Letter to the Editor: Cape Breton District Assembly

Unlike David Johnson’s March 23rd rhetorical spin-doctoring CB Post article citing me as an ill-founded separatist, I do indeed retort with a bold vision forward for Cape Breton Island (CBI), rooted in sound legal principles and a viable political structure which, to succeed, needs to be shaped and implemented by Cape Bretoners.

As one of many decentralization paths leading to CBI Independence, I assert that a devolution of powers from Halifax to a CBI District Assembly (or call it council if you prefer), be formed by a collaborative merger of the four CBI counties, plus the Town of Port Hawkesbury and through negotiations with the provincial government.  Under a quad-county agreement it is assumed that regardless of geographic land area, economic size or population, each CBI county will have an equal say and share of the new self-governing powers of the District of CBI.

It is also further envisioned, if this path to CBI independence is followed, that each of the four counties of CBI will, under a decentralized cooperative governance structure, host an equal number of CBI’s functional departments, and that Baddeck should host as the capital of the CBI District Administration.

This structure will effectively be a province in waiting but nevertheless a governance structure with a broad set of powers enabling greater CBI Independence within the province of NS and established through a process of devolution at a rate of implementation that NS and CBI mutually agree.

I call for CBI municipal mayors, wardens and councilors to take a broader, island-wide perspective and to come together to form a CBI District Assembly (CBIDA). Under this model, the four county administrations plus town of Port Hawkesbury could optionally be merged into one Island-wide super administrative entity, or all five could be retained and respective representatives (mayors and deputies) appointed to the new CBIDA.  I further recommend that motions to be passed by the CBIDA require a minimum 3/4 majority vote so that at least three of our four counties must support all motions to be passed.

For the betterment of the island-wide community, I again challenge CBU Professors Johnson, [Tom] Urbaniak and [Jim] Guy to an open public debate on the topic of CBI governance.

Mark Macneill
Sydney, NS