Katie here. Tim had things to do Friday. I had things to do Tuesday. This is Morning File.


1. What the hell is Brendan Maguire talking about?

Brendan Maguire

The candidate for Halifax Atlantic makes a non-announcment about Harrietsfield water.

Jennifer Henderson reports.

2. Provincial jails are giving guards PTSD

The Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Photo: Halifax Examiner Credit: Halifax Examiner

A CBC investigation has found that volatile jails with few resources for Nova Scotia inmates are hard on both the prisoners and the people who work guarding them:

Jason MacLean, who has been a correctional officer at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility for more than 20 years, said every guard has at least one incident that haunts them at night.

“About 12 years ago, I cut someone down that hung themselves,” said MacLean, who is also president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union. “I see that, and I know of my coworkers that it has affected and who are off on post-traumatic stress today. They were working with me that night when that happened.”

3. Icelandic dude basically Canadian now

That Icelandic dude who got screwed out of a permanent residency card by a 1969 clerical error, from an immigration official who didn’t believe he and his mother could have different last names, now has his card and can apply for Canadian citizenship.

4. Liberals to Tories: you’re full of shit

The Liberals are ripping into Jamie Baillie and the Tories’ new platform, saying that it has no actual funding commitments and hasn’t been costed out. Speaking of which, is it weird to you that the Tories’ slogan is ”Vision, Action, Baillie”? One of those things is not like the other.

5. Xpress Yourself

In light of its wins at the AJAs, I wrote about Local Xpress for CANADALAND on Wednesday. You can read that story here.

6. Andrew Younger speaks up

Andrew Younger

Andrew Younger responds to the rumours caused by an AllNovaScotia story that has led him to step away from the campaign trail in this interview with The Coast:

I’m not saying we’re being picked on, but there are over 153 candidates running for election in this province, and even among sitting MLAs and cabinet ministers there are family issues which have some similarities to this which are not being reported on — nor should they be — but somehow ours is a story.

We have had so much done over the past few years, and endured just so much—some was accurate—but so much misleading stuff on social media and in the news, that she just said it’s enough. She is my number one priority. I love her very much. When she said that, that was it.


1. Melvins and Marriotts

This is not so much a view as it is a request for the views of others. If you are on the jury for this murder this would be the time for you to stop reading.

I haven’t been following political news as much as I would like, because I’ve been in court covering the trial of Jimmy Melvin Jr. over Terry Marriott Jr’s death for VICE Canada. You should also read Nathaniel Janowitz’s thorough and nuanced discussion of the rivalry here.

An Atlantic Canadian who no longer lives in this region recently told me that this was going to be the trial of the year. He was not exaggerating. But a SMU professor who spoke to VICE in 2015 blew off a story of the rivalry, saying, ”Those guys are just knuckle-dragging morons.” It is a sentiment I have heard elsewhere.

What is it about the Melvins and Marriotts that captures the fascination of those not residing here — but seems to be less interesting to the people of peninsular Halifax?

If you have a theory, please let me know.

2. Waiting for another Westray

Tuesday this week was the 25th anniversary of the Westray Mining Disaster, where 26 people died underground. In a good column for The Coast, Chris Parsons writes that it will happen again, because our province is too desperate for jobs to keep workers safe:

Get into an argument with any pro-business bootlicker about unions on the internet and you’re bound to hear some variation of the same refrain: “Well actually, unions served a purpose back when we had one-armed orphans working in Dickensian widget factories or when people were being blown up in mines, but they don’t make sense in the modern economy.”

These people are too busy savouring the taste of leather to recognize that long-term care workers are more likely to become disabled due to on-the-job injuries than oil patch workers, or that whatever gains workers have historically won through unions have also been under relentless attack since the 1980s.

Parsons (who, in a late-morning disclosure addition, I should note did say a nice thing about my reporting in his column) also notes that after the Westray disaster the Canadian legislature passed a bill that made it possible to charge the head honchos of companies for crimes if people died while making them a profit — but the law has only been used to convict four people, and only one of them ever spent jail time. I would argue that even if CEOs and board directors were getting rounded up and jailed regularly for the deaths of workers, it would not really solve any problem: if the company was publicly owned, shareholders would still be making money, and nobody would be any less dead.

Unions with the power to push back on their employers — unfettered by laws siding with management — make it easier to say no to work. Saying no to unsafe work costs owners and shareholders money. The question is whether the ability to refuse work is worth the resulting reduction in profit. For any for-profit company, the answer to that question is always going to be No.  As Susan Dodd, a political scientist and professor at the University of Kings College who has written on this extensively, says — tigers don’t act like house cats, and if we expect them to, we will be eaten.


