You showed them, Mr. Mayor

Dear Mayor Kelly,

Congratulations. You showed those dangerous… democrats.

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Who knows what calamities might have befallen our fair city if those peaceful hooligans had been allowed to stage yet another one of their interminable, speak-and-repeat, consensus-decision-making general assemblies on our sacredly public Grand Parade (which, until recently, served as a sacredly private parking lot for you and your fellow councillors, but, hey, that’s another story…)?

Those hippies could certainly take a lesson from you on doing democratic decision making right. In-camera, mumble, mumble, secret handshake, consensus achieved, call in the cops, Chinese wall, operational decision, nothing to do with us, move along, move along…


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And that bargaining in bad faith thing you did with them? Inviting them to camp out at the Common to get them away from your office and then, zap! No Victoria Park, no Grand Parade, no Common. Nyah, nyah…

Bylaw enforcement time.


I mean, really, if they wanted to flout the law, they should have have done it in style—shredding the city charter and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars like you did with that Common concert cash thingee. Now, that was flair!

The fact is, if you’re going to inconvenience the public, do it right. Forcing people to wander among tents and tenters to get where they’re going? No imagination. Close down the heart of the Common for a couple of weeks to put up a sound stage for some rockers no one pays to see. Now that takes guts.

So what if their tent city was less violent than the Palace on an average Friday night? That’s not the point. The point is you showed them the point.

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Personally, I thought the police—dozens and dozens of them, with their South Park Street-filling, light-flashing, murder-and-mayhem paddy wagons, patrol cars, motorcycles and tent-toting trailers and vans—showed remarkable restraint for having had to brave the elements on statutory holiday overtime pay. What is that? Double time? Double time and a half?

I agree. We have to be willing to pay a price for democracy, and it was vital the dismantling be done on Remembrance Day in the torrential rain and wind and mud so the public would be able to see for themselves exactly what those hippies had done to our parks. They’ll remember.

Mr. Mayor, you showed them what your democracy looks like. Congratulations!

November 14, 2011


  1. i still can’t believe we elected such a wishy-washy coward who has to hide behind a lawyer everytime he screws up.


  2. Nicely put…thank you for this piece…


  3. It must be fun to make up facts like No. 31 David Cullen does. I’m not a big Kelly supporter but at least get things right. When exactly did the Mayor agree to let the protesters move to Victoria Park and agree to let them move back to the Parade square? Neither of these things ever happened and I’d like to see quotes or evidence that show he did.

    Also wrong is that Kelly had the police make the eviction on Nov. 14. Anyone that actually listens would know the chief of police made that call and the reasons he’s given for doing it actually make sense if you listen to them. I love how people keep talking as if the Mayor controls the police department.

    Apparently it’s better just to make up your own facts to push you own agenda.


  4. Well most people are on one side or the other…
    Well I’m in the middle You’s are the 99%.. you are the few that think no one cares, you don’t speak for me or many other people in our shoe and should be charged with fraud, and causing a public disturbance.Anne Frank said it best:

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

    The police and city official’s that aloud this occupy movement to tent against the bi-laws should be impeach for fail to uphold the office that they sit in, and they all should share the cost past on to tax payer. Occupiers broke the laws, city counsel let them get away with it (they couldn’t guess what way would get them more votes) and the the police well we need a different system in total. Do they work for the city counsel or for the city and the people in it? Do they have laws they are payed to enforce or are they free to do want they want( which it seems in most cases). If nothing is done to up hold justice and all party are held accountable it will prove how far off we are from where we claim we are.

    And if that is the case as a military officer’s son, I believe it is time clean house with a military strike against the police and all level of government as they would do to other, and someone got to educate the protesters on how the world has been made a better place and how the could spend their time truly making the process faster.
    We came along way but there must be something in the water because people seem to be all screwed up.
    Alex Jardine


  5. The author seems to ignore the fact that the palace is a private, and indoor, venue. Comparing it to a special interest group taking over a public space is just foolish. Nobody has the right to take over a public area day and night. If you want to hold your protest, hold it during the operating hours of the park. The fact is that these protesters broke a by-law by camping out overnight. If they hadn’t done that then Peter Kelly would have NO reason to evict; and if he did evict people without a legal reason, the occupiers would have a lot more support right now.


