Scotian Materials + Integrity

Please peruse our site, as many of the sections show a lack of integrity on the part of Scotian Materials and Rob MacPherson. For instance, we read Scotian Materials’ Consultant’s analysis of property value impacts on nearby homes, and we critiqued it here.

Northern Construction and tax offences.

We are not impressed by the name Northern Construction any more than Scotian Materials; we are particularly unimpressed that Northern Construction and one of the family owners were convicted of tax offences which resulted from creating false receipts in the construction business. Daniel Bélanger plead guilty to 12 of the total 37 counts and was sentenced to pay $78,526.04. His charges related to the payroll tax fraud portion of the charges. Other charges related to HST and Corporate Tax. The fine was paid in full the day it was ordered. This case also notes the owners didn’t show up for the hearing that was held in Quebec, and that they had opened a business number in Quebec but were never awarded any contracts.

Rob MacPherson. P3 Consultant.

Rob MacPherson at Scotian Materials told radio host Rick Howe that he wouldn’t know what goes on at the Premier’s office. We doubt that very much. We found a picture of Rob MacPherson with the New Brunswick Premier-at-the-time Shawn Graham. Why are they together? Oh, they worked on a little project together… Rob MacPherson has experience in P3 schools and this is a school in Shawn Graham’s hometown, at a P3 school named after Shawn Graham’s grandmother. Robert MacPherson was president of Scotia Learning Centres, and they were “the preferred proponent for the construction of these important new facilities in Moncton and Rexton,” according to the NB Minister of Supply and Services.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.22.30 AMInterestingly enough, the NB auditor general blasted the project that saw this school and another one built using the P3 model, saying not only did the government say they saved money when that was untrue, but that the government spent $1.7 million more than it would have using the traditional model of payment.

According to the Scotia Learning Centres website, they “own and operate 13 Learning Centres which were designed, and built through the “Public-Private Partnership” process… Scotia Learning Centres worked hard to prove the concept of “Public-Private Partnership” as an effective method to provide positive, creative and exciting solutions to issues facing our Province, our school boards and our communities.”

Contrast that with Tim Bousquet’s quote, “Even more worrying is that the contracts are so mismanaged that children are at risk… P3 school employees were hired without child abuse or criminal registry checks, and did not have required CPR and first aid certification.”

In a Coast article Tim Bousquet wrote in 2010 that discussed auditor Jacques Lapointe’s report, Bousquet stated that in “his audit of $830 million in public-private partnership school arrangements entered into in 1998 and 1999… Lapointe suggests that taxpayers are losing as much as $52 million in value through the contracts, which went to three companies owned by a collection of politically connected developers: Ashford Investments, Nova Learning and Scotia Learning. That’s 723 times as much as was misspent by MLAs.”

“As for the media, they should now put 723 times the time and resources they’ve put into the MLA expense story into investigating the P3 story.”

Six years after this article by Tim Bousquet, we couldn’t agree more that these P3 developers need to be investigated. And that includes Scotian Materials, who by Rob MacPherson’s own admission, is interested in P3 highway contracts. The bigger problem with P3 is that it invites corruption. The largest P3 infrastructure corruption and money laundering case in the world was investigated by the Charbonneau Commission. The study revealed $100,000 fundraising goals for Liberal ministers, often demanded from the construction industry, according to the media. It appears that 43 charges have been laid against 7 people so far. According to the Montreal Gazette, one way election contributions were made from companies was under the guise of being from individuals. “Employees of private companies (and their family members) handed over personal cheques to political parties at the municipal and provincial level, and were then reimbursed by their employers through the payoll, cash or bonuses.”

Hmmmm. Makes you wonder about the case we discussed above, with Northern Construction and payroll tax fraud…

Check out Rob MacPherson’s other website, where he fully admits “acting as the liaison with senior Government officials on P3 projects.”

Rob MacPherson Scotian Materials

Liberals Sent to Community Meeting.

No political interference? No interest by the premier? Really?

Why, then, WHY, would the Liberal party send someone to one of our community meetings to report back directly to the Premier’s Office on what was said?

The Premier stood in the Legislature on Friday May 6, 2016 and said, in reference to the proposed Scotian Materials’ Fall River Quarry, “at no time, since being the Premier or before, was I involved in that quarry.”

