Editor’s note: Today’s Morning File is written by Natalie Chavarie.



1. Not exactly the Panopticon of Harper’s dreams…

The National Post looks at delays in the opening of the new federal jail — the economic driver of Cumberland County. The former town of Springhill may not see the government jobs it was promised by the Harper government because there simply aren’t enough prisoners:

“There’s not as many inmates I think as projected,” said Scott Lockhart, chairman of a citizens advisory committee that deals with prison issues. “Maybe this tough on crime thing three years ago … they thought it would generate more offenders than it did.”

Oh! and the locks don’t work!  No matter how many prisoners, faulty locks will keep them out of this prison for now.

2. #NSWild


The government of Nova Scotia announced yesterday that it is creating three new provincial parks and met its 12% goal of protected areas. Follow #NSWild on twitter for scenic nature photos.  CPAWS Nova Scotia provides cool details on specific sites:

Shelburne River Wilderness Area - Nova Scotia Environment
Shelburne River Wilderness Area – Nova Scotia Environment

Tracadie River Wilderness Area
2,526 hectares
• Old-growth hardwood forest

Rogues Roost Wilderness Area
1,130 hectares
• 18km of rugged, granite-dominated coastline
• overwintering habitat for the endangered Harlequin duck
• Tremendous hiking and sea kayaking opportunities
• Natural landmark (Rogues Roost)

Liscomb River Wilderness Area
3,357 hectares
• 35km of river frontage
• One of the few rivers in NS that can be protected from ocean to headwater.

Dunraven Bog Nature Reserve
3,464 hectares
• Large, ecologically significant wetland complex
• Supports several rare plants, including nationally threatened “golden crest” and national special concern “Long’s bulrush”

Fourchu Coast Wilderness Area
4,811 hectares
• 20km of rugged coastline
• Includes diverse coastal ecosystems, including entire beaches, headlands, and estuaries.
• Important backbarrier tidal salt marsh ecosystem
• Known habitat for rare plant species, including New Jersey Rush

Kluscap Wilderness Area
2,777 hectares
• Natural landmark (Kellys Mountain)
• Coastal features
• Old forest in ravines

Medway Lakes Wilderness Area
19,655 hectares
• Large system of interconnected lakes, rivers, and forests
• Pockets of old-growth Acadian forests
• Tremendous recreational potential

3. Weather

The Chronicle Herald writes about how ya can’t predict the weather and it’s winter.

Parker Donham writes a piece about the seasonality of car crashes and unconvincingly states that “December, January, February, and March are four of the five safest months to drive in Nova Scotia”


1. Just one more beer, beye! 

I was looking for today’s cranky letter of the day, when I found this letter to the editor in the Cape Breton Post stating the obvious “Too many people are drinking too much on a regular basis.”

The people of Cape Breton are known good cheer, aka getting drunk and playing music.

Earlier this week, CBC wrote a personal piece on musician J.P. Cormier and the connection between music and mental health.

Music and mental health came together for me in April, I had made a decision to be alcohol-free for 3-months and went to my first all-ages metal show at a venue in the North End called SadRad. The wall of amplified sound, the smell of sweat, the all-ages venue, my dark throne t-shirt trying to fit in. It brought me back to growing up in Moncton with straight edge punks who believed that being sober was the ultimate assault to capitalism.  It wasn’t that political or deep for me, to put it simply – I was burnt out from the winter, and needed a break to reflect on my relationship with alcohol and hell… save some cash to get out of dodge next winter. Armed with hellosundaymorning as a resource and cheered on by pop culture blogs written by artist friends exploring life alcohol-free, I got cozy with ordering soda & lime.

It’s been nine months, and I’m moving to Taiwan for three months with all the cash I saved, so there’s that.

Since it’s the time of year where folks are reflecting on their ‘dirty little secrets’ and plotting resolutions for the new year, allow me to share my unsolicited advice on living alcohol-free.