Comedian John Mulaney surely felt like a duck, splashing around in all this wet, when he rolled into a damp Halifax for a stop on his comeback tour last night.

Mulaney gave a shoutout to the HRM’s sick joke of a “haunted carnival” greeting him on his way into the city. “If that’s what carnivals look like, what about your hospitals?” he asked.


A little on the nose, bud. Overcrowding is rampant, a man died in the hallway this January, and I don’t remember ever hearing any answers to the Victoria General Legionnaires problem. That said, the Liberal government did promise some new dialysis chairs less than a month before they called an election, and we are all eagerly looking forward to an outpatient centre in congested Bayers Lake, the only part of town that is equally inconvenient for rural and urban users alike.

Speaking of election ploys, now Baillie and McNeil are duelling over whether redevelopment of the VG, as though this thing has not taken long enough. Earlier this week, Baillie  said he would put the plan ”under the microscope.”

Stephen McNeil responded in an interview with Mike Gorman at the CBC, offering up a lot of bureaucratic jargon that basically says ”we should stick with my plan.”

He said the plan had been ”stage-gated” so that there would be milestones for certain work and that “We’ve told Nova Scotians how much it was going to cost them at the time.”


No public meetings.

On campus


Thesis Defence, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Friday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Mohamed Eldlio will defend his thesis, “Semiconductor-Based Hybrid Plasmonics.”

Thesis Defence, Psychology and Neuroscience (Friday, 10am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — PhD candidate Hera Schlagintweit will defend her thesis, “Expectancy as a Mediator of Drug and Placebo Effects: Methodological and Clinical Considerations for Human Research of Nicotine and Tobacco Effects.”

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 9:30am Friday. Map: marinetraffic.com

7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
7:20am: Skogafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Argentia, Newfoundland
7:30am: Bilbao Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
10:30am: Adriatic Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
11am: Malleco, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
11am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
3pm: Skogafoss, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
4:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
9:30pm: Bilbao Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York

Call off the search

“We found it,” my man whispered to me, as we sauntered through the aisles of Atlantic Superstore. “The world’s bougiest potato chip.”

Would you eat this?


I went into Riot Snack Bar last night. I was surprised to see that given all its communist imagery, it doesn’t sell borscht or pierogi. This is at a time when Polish and Eastern-European food is increasingly trendy.

It is a missed opportunity, and someone should rectify it.

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  1. Was just in local coffee shop where I happened to glance at that Saltwater, Salt Peter, Salt and pepper, Salted caramel, Epsom Salt (whatever)- owned “newspaper.” Noted an unbylined (aka SCAB) article re: forthcoming documentary about the Boston Marathon. LEDE sentence said that the Boston Marathon began in 1987 (for real!). A few grafs later, SCAB made note of a Canadian woman who won the race in 1980.

    Needless to say, there were other errors in the rag. Salt … the silent killer.

    1. Krochak won for Photojournalism Feature: Newspaper. Taplin won for Photojournalism Spot News: Newspaper.

    1. About as well as the Devco managers of the unionised Cape Breton mines where 12 union members were killed February 28 1979. And then another fire at Devco in 1984.
      People knew the conditions at Westray but went to work and then went home, sat at a kitchen table and complained to each other about the dangerous conditions.
      If you consider your workplace unsafe speak up and if nothing changes – quit.
      The UMW didn’t save the Devco miners.

      1. Um, are you serious? The fact you managed to type that out without realizing the pure asshatery of it speaks volumes.

        Pretty sure neither the unionized workers nor their managers weren’t already wealthy and literally making millions by putting ppl in harm’s way while simultaneously having the final authority on changing it. This is Nova Scotia, you seriously think anyone goes down into a death pit if there’s ANY other even remotely viable ways of feeding their families? It sure requires an awful, awful lot of painfully convienent intellectual sidestepping to deem the workers and Frame as equally morally blameworthy (and let’s not say nothing about the abandoning of responsibility on the parts of politicians, inspectors, and insurers).

        Oh look, another example of Colin’s world:
        “Well you’re always talking about how drunk drivers exist and how bad drinking and driving is and yet you drive everyday anyway. What did you think what going to happen? It’s just as much your own fault as it is the actual drunk driver’s.”

  2. Katie,

    You missed the obligatory reference to reallivestreetshit.com when writing about Jimmy Melvin!

  3. So it has finally hit home. I have had to make a tough decision not to attend an event at Neptune Theatre this weekend because I feel there is no reasonable prospect of finding parking anywhere even close. I also noted this morning of the erasure of yet another downtown parking area on the south side of the Maritime Museum. I consider the MMA to be one of our prime attractions in the downtown core. It has now been rendered an island with no nearby parking at all. Queen’s Marque is building right up to the wall on one side and now the parking lot on the other is gone. Why is no one accountable for the war on culture in downtown Halifax?

