There’s a story going around Cape Breton that the province  is cheating the Cape Breton Regional Municipality out of hundreds of millions of dollars per year in federal equalization payments to which our island is Constitutionally entitled. The story is untrue. Among technocrats who understand how equalization works, and the much larger group with no patience for Cape Breton bellyaching, it elicits eye-rolling scorn. But the story rests on a set of facts that can be assembled, or misassembled, into an easily understood and rational-sounding complaint with enduring emotional power. At the moment, it has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Cape Bretoners fit...

In the frigid North Atlantic, about 20 km. east of Labrador's northernmost coastline, there's a rocky island so small it can't be seen on Google Earth or Google Maps. It measures just 25 by 45 meters—about half a football field. It was first detected in 1973 by Elizabeth A. Flemming, a researcher with the Topographical Survey of Canada, who was poring over raw data from NASA's Landsat 1 satellite, looking for undiscovered geographical features. Finding an island this size off northern Labrador is harder than you might think. Clouds shroud the area most of the summer, and ice disguises its rocky...

Lest you think Spring has arrived, check out this photo, snapped yesterday by NASA's Aqua satellite. Lots of snow cover everywhere. Lots of drift ice on the west coasts of Cape Breton and PEI. Heck, you could practically walk to PEI from Mabou....

At his Turpin Labs blog, Bill Turpin says Halifax, with 43% of Nova Scotia's population, suffers most from the doctor shortage, despite having 60% of NS doctors. He leans on Health Authority stats, and blames "the rural favouritism baked into our politics." I'm skeptical, and offer a few points to consider....

The following professions have organized themselves into professional regulatory bodies with statutory powers and duties enacted by the Nova Scotia Legislature: Agrologists, architects, barristers, chartered professional accountants, chiropractors, cosmetologists, counselling therapists, dental hygienists, dental technicians, denturists, dieticians, dispensing opticians, embalmers and funeral directors, engineering technicians and technologists, interior designers, land surveyors, licensed practical nurses, licensed professional planners, medical laboratory technologists, medical radiation technologists, midwives, occupational therapists, optometrists, paramedics, pharmacists, physicians and surgeons, physiotherapists, professional engineers, professional geoscientists, dentists, psychologists, public accountants, real estate agents, real estate appraisers, barbers, music teachers, registered nurses, professional foresters, respiratory therapists, social workers, stockbrokers, veterinarians. The following professions...

Seventeen months after its premiere at TIFF, the Cape Breton-made feature film "Werewolf" had its New York debut last week, screening at a 2nd Avenue art house. The New York Times and the New Yorker marked the occasion with accolades of startling warmth. Times reviewer Glenn Kenney wrote that contemporary films about drug addiction often affect a tone of grim austerity, but added, "[T]he particulars of [New Waterford director Ashley] McKenzie’s approach, and the excellent work of her lead actors, bring new value to the mode." (The actors in question are Cape Bretoners Bhreagh MacNeil and Andrew Gillis, pictured above.) The performers...

View of Cape Breton Island on Friday, March 2, from 710 km. This detail, from a much larger NASA Terra satellite image, was created by hydrologist Fred Baechler. The larger image shows northern Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton, and is well worth a look. Unusually for this time of year, the Bras d'Or Lake is largely ice-free aside from St. Patrick's Channel and the basins between Orangedale and Malagawatch. Lake Ainsley, Loch Lomand, Lake Uist, St. Ann's Harbour, Aspy Bay, South Harbour, and the Mira remain ice-covered. There's not much snow on Cape Breton, even less on the...

The template for rolling out the Glaze report showed every sign of a government determined to wrest control of education policy from the union that has dominated it for 50 years: Release the report. Announce its acceptance. Call an early legislative session to ram it through. Even the predictable union hullabaloo that followed felt oddly unthreatening. Premier Stephen McNeil had faced down the NSTU on bread-and-butter issues during the contract fight; surely he could hold firm on mere administrative reforms. It was damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. Then McNeil blinked. [caption id="attachment_16963" align="alignright" width="500"] And the winner is...