is the best option from a cost perspective, but we will not be able to [provide?] the self-provisioning because our resources are loaded with work. I believe EUS is the way to go since it’s the second most cost effective option and resources can be available to complete the job.
NorthStar Consulting says this conversation shows “unrestricted communication between NS Power management and an affiliate exchanging commercially sensitive information.” Furthermore, the audit says, “this contract with EUS resulted in NS Power paying more than the purchase order agreed upon amount. The total amount paid to EUC exceeded NS Power’s in-house cost estimate and the all-inclusive estimate from the (redacted name of the outside company).”
Click here to read “UARB to examine Nova Scotia Power’s dealings with Emera operations.”
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2. Northern pulp
“Northern Pulp bullies Canada’s biggest bookstore chain, wins… and then loses,” writes Stephen Kimber:
The good news is that the mill’s heavy-handed attack on freedom of expression and the bookseller’s own cowed response appear to have backfired. The bad news is that, “in 2017, a company can use its power to shut down a book signing in a small bookstore in a small town.”
Click here to read “Northern Pulp bullies Canada’s biggest bookstore chain, wins… and then loses.”
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3. How many times more likely?
Last week, Time Magazine named the #MeToo movement as Person of the Year, but omitted #MeToo founder Tarana Burke from the cover photo. El Jones says there can be no liberation without Black women, and shows how Canada omits Black women from official statistics.
Click here to read “How Many Times More Likely? Me Too and Black Canadian Women.”
4. Examineradio, episode #140
On Thursday, we learned the NSLC will have a monopoly on weed sales when cannabis is legalized next year.
The province also said people will be allowed to have up to 30 grams for personal use and grow up to four plants per household. The legal age is set at 19.
I talked to Carman Pirie, co-owner of marketing firm Kula Partners, who favours a café and store model of selling cannabis. He lobbied his MLA, but that didn’t work.
He says we need to look at the supply side too.
If they’re not doing so in a way that provides a bit of an on-ramp for those people who are operating in the grey market today to begin to participate in the legal cannabis economy … then those people and all of that talent and knowledge about how to grow this substance and how to talk about it and how to sell it is going to remain in the black market.
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Also, we talk about the Integrated Mobility Plan, which was passed by council on Tuesday. Read Erica Butler’s comprehensive summary for details.
(Subscribe via iTunes)
5. 22 minutes
“I was clueless about three cornerstones of Canadian culture when I immigrated from the U.S. two decades ago: Buckley’s cough syrup, Don Cherry, and This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” writes Evelyn C. White for the Examiner:
It didn’t take me long to develop an aversion to the expectorant that touts its bad taste. Ditto for the bloviating hockey broadcaster.
As for the Halifax-based CBC news comedy show that this year marks its 25th anniversary, I was bedazzled by the production, especially the “Talking to Americans” segment masterminded by Rick Mercer. Every time I watch a clip of Sarah Huckabee Sanders — Donald Trump’s current press secretary — I’m reminded that Mercer, in 2001, punked her father, then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, into congratulating Canada on “preserving its National Igloo.”
Mercer recalls the hilarious prank in 25 Years of 22 Minutes, an oral history of the show by local writer Angela Mombourquette. “That one was a game-changer,” Mercer told the author. “We just went in and talked our way all the way up! And we were terrified, too, because there was a chain gang outside.”
Click here to read “25 Years of 22 Minutes: How ‘saucy’ Newfoundlanders conquered Canadian comedy.”
6. Charges in Tyler Richards and Naricho Clayton homicides
A police release from Saturday:
Investigators with the Homicide Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division have charged a man in relation to two homicides and an attempted murder that occurred in Halifax last year.
This morning investigators charged 27-year-old Tyrell Peter Dechamp of Halifax with two counts of first degree murder in relation to the homicides of Tyler Richards and Naricho Clayton and one count of attempted murder for the shooting of a man who was 31-years-old at the time of the incident.
At 7:55 p.m. on April 17, 2016, police responded to a report that a deceased man had been located in a home in the 6900 block of Cook Avenue in Halifax. Officers attended and found 29-year-old Tyler Richards deceased inside the residence. His death was later ruled a homicide.
At 10:58 p.m. on April 19, 2016, police responded to the 2000 block of Gottingen Street in relation to multiple calls of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers located two men inside a vehicle who had been shot. Twenty-three-year-old Naricho Clayton from Dartmouth was pronounced deceased at the scene and his death was later ruled a homicide. A 31-year-old-man originally from Halifax was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Yesterday morning, investigators in the Homicide Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division arrested Tyrell Dechamp in Renous, New Brunswick and transported him back to Halifax. He is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial court on Monday to face these charges as well a charge of being unlawfully large in relation to a Canada-wide arrest warrant that was issued on April 25, 2016.
Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — the committee is being asked to approve a two-year pilot project for a Youth Advisory Committee.
Police Commission (Monday, 12:30pm, City Hall) — an update on the review of street checks.