    1. What do you consider “nearby”? The Metro Park garage is literally only two blocks away from Neptune. There are three other waterfront parking lots not far from the MMA. If you can’t walk that far, there are plenty of taxis.

      1. Maybe on a quiet Sunday afternoon you can get in there. It was full last Thursday as was the closest waterfront lot. So was metropark.

  4. No surprise that prisons would lead to PTSD for guards and inmates. Obviously, we rely too heavily on penal institutions and need to move toward abolishing them for all but the most violent. It’s worth reading Foucault’s history and theory in “Discipline and Punish” where he tries to show that prisons, hospitals, schools and factories serve ideological and political interests linked to the rise of industrial society and the need for “docile” bodies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discipline_and_Punish#Prison

    Prisons can never be made “correctional” or human.

  5. I am surprised at the notion that people on the peninsula don’t find the Melvin/Marriott story interesting. Maybe that is because I live far far away in Tantallon.

  6. I absolutely detest the cutesy use of communist imagery that’s apparently acceptable these days. It was just absurd when people wore those Che Guevara t-shirts, but it’s gotten creepier in the last few years.

    “Yeah, these people destroyed Russia and China and killed millions because of the circumstances of their birth or because they supported the wrong kind of communism but at least they didn’t oppress any workers”

    Also, here’s a tip: If you’re walking through a well-stocked grocery store taking pictures of absurdities like those potato chips on your smartphone, you’re part of the “bourgeoisie”.

    1. Honestly, communist imagery has become pretty popular in post-communist countries where people bore the brunt of the Soviets’ wrath, so I don’t really see its usage as inherently offensive. In Germany they call it “ostalgie:” nostalgia for the days of East Germany. Poland has jumped on a similar nostalgia train:


      Plus I think there’s kind of a cool victory in the young people of post-Soviet Europe LITERALLY SELLING old communist imagery as a joke, and for money!

      But if you’re going to use imagery that peoples have reclaimed and repurposed as a sign of their resilience and badassery and readiness to turn a new leaf, at least give me the related snacks. For me it’s more of an appropriation thing.

      I think there are plenty of reasons why I am part of the bourgeoisie — but the fact that I have a phone is not one of them. Here’s a piece on the importance of smartphones for people in poverty, by that old socialist rag, CNBC:

      Thanks for sharing your views!

    2. It’s annoying, but I often wonder. Yesterday the head of the Augusto Pinochet fan club sat in the White House (to be fair, he would have been there under almost any US President you can think of). We hear a lot about the evils of communism, and rightly so, but no one ever talks about the charming people we in the West have supported for decades.

      For a sample of his activities: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2013/09/life-under-pinochet-they-were-taking-turns-electrocute-us-one-after-other/

      1. Oh, of course western countries have supported some bad people and done bad things – nobody is pretending otherwise. But if I started a pasta store called “Novo Pasta Romanum” and adorned the walls with pictures of fascism-lite or simply obscure figures like Pinochet, Codreanu, etc, what do you think would happen?

        It would very likely be Canada-wide news, if not international news, there would be protests, it would be shut down, I would get put in front of a human rights tribunal. As far as I can tell the only indisputable reason why facism is worse than communism is that communism is typically not racist, but plenty of people got killed or were sent to gulags by communists because of who their parents are… same moral failing, different ideology. The other differences are up for debate of course.

        I’m obviously not calling for a ban on putting pictures of Lenin or whoever on stuff, it’s a free country, or arguing that I should get to wear my Evola t-shirt in public (I don’t actually own one, but Evola would probably appreciate the irony if he got put on t-shirts Che style), or engaging in the stupid “but communists killed more people” fight. And if the word “bourgie” just becomes the new “yuppie”, whatever, fine. I just worry that the center in our society is shrinking and people are separating into two camps on the fringes.

          1. Thanks, Chris, for reminding me how badly I want to eat out of a Chanel-brand take out box before I die

          2. Chris,

            I think we agree on a lot of points. And yeah, I agree with Evola, we need Tradition and no modern ideology/pseudoreligion will save us from that fact. The problem is that no demagogue, fascist, communist, orange-haired, first-to-be-female, et cetera can bring us there. We have no culture left here in the West, and the only hope is collapse and the rise of a new aristocracy. To be fair, a communist (or fascist) revolution would likely speed the process up, but for now, I’d rather just see us muddle on and reject both left and right wing ideologues and maybe take care of the planet while we’re at it.

  7. when i was in Ottawa i lived close to a Ukrainian take out place. hard to argue with perogies the way grandma used to make..