Where’s Cecil?

Welcome to this week’s installment of “Where’s Cecil?,” my ongoing effort to keep track of Mayor Cecil Clarke’s campaign appearances to judge just how much time he’s taking from his day job to travel the province in pursuit of the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.

As you will recall, the mayor of the CBRM declared his candidacy for the PC leadership on February 3. Tories will choose their new leader at the very end of October. So Clarke — who is paid $109,754 a year as our municipality’s only “full-time” elected official — intends to spend roughly eight months doing double duty as a mayor/PC leadership candidate.

We know, because CBRM Human Resources told us so, that the department does not track the vacation time of the mayor, whose only constraint is apparently Section 17(4) of the MGA:

A mayor or councillor who, without leave of the council, is absent from three consecutive regular meetings of the council, ceases to be qualified to serve as mayor or as a councillor.

Mayor Clarke, then, is presumably tracking his time off based on his own estimate (shared with CBC radio listeners back in December 2017) that he has over 20 weeks’ vacation stockpiled.



Clarke did manage to make it to the NSCC in Middleton on time for the first of six leadership debates on May 24, despite having been in attendance at Sydney Port Days until (at least) noon.

NSPC leadership debate, Middleton, 24 May 2018. (l-r) John Lohr, Cecil Clarke, Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, Julie Chaisson, Tim Houston.

You can watch the debate on the NS Progressive Conservative Party’s website, if you like.

I, for the record, did not. But I read Jean Laroche’s report for the CBC.


Apple Blossom Time

Saturday, May 26, found Clarke marching in the Apple Blossom Festival Parade in Kentville.

If you, like me, thought the only politics connected to the Festival parade were those surrounding the selection of Queen Annapolisa, think again. Political parties have long been permitted to participate, although the Festival “does not align with or support one individual political party” and parties “are not to use the parade as a platform to announce their political views.” But this year, according to The Coast, those rules were tested by a bull-horn-equipped contingent from the National Citizens Alliance (NCA), a “far-right nationalist group” which used the parade as an opportunity to warn “the throngs of families and face-painted children watching” about the dangers of immigration. Following the event, the parade’s board of directors issued a press release banning the group from ever participating again.

The other not particularly festive aspect of this year’s parade, held in Kentville, was the debut of the Kentville Police Force’s body cameras because, apparently, the parade is “always a time of increased activity for the force.”

But I digress…

Clarke was in the parade and as there was no subsequent press release banning the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party from future appearances, presumably he and his fellow candidates managed to restrain themselves from proclaiming their political views as they marched along. (Although, arguably, Clarke’s “Ready to Lead” t-shirt was doing just that.)


Lost Friday

So, Middleton on Thursday and the Annapolis Valley on Saturday — is it likely Clarke returned to the CBRM on Friday? I’m thinking the answer is “no,” especially since he was back in Sydney on Sunday for the MS Walk.

But he’s yet to post anything indicating where he was on Friday, so who knows?


Doing lunch…in Port Hawkesbury

No wonder Clarke had to cram all those meetings into Monday and Tuesday this week, he has a lunch date today (Wednesday) in Port Hawkesbury. The “campaign team” organized it and it’s the best kind of “lunch event” — the kind where “lunch will be provided.”

Light refreshments in Halifax

Clarke will be hosting a meet and greet at the Hotel Atlantica in Halifax on Sunday, June 3.


Clarke on Health Care

Clarke literally seems to be beating his chest in this photo which I share because he literally seems to be beating his chest in this photo:




I’ve updated the calendar to include Clarke’s Saturday visit to the Valley and to remove the Dartmouth North AGM scheduled for Tuesday, May 29, because the mayor was at the CBRM council meeting last night.

I’ve added the Halifax meet and greet on June 3 and the Port Hawkesbury “lunch event.”