  6. I so agree Stephen Timber….well said. I do believe Peter Kelly should step down – or we – the public – should help him down….shame shame Peter Kelly…know you are not approved of!


  7. Brilliant as usual Stephen.

    I wrote to the Mayor this week expressing my disappointment. I’m amazed that folk who are responding to the protest and removal are forgetting the whole purpose of the protest. Remember the concept of the 99%? Remember how the uber wealthy have practically brought the global economic system to its knees while collecting million dollar bonuses? Remember that governments were complicit by deregulating their activities and then bailing them out at the expense of common citizens while the social safety net is being dismantled and common folk go bankrupt in record number and swell the ranks of the homeless? I wonder if the Mayor has an opinion on that?


  8. The comparison of the Occupy movement and the occupation of the commons by the concert is a very sharp one. Had the Occupiers been afforded the assistance that the concert promoters were given (at public expense without public consent or knowledge) and had a forum for expression been encouraged to take another shape, we might have been seen as leaders of democracy. I am afraid that the situation has now brought further divisiveness and we look silly at best.

    Kathryn Belzer


  9. MERCI BEAUCOUP ! It is a good info for make them think before doing things …


  10. There are a lot of wrong facts listed in this article and you can clearly see it is written in bias towards the Occupy Halifax group. The biggest fact I see missing here is that the police came by in the morning and told everyone they had to leave. Hours later they came back and a majourity of the people had taken down their tents and removed their belongs.

    I work security for the hospital beside the park and walk through that park every day on my way to and from work. The very first morning after Occupy Halifax had moved I was booed and hissed at while walking to work in full uniform. I saw the filth grow each day first hand, garbage on the path ways and empty NSLC bottles and bags thrown about. I witnessed public urination, underage kids passing around a bottle of wine and a couple guys on a bench rolling joints.

    I agree people have a right to free speech and to protest but they still must be respectful of public places and share it with others. Other Occupy groups police themselves and are aware that they can only do what they are doing because they hold the support of the public. Once Occupy Halifax lost that it, was easy for them to be removed. You may be part of the 99% but the whole point was to educate and rally us all together, not to get drunk in the park and blame the government for upholding the law.

    The Occupy Halifax group was given leniency on some by-laws and they abused this. They still have every right to show up at Grand Parade or Victoria Park every day and protest. The fact that they choose not to says something about the individuals commitment to the cause.


  11. And I’ve been making fun of Rob Ford!!!


  12. Stephen, don’t you think you’re being bit hard on the poor guy. Think how he must feel, knowing everyone thinks he’s so foolish, or worse. I hope you will write a piece about how we should all care for even the most dim-witted politicians. They deserve better from us, eh?


  13. What you fail to mention is the vulgarity performed by some of the protestors. Maybe you would like to clean the shit and piss off the local buildings left by the protestors and the garbage left behind. One night all they did is party, what kind of statement is that. Mind you there were a few who were legitimate in their cause, but most looked like is was just a place to hang out and party.
    If you are such an advocate of these protests then maybe you should let them camp on your front lawn as previously mentioned above. It’s easy to say they were not in the wrong, but next time try living in the area and see how you feel.
    We should all have the right to protest, but how you do so will determine how effective the end result is.


  14. all of you are crazy, it was just an order to move the tents, because thats ILLEGAL! so when you do something as a group that is illegal and get away with it for a bit, sometime it gets back to you and you get evicted, protests are all good and peter kelly stands by that, just cant do illegal things. peace


  15. The protesters were breaking a by-law, and should have been ousted long before Nov. 11th. The only thing the mayor did wrong was allowing the protesters to stay as long as they did. I thought it was shameful that the veterans had to negotiate to use the space.


  16. This is so great! Thank you for bringing up so many strong points and expressing so well the sentiments many of us feel. The city’s eviction of Occupy participants has left a dark cloud over democracy in Halifax. (Was it worth it, Mayor Kelly?)


  17. What an absolute piece of crap. Way to take these bums, who litter our sidewalks during the day begging for money and make them sound like pretty little angels who Peter Kelly has set his sights on to crush them.