Rob MacPherson of Scotian Materials has three times recently reported to the media that there was no political interference.

Let’s think logically, folks.

You’re the premier of a province.
There are 357 communities in that province (in addition to 27 towns, 22 villages, and 3 municipalities, according to wiki).
There are thousands of quarries in that province.
There are multiple groups protesting decisions you’ve made.

You send one of your people to a community meeting to report back on what appears to be a very specific portion of that meeting, and you have them send it to a non-government email address of someone working closely with you in your office.

WHY. If you’re the premier, and there’s no political interference, WHY would you be interested in keeping tabs on our community meeting? If you’re the premier, what possible logical explanation is there for sending a staff member to a community meeting in one of the 357 communities in your province and to have them report back to you? What, you’re concerned? If you were truly interested in the issue and were concerned for our well being, would you only receive a report of a specific PART of the meeting, and would you THEN stand in the legislature and claiming no involvement?

AND why does the quarry operator stand up on your behalf and reiterate to any who will listen that there is no political interference?

Have a look yourself, folks, the video is available on the Nova Scotia Legislature website under May 6 at around 5:30:…

“I thank the honourable member for the opportunity to clarify that misinformation that has been floating around, an improper allegation that somehow, that letter which was dated long before I became Premier, is effected when I was the Premier of this province…. I want to tell her again at no time, since being the Premier or before, was I involved in that quarry. The reality of it is, the honourable member who represents that riding has continued to stand with his community, and continues to make sure that he’s representing the community’s interest across this province.”

Kind of reminds us of this:

“I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.”

(And if you’re from the media or the Liberal party, why yes, we do have more to say about this, and yes, we do have evidence.)

OPEN HOUSE not so open.

On January 20, 2016, Scotian Materials held an information session in order to fulfil the requirement to include public consultation in the Fall River Quarry Application. Three business cards collected from this event are below, the relevance of which will be explained:

Scotian Materials Robert MacPherson

MSDS Consulting. A man, purported to be answering questions about blasting, displayed the third business card on the table nearest him. This card identified him as Paul Caza, of MSDS (Maritime Safety Development Systems) Consulting. We think Rob MacPherson of Scotian Materials was intending to show that third-party “experts,” who because they operate independently are more objective, could show the project did not pose the negative risks claimed by the public. In this case, Mr. Caza was likely supposed to address the safety concerns about blasting. Not only could Mr. Caza not answer questions about whether the highway scales would need to be re-calibrated, and had difficulty answering direct questions in general, but it appears the information on his business card is fraudulent, and this is likely yet another instance of misleading information given by Scotian Materials. The indicators that this “MSDS Consulting” business was operating illegally at the public consultation are:

  • Maritime Safety Development Systems Consulting is not registered with Nova Scotia Joint Stocks or Industry Canada
  • MSDS Consulting Inc (Registry ID 3284246 ), directed by/ president Paul Pierre Caza, was revoked for non-payment on 04 December 2015
  • MSDS Consulting Inc (Registry ID 3138791), with partner named as Paul Pierre Caza was dissolved on 03 October 2014
  • 2 Bluewater Road, suite 213, the address on the business card and on third party listings for MSDS Consulting, appears to be occupied by Econo Express Courier
  • the website domain, the website address provided on the business card, is available for purchase and currently has no website presence (searched Jan 25, 2016 on, and, and there is no indication it has ever been used
  • one of the few [free, third-party listings] traces of MSDS Consulting in Canada on the internet is a free listing at and it is listed as “defunct”
  • the phone number on the free listings pages (902-821-2320) links back to Paul Caza in Tantallon NS and is thus likely his residential phone number

In addition to this discovery, which causes concern about the validity of any information this consultant may have provided to Scotian Materials or to the public, there is another reason to be concerned about using Mr. Caza’s advice on blasting safely in general. Open source media articles reported that Paul Caza was Dyno Nobel’s supervisor when the company pleaded guilty, in April of 2005, to violating the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act. Dino Nobel was fined $50,000 for an explosion from blasting that sent boulders crashing through the Parkland Arms Apartments in Clayton Park in Halifax in 2003 (retrieved from and These articles cite Mr. Caza as stating small bore holes would be used following the incident. Mr. Caza stated to a member of the Stop the Fall River Quarry community group that in order to prevent cracks in foundations in densely populated areas, small drill bore holes and less explosives are used. The member asked Mr. Caza if those measures would be taken at the proposed quarry site and his response was an emphatic, “No.” It’s an industrial site, that would be crazy, is essentially what his thoughts were.

