Nominated for four Atlantic Journalism Awards

I’m delighted to report I’ve been nominated for four Atlantic Journalism Awards for my writing in 2014: Best Magazine Article, Best Profile, Best Feature Article and Best Commentary. All of the finalist pieces appeared in St. John’s-based Atlantic Business Magazine, which itself earned seven nominations. You can read the complete list of the nominees here. The awards will be presented at a dinner in Halifax on May 9, 2015.

For those who may be interested, here are links to each of my nominated articles:

Hard… and soft as Harry  Steele 


Photo by Marvin Moore

Atlantic Magazine: Best Profile Article

Harry Steele is happy to chat, he tells me (“let’s have coffee”), but he isn’t particularly interested these days in pontificating about the state of the world, business or otherwise, or being interviewed for publication yet again.

He’s now in the fullness of his 86th year—“I celebrated my 85th in June”—and he’s no longer deeply involved in the day-to-day business of Newfoundland Capital Corporation, the holding company he formed back in 1980 and which has since mutated and morphed into various, almost always successful corporate investment personas: airlines, oil and gas, trucking, coastal shipping, container terminals, newspapers and, now, radio broadcasting.

The reality, Harry Steele is quick to point out, is that he hasn’t been the president of NCC for more than 20 years. He stepped down as the company’s CEO 12 years ago and now, though he is still the nonexecutive (the emphasis is his) chair of the Board, he is more than happy and confident to leave the decisionmaking, and the talking, to his son Rob.

“You should talk to younger people,” he tells me. “I don’t have anything new to say.” (More)

 Spilled Secrets: The Richard Oland Murder Mystery 


Atlantic Magazine Article of the Year

Maureen Adamson showed up for work as usual that sunny summer morning. She inserted her key in the street-level door at 52 Canterbury Street, a refurbished 19th century, three storey, red-brick office building in the heart of historic downtown Saint John, New Brunswick. The door was unlocked. Curious. It was always kept locked.

The door led up a set of stairs to the second floor offices of Far End Corporation, the investment firm owned by Adamson’s boss, Richard Oland, for whom she’d worked as a secretary for 30 years. When she reached the entrance to the offices, she discovered that that door, which was also always kept locked, was ajar too.

Adamson pushed it open, glanced around, saw what she saw and immediately bolted back down the stairs and into a print shop located on the ground floor. (More)


Photo by Laura Hubbard

Feature Reporting: Print


It wasn’t his fault. Rob Thompson was just a bit player in the 1992 Westray mine disaster that took 26 lives. But today, nearly 22 years later, his own small role in that tragedy, not to forget the fact he never got to testify about what he knew in any public inquiry or court case, as well as the reality that what he remembers differs in small, but he believes crucial, ways from some of what others testified to, continues to haunt him 

At the time, they were just one more set of numbers, one more set of test results. Rob Thompson, 26, was a junior lab technologist for SGS, a Swiss-based independent contractor hired to provide onsite, laboratory services for the operator of the new Westray coal mine in Plymouth, N.S. (More)

What would you do to un-Harper Canada

Commentary: Any Medium

For as long as I can remember, Canadian politics has been a pleasantly diverting if meaningless game of rascal tossing. We pick one set of rascals to govern us and toss the last set out. After a while, those no-longer new rascals run amok. Can you say sponsorship scandal? Brian Mulroney? Need we say more? So we kick those rascals out, and let the old lot back for another kick at the governing can. Occasionally, we say a pox on both their sorry houses and elect enough neither-of-the-aboves to make things interesting without fundamentally altering anything significant.

When one rascal party replaces the other, the new government rarely revisits legislation the previous group passed. That’s because, until recently, all parties shared a traditional, transcendent understanding about who we are as a people and what we are as a country. (More)

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