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Municipal elections are when democracy gets fun

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Municipal elections are a lot of fun. Halifax’s next municipal election is in October and this time, right now, is my favourite part of the process. Reporters are furiously sniffing around trying to figure out which incumbents will reoffer and who the serious challengers are. Will a surprise mayoral candidate emerge and give Mike Savage… Read More»

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Halifax finally has a clean harbour—why risk it?

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If you’re new to the city, it’s hard to understand how bad Halifax Harbour used to be. On a warm August day, the smell was a pungent slap of burnt oatmeal with hints of outhouse on fire. One summer I bused tables at a waterfront restaurant. Daily, I watched green-faced tourists get off tour boats,… Read More»

Let’s all be poor together!

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I’ve never understood the notion that job cuts and austerity are the keys to economic salvation. Governments the world over have told us that we just need to expect less of them: the only way they can keep our economy humming is to provide fewer services at greater cost, while employing fewer people and paying… Read More»

Why honour Edward Cornwallis?

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The argument in favour of keeping the statue of Edward Cornwallis in downtown Halifax is based on the fact that the mid-1700s were a brutal time. An ugly frontier war raged across the Maritimes. Nova Scotia’s native Mi’kmaq allied with the French to fight the British colonists encroaching on their homeland. Into this maelstrom came Halifax’s… Read More»

From here to there

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Whenever we talk about cycling in Halifax Magazine, we hear the same sorts of reader comments. “There is no need for the city to pay for a multi-million dollar ramp at the end of the bridge for a handful of cycling zealots.” And, “I find that Halifax is being merely politically correct when it comes… Read More»

How we remember

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It’s not hard to imagine what the area around Ypres, Belgium looked like at the turn of the last century, before war rolled over it. Just a few kilometres inland from the North Sea, this western slice of Flanders has a salt tang in the air. Streams and rivers wend through pastures and fields, vibrant… Read More»

Our democracy is dumb (but vote anyway)

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Your family is ordering takeout. You want pizza. Your spouse wants Chinese food. Your eldest daughter would like a hamburger. The next daughter wants pizza. Your son declines to eat at all. So, you tally the votes and do the only logical thing: you get pizza. Sure, 40 per cent of your family just made… Read More»

Smother Canada

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A friend from Calgary emailed me on a Friday afternoon. “Callers on a talk-radio show are complaining about you. Not Nova Scotia, not Halifax. You, personally. ‘Smart-ass Easterner.’ ‘Another know-it-all from Handout Land.’ What have you gotten into?” It started with an editorial from the Calgary Herald, wading into the debate about building the eight-storey… Read More»

Art that heals

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We hear from a lot of people who would like to have their stories told in Halifax Magazine. We don’t have space to tell them all, so I have to be pretty ruthless about who gets our attention and who doesn’t. When Gavin Quinn first wrote me about the Outsider Insight Project, I thought, “Great,… Read More»

These are a few of my favourite things

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It’s easy, in a job like mine, to focus on the negative. I won’t apologize for it—a critical news media is vital to a healthy democracy—but it gets tiring sometimes. I look around the city and I feel like all I can see are problems that need solving. But now, summer is upon us and… Read More»


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