  • Always have an AF drink on hand – soda & lime will be your lifesaver when you get hit by a pang of awkwardness
  • Read up on life alcohol-free, or moderation
  • Use websites like hellosundaymorning  to talk about things you may not wanna share with your friends & family about your relationship with alcohol.
  • Do new things (tip: after-hours skating at the Oval, metal shows, bikerides, tofu making, anything!)
  • Practice mindful meditation
  • Take a challenge with a friend!
  • Try a non-alcoholic cocktail – lots of exciting concoctions happening in our beverage scene!


At the height of our first seasonal snow storm, I hurried down Spring Garden in hopes to catch a  bus on storm routes that may eventually lead me home. The unsteady feeling underfoot and the blustering snow reminded me all too much of last February when Halifax examiner first featured our local “asshole with a shovel”, Paul Vienneau.  


For the upteenth time this year, Vienneau took to the streets with two shovels and a mission to clear out our main drag’s most critical passage points.

We inspected the crosswalk across from the Credit Union Atlantic, were both surprised by the snow clearance at this intersection. Compared to last year, it was impeccable — cleared of snow/ice and covered in anti-slip agent. So what happened? Has the city changed its approach to snow clearance? Is the new acting superintendent of winter works really doubling down?    

A Spring Garden Road crosswalk last year. Photo: Paul Vienneau
A Spring Garden Road crosswalk last year. Photo: Paul Vienneau

Perhaps the city’s winter operations plan took a page from Vienneau’s idea of a “little red book” —  a guide book for taking an accessibility-centered approach to snow clearance. One that primarily values the elderly and disabled and as such makes it better for everyone. In short, doing a good job because know that it will make a positive difference for someone and we’ll be a better city, one that values all citizens. 

YouTube video

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. All that new protected wilderness area is great. But we still do not know who cut down all the trees at Long Lake.

  2. Tim,

    Who wrote the material on being alcohol-free? The way the type was laid out, I thought it was in your voice, but you did not grow up in Moncton. Please clarify.
    Thanks and Happy New Year.


    1. Today’s Morning File is written by Natalie Chavarie.

      I never grew up, in Moncton or anywhere else 🙂

          1. And I’m sure it says Tim Bousquet on all the other days but I don’t read that either! Because there’s a great big photo of you! haha

  3. Perhaps the reason snow clearing was better during the recent storm is that it did not follow the 1-in-50-year sequence we experienced last winter:

    Two storms in rapid succession: many inches of heavy snow, followed by a soaking rain, followed by a hard freeze, followed 2-3 days later by many more inches of heavy snow, then soaking rain, then a hard freeze. This left HRM’s 1,000 km (!) of sidewalks coated with several inches of hard, hard ice, well adhered to the pavement, and impossible to remove by any mechanical or human contrivance without effort and cost beyond any reasonable municipal budget and staff.

    Was it inconvenient? Absolutely. Was it hard to get around? Terribly. Was it especially hard on wheelchair users and others with mobility problems? Indeed it was.

    But it was not evidence of incompetence, or lack of caring, or systemic problems. In 100 years, scholars looking to understand why we accuse millennials of a disproportional sense of entitlement will find no better illustration than the incessant, self-righteous, indignant bleating that fouled the Halifax Examiner’s Morning File for months afterwards. Can we please, please give this false and unbecoming trope a rest?

    We experienced a horrible set of weather events that rendered our sidewalks unpleasant to use for several weeks. Once in a while, it happens. It’s not anyone’s fault.

    1. Good points. So what about that thing where Dalhousie University’s sidewalks were bare after all that 1-in-50-years weather? Is it because the university was uniquely applying human and financial resources that were impossible anywhere else in the city?

      1. Well, you constantly hear that Dal did a perfect job. Is this even true? Or is it a myth based on a single photograph of a single patch of sidewalk? I honestly don’t know. I do know Dalhousie doesn’t have 1,000 kilometres of sidewalk. HRM does.

        One thousand kilometres: That’s a path, four feet wide, from Halifax to Quebec City, via Edmunston, covered in 4 to six inches of solid ice.

        Did Dal happen to have a substantial crew that worked through both storms to clear the snow before the hard freeze occurred? I don’t know. I do know what happened in the rest of the city, and I find repellant the sanctimonious abuse heaped on those responsible for dealing with a situation that was much more difficult than the Halifax Examiner crowd has ever acknowledged.