Special Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee (Monday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — two development proposals: a five-storey building on Chebucto Road at Beech Street (the site of the old service station) and an eight-storey building at Robie and Cunard Streets, the old Tony’s convenience store.
North West Community Council (Monday, 7pm, Acadia Hall, Lower Sackville) — here’s the agenda.
Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 10am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda.
No public meetings.
Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — Steven Feindel, the Executive Director of Client Service Delivery at the Public Service Commission, will be asked about youth retention in the Public Service.
Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm, One Government Place) — Valerie Mitchell-Veinotte and Steve Wessel, from the Canadian Legion, will tend bar.
Thesis Defence, Biomedical Engineering (Monday, 2pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Shijie Zhou will defend his thesis, “Localization of Ventricular Activation Origin using Patient-Specific Geometry.”
Senate (Monday, 3pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — here’s the agenda.
Noble Goals, Dedicated Doctors (Monday, 4pm, Foyer, Tupper Medical Building) — T. Jock Murray launches his book, Noble Goals, Dedicated Doctors: the Story of Dalhousie Medical School.
Thesis Defence, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Tuesday, 9:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) – PhD candidate Wei Fan will defend his thesis, “Development and Application of the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) Method.”
Random Projection in Deep Neural Networks (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Piotr Iwo Wójcik, PhD candidate from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland, will talk about his dissertation.
Thesis Defence, Physiology and Biophysics (Tuesday, 1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Dylan Quinn will defend his thesis, “The Role of Activity and Synaptic Cell Adhesion Molecules of the Neurexin Family in the Refinement of Synapses Between Hippocampal Neurons.”
Thesis Defence, Business Administration (1pm, Atrium 101) — PhD candidate Donna Parsons will defend her thesis, “Gendering of Family Firms: The Story of Family Funeral Homes.”
In the harbour
4am: Rt Hon Paul E Martin, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for Tampa Bay, Florida
5am: YM Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
10am: Alpine Mary, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
4pm: YM Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Bremerhaven, Germany
White, lumpy rain is falling.
Why can I remember a stupid line from a stupid TV show from when I was eight years old (teh google doesn’t even remember!), but I can’t remember where I put my shoes last night?
Wow so many stories coming through the Examiner pipeline, not to much from the man himself. Kinda sad to miss Monday morning Bousquetisms but lots of great reporting and opinions.
Feel the same but have hesitated to express it. No offense or criticism meant or intended to other contributors – I read and appreciate them – but it was Tim’s writing, his style, together with his willingness to dig deep, courageously take on long-entrenched sacred cows and report on them – elites and powerful be damned – that initially captivated and continues to holds me. Tim lets the chips fall factually. As Tim and his pieces became known, we could sense the old guard haughtily sniffing and snorting, whispering, and then overtly registering opposition, anger, resentment, and occasional ignorance of satire. People became better informed, and I believe Tim inspired/influenced involvement, comments and protest. I, too, wish we heard more from you, Tim. First thing I do is check who’s written any new piece on your site, and we’ve a treat today in your Wilderness Park reporting.
“He is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial court on Monday to face these charges as well a charge of being….. unlawfully large 🙂
That’s a quote from the police, so not our typo.
If true, there don’t seem to be too many people that kill 3 separate other people on three separate occasions in a 10 year span. Assuming it’s not a serial killer motive, and I don’t imagine it is, that’s a lot of killing.
Hey, Tim, may I add an event to your city listings? There is a “public engagement session” on the Halifax Common Master Plan this evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Atlantica Hotel.
It should surprise no one that Emera and NSPI act as one. That was the plan from the beginning. Shortly after the Conservative government led by Don Cameron gave away the public NSP to the private sector about one-third of its pole crews were laid off and we began seeing private companies doing much of the work formerly done in-house. Eventually Emera bought at least one of those companies. Think how convenient that is: NSPI is a private but regulated utility but is guaranteed a minimum return on its investment. Since NSPI will be scolded by the UARB and the public if it makes too much more than the regulated profit, it contracts its work to a company owned by its parent which can charge as much as it likes to NSPI and take in as much profit as it wishes since it is not regulated. Because NSPI is guaranteed a minimum return it gets permission from the UARB to pass on those costs to its customers. Small business owners sharing their incomes with non-working family members is penny-ante stuff compared to this.
But we should have expected this. You will recall that the Conservative government had to pass legislation deeming the top management of the public NSP not to be in a conflict of interest when they engineered the sale of the public utility and then were allowed to purchase shares in the privatized company.
Pension funds love utilities, steady income and steady growth in dividends. Pension funds for union members love the almost guaranteed flow of money from private enterprise. And when dividends increase the share price goes up
You should be happy Ron, your union members rely on dividends from banks and regulated utilities; not to mention the public infrastructure such as several UK airports part owned by the HRM pension plan.
Every weed story mentions 30 grams but none explain what it means in terms of joints or dollars.
30 grams is just a tad more than an ounce, if that helps.
Haha …ah the wonder and majesty of it all.