Stephen Kimber

Stephen Kimber is the Rogers Communications Chair in Journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax. He is an award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster.

His writing has appeared in almost all major Canadian publications including Canadian Geographic, Financial Post Magazine, Maclean's, En Route, Chatelaine, Financial Times, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the National Post. He has written one novel — Reparations — and six non-fiction books. Website:

Dec 172012

Columnist offers coal for investigation report, candy for Mayor Mike Savage.

by Stephen Kimber

With the pre-holiday spate of comment-worthy local news and the upcoming holiday lack of venue to vent my inevitable shocked-and-appalled-at-it-all spleen, today’s column will be an assorted stocking stuffer.

No charges in Home for Coloured Children investigation
I’m less shocked than I’d like. But winning convictions when allegations date back decades, involve children and include little documentary evidence is difficult, perhaps impossible.

That makes the ongoing class action suit — where the burdens of proof are different — even more significant for the victims, and a full public inquiry vital for all of us.

Who was responsible for creating the conditions that allowed such abuse to continue unchecked? What role did racism play in the lack of official oversight or interest when children came forward with allegations? What can we learn?

It’s time the provincial government did the right thing.

Swastikas, anti-Semitism and the Atlantic Jewish Council
A few protesters at a recent anti-war rally outside the Halifax International Security Forum carried posters with images of swastikas, equating Israeli attacks on Gaza with Hitler’s Nazis.

Atlantic Jewish Council Executive Director Jon Goldberg was right to condemn the comparison as anti-Semitism. “And any attempt to hold Jews collectively responsible for political actions of the state of Israel,” he added, “is anti-Semitism.”

Would that groups like the AJC were equally quick to condemn North American Jewish groups’ often knee-jerk invocations of anti-Semitism when anyone criticizes Israel for its attacks on Palestinians.

Province buys Bowater lands
The Dexter government has completed a complex deal to purchase 550,000 acres of former Bowater Mersey assets for $1, assume employee pension liabilities, resell a Bowater biomass power plant and transform the mill into an innovative clean energy centre.

It appears to be a smart long-term investment protecting our forests, providing employment and creating rural development opportunities. Win, win, win. Finally.

Savage speaks
Speaking last week to the Chamber of Commerce, new Mayor Mike Savage talked about everything from the role of universities in our economy to revitalizing downtown Halifax with an iconic legacy project to replace the Cogswell Street Interchange white elephant.  

“This is not a building we’re talking about,” he declared, “this is a community. This is huge.”

Vision from a Halifax mayor?

Wow. No wonder Savage got a standing O.

Happy holidays to all.

Dec 102012

NS Premier could have mentioned new study weeks ago.

by Stephen Kimber

How and why did avuncular, reasonable-man-trying-to-do-the-right-thing Opposition leader Darrell Dexter morph into prickly, why-should-I-answer-your-reasonable-question Premier Darrell Dexter?

Last week, as the House of Assembly wrapped up its fall sitting, Dexter announced — not in the legislature where you might have expected it, but in a puffed up State-of-the-Province speech to an audience of 400 Chamber-of-Commerce types — that his government had commissioned an independent study on the economics of importing electricity from the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador.  Huh?

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Dec 032012

Sports broadcaster was the voice of every major hockey milestone in Nova Scotia.

by Stephen Kimber

I didn’t go to journalism school. In a day when informal apprenticeship was the norm, I was lucky to learn my trade from its best practitioners: Nick Fillmore, the crusading editor of the feisty local alternative weekly, the 4th Estate; Harry Bruce, one of Canada’s finest magazine writers and essayists; and Pat Connolly, the legendary sports journalist whose microphone was finally stilled last week at 84.

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Nov 192012
Over 300 people attended Peter MacKay's Halifax International Security Forum.

Making the world safe for Peter MacKay.

by Stephen Kimber

The idea for this past weekend’s fourth annual Halifax International Security Forum, Peter MacKay told the Globe and Mail, was born because our defence minister “got a little tired” of traveling to other global security conferences in places like Munich where the discussions were all “Europe-America, Europe-America.”

Voila the Halifax Forum.

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Nov 052012

The reality is that junior hockey players haven’t had a raise in years.

by Stephen Kimber

Forget the Byzantine balls-up the attempt to unionize Canada’s junior hockey players became — league-hired private investigators snooping on union staff, falsely (maybe) intimating one was a felon; union (dis)organizers scheduling, then canceling votes — and ask ourselves two simple questions: First, do run-of-the-litter junior hockey players, the ones least likely to lose millions in the next NHL lockout, have legitimate grievances? And, second, what the hell was Jamie Baillie thinking?

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Oct 222012

New mayor will need all his conciliatory skills.

by Stephen Kimber

The race for HRM mayor really began on February 6, 2012, when former Liberal MP Mike Savage — surrounded by a fawning, hopeful who’s who of 300 of the city’s most influential business and political makers and breakers — declared he would challenge long-past-his-best-before-date incumbent Peter Kelly.

The campaign effectively ended two-and-a-half weeks later when Kelly — already mired in myriad self-made political scandals and suddenly facing personal allegations about his handling of a friend’s estate — reluctantly announced he would not re-offer.

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Oct 152012

Released from prison, deadly con artist seems to be back to her old tricks.

by Stephen Kimber

The question that truly, biblically passeth all understanding is — why?

Why would a 77-year-old senior citizen with five last names, a 40-year criminal history as long as both your arms and one of your legs, with two dead husbands — one of whom she was convicted of killing and the other seriously suspected — a woman who is now barely two years past the end of her last five-year prison sentence for stealing $20,000 from a Florida man she met online, whose predictable modus operandi involved wooing, winning and then drugging her lonely victims before vacuuming up their assets, whose crimes became so notorious she was nicknamed the Internet Black Widow… why would Melissa Ann “Millie” Weeks — also known as Shepard, Stewart, Russell and Friedrich — even imagine she could get away with it again?

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Oct 012012

Darrell Dexter, Paul Guadet and the politics of partisanship.

by Stephen Kimber

Perhaps Darrell Dexter’s prickly petulance last week was the result of too many too long nights reworking the on-again, off-again, can-we-have-more-please deal to save Port Hawkesbury’s NewPage paper mill.  And the certainty he would be damned for saving it. Just as he would have been damned for having failed to save it.  Or, more generally, his belated, three-years-on recognition that anyone who seeks to lead a province with as many intractable problems as Nova Scotia should be careful what he wishes for.

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