Dr. StrangeJob: That’s Not What Ivany Meant!

Dr. StrangeJob declared his candidacy for mayor of the CBRM on 1 April 2016—that’s right, April Fools’ Day. The Doctor is compelled to speak because of his frustration with the existing council’s apparent lack of transparency, potential misuse of municipal tax dollars, overuse of confidentiality agreements, excessive in-camera meetings, and disregard for taxpayers’ wishes. These governance issues are not simply the cynical musings of a disgruntled citizen; these concerns are shared by many and have also been documented by the provincial ombudsman.

The Ivany Report suggests cynicism and negativity have hindered our economic growth and argues Nova Scotians need a change of attitude. The Ivany Report may be correct when it comes to our unwarranted negativity, but the intent of the recommendation appears to have been co-opted by authorities wishing to discredit opposing views or constructive criticism. To be critical is not the same as to be negative. Constructive criticism is healthy, but some in power are a tad too quick to raise the “stop being negative” flag when confronted by concerned citizens looking for a bit of transparency.

IvanReport

I have been monitoring Facebook, Twitter, and other local community sites for CBRM-related news and trends. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of posts raising CBRM governance concerns and asking critical questions about various CBRM council decisions. Many of these posts have received thousands of views and many comments. It should be obvious to local politicians that the CBRM is home to a significant number of disgruntled taxpayers. Unfortunately, there has been limited reaction to citizens’ concerns by CBRM officials. Perhaps current incumbents hope to ride the tide in October and squeak by for another four years. However, that tide appears to be turning, and perhaps the only wave that some will see is the wave goodbye.

Taking a cheap shot from the cheap seats may be considered negative, but denouncing constructive criticism by demeaning the voting public with childish metaphors is far from positive. CBRM council owes a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers, but suggesting that CBRM tax dollars should be treated like a spousal account is far from prudent – just ask anyone on the wrong side of a divorce settlement how that worked out for them. Perhaps it’s too easy to become cynical when local politicians tell taxpayers that “if you haven’t got something good to say about somebody, then maybe you should shutup.”

Meanwhile in Cape Breton, the poverty rate for children under six years of age is a staggering 42.7%. Hungry children in our community need to be served something other than the self-serving, entitled drivel currently served up by some of our elected officials.

To current CBRM councillors: Your silence will cost you your seat unless you step up and stand up for your constituents. You may feel safe sitting in your comfortable pew, but the Council Chambers are starting to emit an uncomfortable pee-yew. Perhaps we need a fresh face and a stronger rank in Council Chambers to clear the air. People change not because they see the light, but because they feel the heat and it’s starting to warm up in CBRM (in a positive way).

Until next time—that’s my two cents’ worth.

Dr. StrangeJob

 

 

Dr. StrangeJob is a local satirical blogger, retired educator, social activist, and developer of the world’s first 12+1 step self-help group, Incompetents Anonymous.