Contrast that to Rob MacPherson stating to CTV news on February 5, 2016, just 2.5 weeks later that urban style blasting such as that used in New York City could be used.

“There’s blasting that’s designed for areas that are… like in downtown New York,” he said on camera.

Really, Rob MacPherson, really? Earlier that day a crane collapsed in New York city, killing one person. Poor choice of words. And just one example of misleading statements fed to the public when Scotian Materials has no intention whatsoever to follow through on the suggestion.

Sure, urban style blasting exists.

So does our expert’s analysis which shows Scotian Materials intends to use the furthest thing from it.

Watch for yourself at 1:33, look for the telling smile right after he says New York:

Golder Associates. The main consultant used by Scotian Materials in their quarry applications in Goffs / Fall River Nova Scotian. We looked into them too. Check out what we found on their website. They advertise working for an anonymous aggregate producer, a “confidential” mining client, for whom they did “Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, M&A and Due Diligence Consulting.” It’s small print so we’ll quote what’s important here: “Assignment. In much of Canada, the occasionally difficult relationship between the public and the aggregate industry…. has influenced pit operations. The need to meet tighter regulations, developed to protect human health and the natural environment, has made valuations of aggregate resources more complex…. Understanding the timelines.. helps inform and, in some cases, direct the client’s cash flow calculations.”

Hmmmm…. understanding more of the background certainly brings more meaning to these words. Time is important. Timelines are important. Cash flow is important. Valuations are complex… Because. The public is difficult. Regulations are tight.

Scotian Materials Scotian Materials

Scotian Materials. Last but not least, Scotian Materials. On the way out the door from the anger-inducing open house, full of people who wouldn’t answer a question directly and served only to waste our time, a member thought to ask “Tina” where she worked. Either too honest or too caught off guard, she answered New Brunswick. But, she added, she worked for Scotian Materials. Sure you do, Tina. On their payroll maybe. So who, Tina, actually works in the Burnside office? Oh just Rob and one other guy. Really, Tina? Is that why when one of the residents dropped by with documents no one was home? Perhaps Rob MacPherson is too busy with his other consulting- er- I mean Presidency- jobs to sit for too long at the Scotian Materials “head office.”

Land Swap – Fall River / Tantallon.

There was a land swap involving Fall River and Tantallon. The Nova Scotia government traded swamp land for aggregate-rich land and in addition gave Scotian Materials 24 hectares of aggregate rich land in Tantallon and an exclusive right-of-way (so that trucks could leave the quarry legally). The property in Fall River is assessed at $64,600 (AAN 02754932). The Tantallon properties are valued at $1,700 (1/2 of AAN 04690176) and $37,200 (double the value prior to the swap) (AAN 04690176). The total value of these properties given up by Scotian Materials is $103,500. The province made this deal early in January 2016, but it was not publicized until February 19, and the Minister of Natural Resources falsely claimed the Province was over $200,000 richer in land holdings (impossible when the value is less than that). The property given to Scotian Materials remains unvalued on the Crown Corporation’s website. This was done quietly and without announcement or public consultation (these are part of the lands purchased through the Bowater Mersey buyout). Both MLA’s for the areas claimed not to know prior to the public announcement, which occurred approximately a month after the agreement. MLA Bill Horne and Councillor Barry Dalrymple maintain that an alternate and appropriate parcel of land was offered to Scotian Materials in exchange for the Goffs site, approximately 6-10km away.

A recent article in the Masthead News about the proposed Tantallon / Tote Rd. asphalt plant and application for by-law amendment by Scotian Materials notes that, “In 2012 the Dexter government purchased the surrounding crown lands with the agreement that they would remain in their pristine state and allow for recreational uses. The access that Scotian Materials proposes is through these Crown lands and is inconsistent with that agreement and present recreational uses.”

Pristine state. Crown lands. Recreational use.