    Why don’t you big talkers on here offer up your front and back yard so these individuals can set up their tents, drink, smoke & urinate.

    Also, maybe if they didn’t decide to protest to interrupt a tribute to our fallen hero’s, but they of course wanted that so they could get front page news and have people like Stephen write an article to make bums who want to live for free camping in our parks sound like their protest is more important than the Remembrance day service.

    Way to go Peter Kelly, for nipping this in the bud….if you give an inch, they’ll take a yard and next year it will be a protest because people got kicked out of Public Gardens & Point Pleasant park. Halifax needs to create a few laws to get rid of these bums & beggars.


  18. Incorrect, S.H.. The protesters DID move their camp out of respect for veterans. They were originally stationed at The Grand Parade and moved, of their own volition, to Victoria Park. They negotiated, on their own – with vets – to move to the park. Mayor Kelly only got involved later when he realised that vets and protesters were negotiating just fine without him. Kelly then agreed to allow them the use of, first The Commons, and then Victoria Park. He also consented to allowing the protesters to return to The Grand Parade the day after Remembrance Day – then he turned around and had them evicted, and about 15 of them arrested, ON Remembrance Day. Our mayor’s proven himself a duplicitous liar in the past, but he’s really outdone himself this time.

    Also, speaking of tax dollars, why SHOULDN’T the protesters cost the city tax dollars? ALL of us cost our municipalities tax dollars and rightly so. Besides, how much do you think taxpayers had to pay for the dozens of cops sent to evict the protesters on a national holiday? Think about it.


  19. Wow – both hilarious and poignant at once. Shows what having a thin skin and a need to prove who’s the alpha dog can do to somebody who has been in power too long.

    I think the context on this extends back to what triggered the Arab Spring. See your gasoline bill? See your food bill? See your electric bill? For folks in the middle class and above, it’s an inconvenience or a pinch. For the poor – most of the world make $2 a day – it’s starvation. When your kids don’t eat, you have nothing to lose, and it’s what toppled government after government in the Middle East. We’re now seeing it in the West. Greece and Italy were stable until they were not – and then it was on like Donkey Kong. The spread to North America is another reflection of the cultural zeitgeist that the underclass increasingly refuses to fund bonuses for the rich.

    Consider this – The Earth Policy Institute lays out in “Plan B 4.0” a plan to restock oceans, halt desertification, switch from mostly fossil to mostly renewable power and feed, educate and supply health care for all – halting the toll of 25,000 preventable child deaths per day. The cost? A peak cost of $120 Billion per year, and a total cost of 1.4 Trillion. 5 times that have gone from governments (populations of taxpayers) to bank balance sheets since 2009, never to return. 5 sustainable, prosperous and healthy Earths, funded for all eternity, squandered. But at least Bill Gross made some money. That’s what’s triggering the unrest across the globe.

    So locally – should folks have been allowed to continue to live in a visible counter-cultural display instead of being forced to stop? I dunno – but deceit and use of a blunt tool (police) at the same time that folks like you and me were laying wreaths plays sour to my ear. It also ups the ante in the struggle for our mayor to hold on to power. Power should not be high on his list of concerns, IMO – the consent of the governed should be much higher.


  20. Great article. the Mayor and council are now notorious Global jerks! Have they not noticed that Occupy is an international movement representing more than a few local disaffected kids, along with jobless & homeless & mentally unstable people?

    Does not our parochial media get it that Occupy is about much more than $? Even more than about redressing glaring inequities? At root it is about right relationship with our ecosystem which happens to include other people.


  21. So the City comes forward to the so called leaders of ONS and makes the democratic respectful gesture of allowing them to have a peaceful right to assembly. Kelly, offers a place for emcampment and the right to demonstrate @ The Common’s, sighting the tons of foot traffic and accessibility to clean public washrooms. ONS has a general assembly an makes the very bad disrespectful decision to reject that offer sighting mostly how ‘we won’t be the center of attention’. (How come people don’t want to talk about that?) ONS leaders made a dangerous decision with little or no understanding of 20 year old bylaws by risking arrest. The only deceit here falls on ONS by demonstrating the inability of meeting a democratic compromise even some-what have way and by not showing the same respect they received, they got what they deserved.


