rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Failures to communicate: From Nova Scotia Power to the Halifax convention centre

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: John Douglas/flickr

What we have here, suggests Nova Scotia Power President and CEO Bob Hanf is a failure to communicate. Nothing more. Lack of manpower? Don't worry. Storm-unhardened infrastructure? Be happy.

Despite close to a week to prepare for the Hurricane Arthur that whooshed into a post-tropical shell of itself by the time it made landfall last weekend, NSP's communications infrastructure was indeed so woefully inadequate its online outage maps crashed, its phone answering system cacked, and the answers its operators did give customers were about as reliable as NSP's electrical service.

Once everyone has their power back, says Hanf, NSP's pointy heads will review their own communications goof-ups… again. NSP's lousy customer communication has been an issue in every major outage since well before Juan.

But NSP doesn't plan to review its decision to lay off staff and contract out much of the critical storm-hardening infrastructure work once done by its own linemen. No need, says Hanf.

Salty fog anyone?

If Hanf really wants to restore confidence, he would appoint an independent third party to publicly audit its infrastructure and actual storm readiness.

If NSP's infrastructure and maintenance were better, perhaps there would be fewer failures to communicate about.


Speaking of disconnects, that recent Be-Bold newspaper ad signed by 300 of Halifax's finest, crapping over Heritage Trust and anyone who would question the all-knowing wisdom of local developers, has inadvertently revived discussion about whether our under-construction downtown convention centre actually makes economic sense.

For a whole host of reasons, the North American convention business is struggling -- even before we add our own shiny new, publicly financed $400-million bauble into the mix.

How badly? Well, consider this from a recent letter sent by the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau to the organizer of a potential 2016 national conference.

The letter offered to reduce the standard $269,918 space rental rate for their four-day convention by $268,918! Not that the convention space would actually end up costing the group even $1,000. The Bureau also offered to throw in a $25,000 "marketing incentive," meaning the group would actually pocket $24,000 to stage its convention in L.A.

That's what our new convention centre will be competing against. Good luck with that. And good luck to taxpayers too.

This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber's Halifax Metro column.

Photo: John Douglas/flickr

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.