Asphalt plant. Scotian Materials. Special treatment.…/Issues/…/May_25_2016.pdf

Beyond the Open House.

Lack of benefit to Nova Scotians. Scotian Materials argues they will bring employment. “Scotian Materials” looks to us like a shell company designed to look like it’s serving Nova Scotia, but it’s owned by Northern Construction out of New Brunswick and they will likely employ New Brunswick workers (note in the paragraph above for a case in point). Scotian Materials has stated they may employ a dozen employees seasonally. Existing quarries in area running at 50 – 60% Capacity. An additional quarry will simply spread the jobs out amongst all the quarries. Smaller quarries will be forced out, removing further competition in HRM bidding, less jobs.

Lack of necessity. The proponent argues we need nearby aggregate sources. There are 5 quarries within a 25km zone of the site and none of them have exhausted their supply.

A climbing legal bill. Scotian Materials has been trying to get a permit since December 2011. How much have they spent in and out of court on lawyer and consultant fees to this point? How much sense does this make for one 3.9ha quarry?

Lack of Coordination. The Province and HRM are literally fighting this issue out in court. Legal counsel for competitors also agree that the Appeals Court decision does NOT mean that the zoning and charter are meaningless.

Document ‘Inconsistencies’ and Misleading Statements. We have compared documents, media reports, and emails to determine what details were used when. Then we have fact checked everything we could. For example, Rob MacPherson says Scotian Materials did not excavate the wetlands. Well, Scotian Materials drove through the wetlands with an excavator or a bulldozer, or they hired someone to do so, and although they may not have dug a huge hole, they had the blade down to remove trees, stumps and vegetation, and left long deep ruts. So really, who is correct here? The guy who chooses his words carefully and circles around everything? This sounds just like the blasting issue… sure they could use urban style blasting, but they have absolutely no intentions of doing so. Why would they? It would eat up all profit. Another one: the Office of Aboriginal Affairs was notified of the plan, but in the letter it states the site “contains no water courses or wetland.” While this may technically be correct about the quarry footprint, it is misleading about details that would be particularly important to the intended reader. In direct contrast, Scotian Materials’ consultant wrote a letter that stated “3 wetlands potentially affected,” and then described a monitoring plan. Scotian Materials and Rob MacPherson choose what they want to say and when, and we have found it always benefits them, and not the interest of the public or the province. Have a look below and see if you don’t agree:

Scotian Materials says We have found
Who is proposing the quarry? 2011 – Northern Construction Enterprises applies to NSE

2014 – We are told Northern sold land to Scotian Materials, a new Nova Scotia based corporation

May 2014 – Robert MacPherson requested a meeting with residents group, told them it was a new company and it is a Nova Scotia Company

2014 – 2015 – MacPherson continues to tell residents and media it is a new Nova Scotia based company

2015 – MacPherson tells media it is his company

2016 – MacPherson submits affidavit to the Supreme Court of NS regarding his appeal of a permit revocation and states Scotian Materials Inc is Northern Construction and is Majority owned by the Belanger Family members in Grand Falls, NB.

2016 – 100% of Scotian Materials is owned by Belanger Family members (NS Supreme Court)

2011 – Northern Construction Enterprises is a New Brunswick Company based in Grand Falls, NB

The proponent told members of the public and government departments, Minister, etc the company was, new, Nova Scotia based and that he was an owner.

March 2014 – NS Registry of Joint Stocks confirms, Northern Construction changed their name to Scotian Materials in Nova Scotia

Robert MacPherson is a consultant who has been working with Northern Construction since at least October 2013 (He was involved in the East River Proposal and was in attendance at their community meeting)

2015 – Registry of Joint Stocks continues to list Belanger family members in Grand Falls, NB in the director listings.

2016 – Proponent finds it necessary to admit Scotian Materials Inc is Northern Construction Inc with a new name. He also admits it is majority owned by the Belanger Family in NB.

public consultation December 2011 – a small ad was placed in the Chronicle Herald a few days before Christmas advising of the proposed quarry, giving a date for an open house and requesting public comments

July 2012 – A public bulletin was sent to every home in Miller Lake West.

September 2015 – Proponent claims public consultation occurred and refers to notice and open house in December 2011.