  22. I would just like to reiterate comment #24 by KMo.
    For anyone who believes Kelly’s actions were appropriate, please research what Occupy NS is actually about.

    I thought this was an interesting piece.

    I hope we shall … crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

    (Thomas Jefferson, 1816)


  23. For a group that did move their protest out of respect for their veterans, who are blamed for costing thousand even though it was not their decision to be evicted when 3 dozen cops would be getting paid double time, and many of whom have quit their jobs to stand up for something they truly believe in, I would like to give my thanks for their continued standing, even after this viscous battle.

    These people should not be discredited for their job, wage, colour, age, hobbies, mental disorders or addictions. These people are people of Canada, and deserve every right under that title. Instead of snickering at their tents and hula hoops, I hope we take a second to read their signs, and understand what they are standing for, even if we don’t agree with it.


  24. I totally agrre with S.H comments…way to go N.S!!
    People need to get a job and get a life!


  25. Great Piece!!!

    To comment # 20, S.H. I ask this… have you done any research on what occupy NS is actually about? It is not about being able to collect a bigger welfare check or do less work for more money.

    The movement is about having companies and governments take responsibility, why should one CEO take in 99% of net profits while 100 workers take home the other 1%? Yes this is a slightly exaggerated example but sadly not too far off from the Global economy where the bulk of the wealth is held by a very small minority.

    The movement is not about putting tax payers hard earned money into the hands of people not working but instead paying top CEO and elite positions less and the average worker a little more… so the very hard working people who probably do the hardest hands on type labor take home a little more to show for it and the people sitting in a desk and schmoozing new clients or partners take home a little less….

    I am in no way affiliated with Occupy NS, but after seeing your comment I took a minute to go to their website, read their working mission statement and understand the situation a little better…..

    For all his Backdoor deals, shady political moves, and scandalless use of public money, trust, and resources SHAME on Peter Kelly!


  26. What a wonderful article Stephen. Congratulations. Now if the occupiers can find a permanent site, we’ll consider if we can get rid of the Mayor and much of the Council.


  27. Perfect. Well done Stephen Kimber!


  28. Personally, I believe the mayor did the right thing.

    There should be a by law in place to stop “protestors” from costing this city tens of thousands of dollars in tax payor dollars.

    If you wont move your protest out of respect for our veterans; i have no sympathy for what happens.

    The only thing the government has done wrong is punish good, hard working individuals by taking our tax dollars and providing benifits for those who choose not to work.

    Putting up signs saying the government is crooked, and rich get richer is just anohter excuse not to hold a job.



  29. Well said Mr Kimber. Beyond the bad faith bargaining and the unnecessary eviction I was angered that this happened on Remembrance Day. I would have hoped that the Mayor of a city with such a large military presence would have a little more respect for the day of remembrance. Perhaps he could have left the news of the day as ‘Nova Scotians remember their veterans’, and not ‘Mayor disrespects day of remembrance’.


  30. Good article. In my opinion, he has definitely acted dishonourably more than once and should lose his position immediately.


  31. The reason Kelly keeps getting elected is the fact that (correct me if I’m wrong) only about 30% of people who could actually did vote in the last municipal election. Congratulations Mr. Kelly. You have our attention. I would not be surprised to see one of the highest voter turnouts in Halifax history come next election. And guess what, Kelly? We won’t be voting for you.


  32. As a frequent user of the Grand Parade area I did not witness a single incident where the protestors impeded any citizen’s right to use of the public space. Indeed the public went about their business in their usual manner, some stopped to talk with the Occupy protestors, and some ate their lunch or just took reflective time on the benches without any interference.

    At the Veterans National Day of Protest on November 5th on the Grand Parade, the Occupy folks cleared room, cleaned up and helped us set up and tear down. One of their organizers spoke to our rally. A few others held a large sign with the word RESPECT behind our podium. They were all cordial, respectful and supportive.