          1. And sure, it’s expecting too much that every inch of every city sidewalk could be cleared. But they couldn’t even clear the sidewalk outside City Hall.

        1. Not a myth- Dal’s sidewalks were clean as a whistle last year. And we don’t expect every mile of sidewalk to be miraculously cleared. What we DO expect is that the sidewalks in the downtown cores (Halifax and Dartmouth) are reasonably walkable, which they absolutely were not for three months. Even if you managed to find a block that was cleared by sympathetic businesses, the curbs (and bus stops) were piled high by plows and you never knew if the footing would be solid (forcing you to climb an icy hill), or soft (meaning you’d end up in two to three feet of snow with a wonderful layer of slush underneath). Try doing that AND getting across the crosswalk in the stupidly small time window available. Yes, I just converged two major beefs in one.

          I, for once, will state that they have done their job well so far this winter, and that I hope it will continue.

    2. Another reason for a clearer sidewalk: people have given up on the city’s clearing. In my neighbourhood, we’ve all been out shovelling. The few people who aren’t clearing their sidewalks themselves are finding that their neighbours have done it for them. The city clearing has been terrible for the last two years, and we’ve given up on it. So, here’s a question: since taxes were raised to pay for this service, can we have that money back? Seriously. Or should we send the city a bill for our shovelling? That’s some outsourcing I can get behind.

  4. Thanks for the notes on alcohol. It’s probably the one thing I pretty much keep my mouth shut about. But since I rarely think anything I don’t say …

    I was lucky, in a funny way to find my bottom really early in life. Then a series of what most people would consider disastrous events led me in a new direction. When I came home and then in to Halifax for the first time I was blessed to meet a couple of those straight edge people you talk about. What a gift.

    Today I’m 35 years alcohol and drug free but I would suggest I’ve lived as wild and partied as hard as anyone could. All the notes and links you made make total sense to me. Any success, fun, wealth, adventure and extraordinary experience I’ve had I credit to the effort afforded me by not being concerned drugs or alcohol. I’m an example of an astonishingly average person in every regard, with no special connections, talents or gifts except the time and capacity for effort that not drinking at all gives a person.

    Here’s the sum total of what I’ve learned in 35 years of partying without partying:

    – You got to know when to leave.
    – Logically it’s not you that you want to drink, it’s the others, that’s when you can relax.
    – Not drinking does change the number and depth of opportunities for bonding with people and you have to work hard to make up that difference. Not every is up for it and you will end up with different kinds of friendships than those you drink – sometimes for the better, but there’s something lost too.
    – In terms of art and creativity I… well, I don’t know the word… but I’m grateful that some of the most amazing people in the world have explored the deepest parts of the mind with drugs and alcohol and brought back the most amazing insights about live, love and the world we live in then shared it through song, art, writing, fashion and ideas. The world would be so much less without their sacrifice. Side note: These people are the rarest of the rare.

    Though drugs seem to disappear and be happily hidden from my view, even now I still get asked why I’m not drinking. It’s kind of a running joke to say “because I think it’s wrong to drink”. But I’m not actually kidding, I just think I might as well lay it out there right out of the gate. The cost is worth it. And it is kind of funny to openly believe in an important truth that very few people agree with you on and still be able to operate in social settings.

  5. Regarding subscription renewals; one of the great thrills of the subscription revenue model in the digital age is that it’s perfectly ligit and accepted to set up automatic renewals until people opt out.

    Business advice – if the subscription price is reasonable people rarely opt out even if they don’t read. They’re buying the option to read. And many folks would rather that small responsibility in their court rather than endless requests for money, donations, renewals or the worst… advertisements.

    Come on with the come on!

  6. Tim, the wilderness protection goal was updated in 2013 to 13% of the province and a plan was released on how this was to be accomplished. The Province reaching the 12% target is a positive step but not what was planned. CPAWS noted this in their comments but unfortunately EAC missed it. Most of the media completely missed this point as well.