December 2015 – Scotian Materials places an ad requesting public comments on proposed quarry.

January 2016 – Scotian Materials holds an open house for the public.

December 2011 – One person saw the ad once and advised a few key members of the community.

January 2012 – Announcements had circulated enough that homeowners associations and community groups were reaching out to residents, a public meeting was held and letters were sent in to the Minister of Environment. Some with 2 days notice.

July 2012 – No resident in Miller Lake West subdivision ever saw a brochure

September 2015 – Residents never received responses to their letters in 2012, new homes are built since 2012, new issues have arisen since 2012

December 2015 to January 2016 – Area residents submit their letters of concern

January 2016 – Members of the public attended the open house, but really were only able to go during one evening session due to work schedules and a snow storm.

size under 4 hectares more than 8 hectares (quarry footprint is 3.9ha but the plant/extractive facilities and roadway were legally determined to require inclusion and thus create an 8.4ha footprint)
Anticipated volume (2011) 1 million metric tonnes/year this volume would require 24-32 hectares without going below the water table
Anticipated volume (2016) 200,000 tonnes/year with limited periods of increased production possible based on the above figure, this volume is still above what the 3.99ha quarry can provide above the water table
Distance from pipeline 190m (letter to resident signed by proponent January 25, 2016) 201m
Distance from nearest residence 1.5km to “closest domestic well” (letter to resident January 25 2016) 1.270km to property line
Distance to Waverley Game Sanctuary 600m 1032m
Distance from highway 102 300m, 315m 317m
Distance from airport “4+/-km” (Scotian website, for public)

(Golder report, private, says 3km)

3.547km from edge of quarry to edge of runway
Height of fly rock 84m (2015 application)

17.1m (Chronicle Herald, Feb 5, 2016)

350m (Dr. Favreau’s report)
Location of extractive facility Extractive facilities will be located in the 3.99ha footprint (Chronicle Herald, Feb 5, 2016) Not only did we show that including the extractive facility creates an 8.4 ha quarry, we also question the location; illustration currently on website shows extractive facility located at Maritime Fence facilities on Perrin Dr). Furthermore it is approximately .5km closer to the runway, and 200m closer to the centre of the approach surface for runway 05. The extractive facility will create a dust plume, the height of which cannot be determined, which will interfere with aviation navigation.
Distance from highway scales 911.8m

(proponent stated in email Sept 9, 2015 to NSE)

“no structures within 800m” (from website and signed letter to resident)

Vibrations caused within the Pit and Quarry guidelines 8x the maximum allowable limit as per the Pit and Quarry guidelines
Anticipated volume per blast (2016) 50,000 tonnes our expert suggests

more than 50,000 tonnes is likely due to being more economical

Number of blasts 1,000,000 tonnes (2011 application) and 30-40 blasts per year or more (stated by proponent) this is equivalent to 25,000-33,000 tonnes per blast Based on the more likely figure of 50,000 tonnes per blast or more:

125,000 tonnes (June 2015 application) = 3 blasts per year or more

200,000 tonnes (May 2015) = 4 blasts per year or more

Letter to resident (Jan 2016) = 3 initial blasts then 4 times per year

It appears the proponent plans to produce more aggregate than the footprint will allow above the water table.

Structures within 800m? No. As of January 28, 2016 their website and their 2015 application shows no structures other than Maritime Fence within 800m. The application uses the word “dwelling” instead of structures. A signed letter from the proponent in January 2016 to a resident states “Other than buildings owned by the Proponent (i.e.: Maritime Fence), there are no structures within 800m of the Project.” The pipeline, highway scales.
Setback required from pipeline 30m

(2015 application, 2016 public consultation)

800m or more

(30m is the setback required for blasting for construction purposes, not quarrying)

The dust control method it’s more than a theoretical model they can’t name a quarry where this method is used and they don’t use it at any of their operating quarries. They have not provided proof of the efficacy of the method.
Quarrying below the water table no current plan to do so; not “expected” to do so because of the restrictions in the land owned by the proponent, mostly due to waterways, and the fact that a 10 year approval was given at 200,000 tonnes/year it appears very likely that quarrying below the water table will the only way to obtain the amount of aggregate they anticipate quarrying, and the only way to obtain maximum profit.
Whose approval is needed considering the proximity to the airport? NavCanada. However, their 2015 application stated clearly that no outside approvals were submitted. The NavCan letter was dated (Sept 24, 2015) after the date of the permit issuance on September 15, 2015. Correspondence from NSE to NavCanada requests the application be kept within their government departments. NavCanada, HIAA for aircraft safety and land use planning.
What other approvals could be required? Nova Scotia Environment Letters of Consent from TIR and Maritimes Northeast or the owners of the Pipeline.