    In his public statements, Mayor Kelly led the citizens of Halifax to believe that an accord had been struck and the Grand Parade would be temporarily vacated for the November 11th services. In good faith the Occupy organizers moved their encampment. That the Mayor chose to act in bad faith and hold an in camera meeting that may very well have contravened the law by not confirming the vote in a public session speaks volumes about the mindset of the Mayor and Council.

    While the Mayor may not have technically lied, he has acted dishonourably, and there is no room in public administration for men and women without honour. Those who cheer the actions of Mayor Kelly would do well to reflect that if he can act in this manner toward a group you disagree with, then he can do it to you. I doubt if you will be cheering quite so loudly then.



    What a disgusting use of power we saw today in Halifax. The removal of the peaceful protesters from Victoria Park was sickening. The mayor of HRM and his stooges (city council, HRM PD) are disgraceful. This man sat in their tents last week with a big smile on his face while behind the scenes, he was secretly planning this raid on a day where we honor our veterans who fought to give these people the right to protest in a civilized manner. These people were not rioters but just wanted to be heard and went about it in a peaceful way. I hope the people of HRM rise up and show this dictactor that we find his actions deplorable. First he covered up his involvement in the concert payoff of last summer and again today showed why he should be removed from office immediately. No kudos to the police or city council for supporting this man.

    In closing, here are the first few lines of a song by Blue Rodeo; one our greatest canadian bands. This was written back when Brian Mulroney was in power and out of control just like Peter Kelly.

    So good at doing what you don’t do, just trying to protect yourself and other fools like you

    So well practiced in your deceit, behind the high walls of stupidity, your endless conceit

    Behind the locked doors, the sleeping dog you beat, I hope I see the day she satisfies her teeth

    What you preach, you preach for others

    Why don’t you practice that first hand?


  34. Well put. The establishment shows it’s lack of interest in freedom and democracy on the Remembrance of men and women who died for it.


  35. Appreciate your rant. Thanks!


  36. Yes, our Mayor, and I suppose our Council and bureaucracy, seem to be casting themselves as irresponsible spectators. But it is fair to hold them accountable in this way.



  37. Great piece, Stephen. Says it all and says it with flair. I like the zip, bam, boom style you applied to the piece. It resonates with the subject.


  38. Nicely done Stephen. Kelly continues to amaze and perplex me. We have to know that he thinks these moves are the correct ones for him to make politically, which means he believes most of the HRM electorate agree with him – and I’m not convinced they don’t. If he’s re-elected, it’s probably time for anyone with a brain and/or ambition for the city, to admit defeat and move somewhere less opposed to heading into a progressive, and prosperous, future.

    We do live in a democracy after all and we get the government we deserve. As a Haligonian, I’m ashamed that Peter Kelly ostensibly represents me to the rest of the country and the world. This city should be a beacon of light, rather than a dark, dingy, backwater defined by its stubborn fear of change of any kind.

    Sad, really…


  39. That about sums it up nicely, thanks for writing this.


  40. Well done!! There’s just something about beautifully written sarcasm that makes me smile on the outside and the inside. SHARING THIS!!!


  41. Brilliant, Stephen. I’m sharing this with everyone I can think of. My only regret, or relief, is that Kelly only is despot in Halifax so I can’t help to throw his ass out come next election. I just wish more media would pick up on his horrid behaviour as executor to that estate that The Coast has been writing about. That shows just what sort of man he is, beyond being a prat of a mayor.


  42. I could not agree with you more! It amazes we how he keeps getting re-elected.


  43. Great article.


  44. Thank you, Mr. Kimber!


  45. What Peter Kelly has done is guarantee that I’ll make a campaign donation to whoever runs against him. I’ve never “liked” him, now I actively “dislike” the lying, sneaky, malicious, duplicitous little jerk (of course, that’s just a personal opinion). Funny that he’d choose to waste his political capital as a reasonable negotiator in such a way…we’d better hope there’s never a bomb threat at city hall, because who’d trust him to negotiate anything now?


  46. Wonderful article and so true. Peter Kelly has to go.


  47. […] EDIT: I’m adding Stephen Kimber’s column from today’s Metro Halifax, as it sums up the frustrated amazement I feel about this whole exercise. […]


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