Comic Relief: Reading ‘The Codfathers’ in 2021

Comic Relief: Reading ‘The Codfathers’ in 2021

June 2, 2021

Had I read Gordon Pitts’ The Codfathers: Lessons from the Atlantic Business Elite when it first came out in 2005, I think it would have annoyed me — it’s just a collection of fawning portraits of wealthy Atlantic Canadian business types. But in 2021, post-financial crisis, mid-plague, as the worldRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

June 4, 2021

Well played, Air Canada Remember back in December, when Cape Bretoners were signing petitions and sending video pleas to the prime minister to bail out the airlines and save our airport? And I warned that we were being played like a 12-string guitar? Well, listen to this music: Air CanadaRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

April 23, 2021

Wrong side of the tracks? I was walking home from the grocery store the other evening and as I passed the site of the former train station on Dodd Street, I remembered a tidbit of information I’d picked up during CBRM council’s special meeting on March 31, the one heldRead More

John Crosbie and the Promise of Oil

John Crosbie and the Promise of Oil

January 22, 2020

“You have driven my husband wild with your book!” This is how Jane Crosbie welcomed me on my first visit to Government House in Saint John’s, Newfoundland in 2012. When my book The Ocean Ranger: Remaking the Promise of Oil came out, the then-Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador roaredRead More

Money vs Money Management Course

Money vs Money Management Course

June 9, 2021

Having written about guaranteed annual income (GAI) many times over the past five years, I was pleased to read Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway’s May 10 opinion piece in the Cape Breton Post about the possibility of introducing such a plan in Canada, but rather taken aback by the bizarreRead More

Time Travel and the Black Death

Time Travel and the Black Death

May 26, 2021

Author’s Note: In this series of columns (see the first one here and the second here) I am using various works of science fiction and fantasy to consider some of the ethical issues generated by our current situation.   As I write this, the weather is warming and the pandemicRead More

Sydney’s Casino at 25: Gambling Addiction

Sydney’s Casino at 25: Gambling Addiction

December 16, 2020

Editor’s Note: Sydney’s casino turns 25 this summer and to mark its quarter-century, Rob Csernyik has been taking an in-depth look at the promises — and realities — of casino gambling in Cape Breton. In Part III, he focuses on the question of addiction. (Read Part I here and Part IIRead More

Novaporte Partner In Hot Water

Novaporte Partner In Hot Water

June 16, 2021

This was going to be a story about CBRM council meeting in secret with Albert Barbusci of Sydney Harbour Investment Partners (SHIP) yesterday and then, during the regular meeting last night, approving a three-year extension to Barbusci’s exclusive contract with the municipality. (I’ve removed the SHIP Exclusivity Countdown Clock fromRead...

Homeless encarmpment, Northeast Portland (Photo by

Shelter from the Coming Storms

November 25, 2020

I don’t really know the situation today, but in the 1950s, working for the church especially as a secretary, I got to know those who were referred to as “stemmers.” They were the dedicated few who every so often rang the glebe house doorbell in search of a dollar orRead More

Other News

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

June 4, 2021 at 11:30 am

Well played, Air Canada Remember back in December, when Cape Bretoners were signing petitions and sending video pleas to the prime minister to bail out the airlines and save our airport? And I warned that we were being played like a 12-string guitar? Well, listen to this music: Air CanadaRead More

Short Takes — Wednesday Edition

Short Takes — Wednesday Edition

June 2, 2021 at 1:23 pm

I spent so much time on The Codfathers this week, I didn’t really have much left over to cover other issues but there are a few things I’d like to touch on, however briefly:   Affordable Housing I heard Catherine Leviten-Reid on CBC Information Morning Cape Breton today discussing aRead More

Comic Relief: Reading ‘The Codfathers’ in 2021

Comic Relief: Reading ‘The Codfathers’ in 2021

June 2, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Had I read Gordon Pitts’ The Codfathers: Lessons from the Atlantic Business Elite when it first came out in 2005, I think it would have annoyed me — it’s just a collection of fawning portraits of wealthy Atlantic Canadian business types. But in 2021, post-financial crisis, mid-plague, as the worldRead More

NATO HQ Brussels

Too Late to Shake NATO Awake?

June 2, 2021 at 1:19 pm

It’s Stockholm, 14 December, 1992, and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei V. Kozyrev has begun to address over 50 of his counterparts at a summit meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), an institution widely considered instrumental in helping end the Cold War. Just two years afterRead More

Dear Editor: Phantom Container Terminal

Dear Editor: Phantom Container Terminal

June 2, 2021 at 1:17 pm

A ridiculous article appeared in the Cape Breton Post on 20 May 2021. It might have been entitled “Man Yells at Cloud.” The protagonist, a Mr. Jerry Gillis, was astonished at the gall of the CBRM in following procedure in the handling of its committees and not just rubber stampingRead...

Seedlings. Image via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR6gDiTdZUI

Gardening Tips: Hardening Off

June 2, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Editor’s Note: The Spectator is reaching into Michelle Smith’s gardening column archive for some weekly advice that is as relevant now as when it was first written. This column was first published in June 2017.   What to do this week This week you should be hardening off your precious seedlings. Take yourRead More

Fast and Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast and Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

May 28, 2021 at 10:00 am

Court Sports I had a very informative conversation yesterday with Greg Callaghan, a member of the Basketball Cape Breton (BCB) board, who was dismayed to see the Spectator framing the campaign for a new central library as a competition against the campaign for a new community court sports facility. WeRead More

Minister Mombourquette on Centre 200, Library

Minister Mombourquette on Centre 200, Library

May 26, 2021 at 12:23 pm

I have a suspicious mind — it pretty much goes with the territory, when you’re a journalist — so when I heard about this “court facility” expansion proposed for Centre 200, my immediate thought was that somewhere in the background was a plan to bring professional basketball back to CapeRead More

Fort Worth Library Public Access computers, 2009. (Photo by

Patrons of Public Infrastructure

May 26, 2021 at 12:21 pm

I am absolutely furious that the CBRM council has once again decided a new library is not important enough, despite the present structure being aged and decrepit and inadequate to the community’s needs. The Public Library system is a vital, democratizing tool, providing access to services and information to allRead More

Library versus Sports Complex?

Library versus Sports Complex?

May 26, 2021 at 12:19 pm

I hope many of you tuned into Wendy Bergfeldt’s afternoon show (CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton) last Thursday and were just as surprised as I was to hear that the CBRM is seriously considering a sports complex add-on to Centre 200 rather than a new central library. I admit that itRead More