Wetland Alteration and/or Environmental Assessment

Is there a blasting plan? On May 29, 2015, a blasting plan submitted with the application and in the application it is referred to as what will be “typical.”

On January 5, 2016, the proponent’s lawyer advised they do not have a blasting plan.

At the January 2016 public consultation, blasting “expert” Paul Caza stated urban blasting methods would not be used.

On February 5, 2016, the proponent stated they could do New York city style blasts (no promises made).

FOIPOP of January 2016 application resulted in our knowledge of a new blast plan and blasting contractor.

When the blasting plan changes, it not only affects our expert’s calculations but also may affect the decisions of Environment, NavCanada, First Nations consultation, public consultation
Public consultation? Scotian Materials submitted a brochure with their 2015 application. We are not aware of this brochure having been delivered. No residents surveyed have received the brochure.

There were 2 open houses held in January 2016.

Location of wetlands? Application says wet areas are outside of 30 metre buffer, no water ways.

Applicants’ expert report details studies, observations and plans for waterways and wetlands located on property.

Several drawings provided by Scotian Materials  in applications and online, show numerous versions of the shape and location of wetlands. Two waterways run through the property. New quarry plot is surrounded by water and wetlands. Required 30m buffers have not been maintained.
Sensitive area? Reports submitted with the application by Scotian Materials’ consultant, Golder Associates, identify that the site is in close proximity to wetlands, 600m from the Waverley Game Sanctuary, and that it is within the Shubenacadie Watershed area. The application indicates Scotian Materials did not identify the land as being in a sensitive area. NSE accepted this.
Number of jobs created Applications state 8-12 seasonal jobs.

Global News February 5, 2016 Rob MacPherson of Scotian Materials stated, “It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect within a year to two years to have 30-40 permanent full time local jobs.”

Estimate of $35,000/year salary + 11% owner’s expenses for 30-40 employees = $1,165,000 – 1,554,000 (payroll expenses only)

Estimated gross sales based on 200,000 tonnes, $250 per tandem load of 16 tons = $3,125,000.

30 employees

Gross profit $1,959,500. But, will need to pay legal fees, building, heavy equipment, blasters, consultants, insurance, fuel, safety supplies, environmental protection supplies, blasting & certified blasters, and trucking. If they disturb the wetlands or water, they will owe compensation that has been promised.

Based on “New York City”/urban blasts, at 4 blasts per year, which may yield 20,000 tonnes per blast for a total of 80,000 tonnes. This would create $1,250,000 in gross revenue, which is not enough to cover much beyond payroll expenses of 30 employees.

Shape of footprint No shape was depicted on the original documents submitted to NSE in 2011. The quarry was portrayed as an asterisk “*”.

5-sided polygon extending westward toward Highway 102 (2011 application)

5-sided polygon extending westward toward Highway 102 (2015 application)

7-sided polygon with the longest side parallel to Highway 102 and extending towards Miller Lake West (2015 measurements stayed the same but footprint shape changed at some point before the permit was issued)

The measurements given by Scotian Materials from various landmarks make the footprint impossible and we suspect they are intended to create the appearance of compliance with various regulations. In order to achieve acceptable distances from one landmark, Scotian Materials nullified other measurements in their plotting.
Location of quarry With every change in shape, the distances changed from various landmarks. Distances were not changed, in fact coordinates stayed the same until the third application.


Member of the Nova Scotia Road Builder’s Association Robert MacPherson. Scotian Materials Limited. Rob MacPherson. Contact. Address: 100 Venture Run, Suite 103. Dartmouth. #scotianmaterials Halifax quarry quarries aggregate gravel #noFRquarry  Scotian Materials Ltd.