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.



I literally had to ask myself “Where’s Cecil?” when I first looked at these photos, because he doesn’t say which Tim Hortons he visited on #CampDay, June 6.

After some sleuthing (with the assistance of Google Maps) I can declare with some certainty he’s at the Tim Hortons on Blowers Street in North Sydney.

What I can’t say with any certainty was whether he was there as mayor of the CBRM — which he could have been, attending #CampDay events would be a perfectly reasonable mayor-of-the-CBRM thing to do — or as a PC leadership candidate — which, again, he could have been, as these pictures were posted on his campaign Facebook feed (“Cecil Clarke, politician”).

Do you see why the Spectator gets so confused?


Talk Radio

Also on June 6, Clarke took the time to speak to NEWS 957’s Sheldon MacLeod about his plan to “update Nova Scotia’s presumptive cancer legislation for career and volunteer firefighters.”

In the course of the discussion, MacLeod asked if Clarke would eventually release his entire platform and Clarke (who had been admitting the CBRM’s review of fire services had revealed needs beyond presumptive cancer legislation — needs like standardized equipment, vehicles and training), said:

There’s going to be an entire document, that’s a very good question Sheldon. There’s overarching themes that you have to deal with that will come forward but also on these items people are asking us to respond to, I will do those on an individual basis, but there is an overarching approach in terms of how I see we need to engage as part of my grass roots policy initiative for the government. And…our party’s level of platform development that we can bring forward that 51 constituencies will be engaged, party will have a policy AGM, so, these are ideas I’m bringing forward, it’s about taking action people are tired promises [sic] that don’t have action associated with them and the fire services is no different.

I thought this was a daring statement coming from a man who made at total of 200 promises for “positive change” over the course of two mayoral elections and it reminded me that a reader had suggested it might be time for an informal audit of the positive change account…


At Home with Elmer

At some point last week (as usual, he’s coy about naming the exact day), Clarke dropped by the Central Nova home of former MP Elmer McKay and spent some quality time poring over what looks like the user manual for a recently purchased appliance. (I may be projecting here, having spent too much time poring over user manuals myself lately).

I was relieved to see Clarke was eventually offered a seat.



Thursday, June 7 found Clarke in Windsor for the Hants West PC Association’s “informal” debate.

I’m not sure what distinguishes a formal from an informal debate — perhaps a lack of neckties and the use of first names? Maybe the candidates wore flip-flops. On second thought, that’s probably not a fashion choice any candidate would ever make.



If it’s Sunday, this must be St. Peter’s

Nothing to add to this, other than that Sunday, June 10, found our mayor campaigning on-island.


…Unless it’s East Tracadie

But it also found him campaigning off-island, turning up later that same day 74km away from St. Peters at the home of Margaret and Gary Young in East Tracadie.


Halifax Armdale

Clarke was in Halifax on Monday, June 11, attending a Chinese Dinner Fundraiser Auction for the Progressive Conservative Association of Halifax Armdale at Bethany United Church.


Eastern Passage

As reported earlier, Clarke was scheduled to be at the Seafarer’s Pub on Cow Bay Road in Eastern Passage on June 12 — just a hop, skip and a jump from Halifax Armdale, really:



Here’s a question: will Clarke stick around the metro area for the Dartmouth East Progressive Conservative Association AGM, scheduled for Thursday, June 14? Organizers are saying only that “available” PC leadership candidates will be in attendance.



Clarke has organized a post-debate social to follow the Thursday, June 21 leadership debate in Dartmouth, so I’m thinking Friday will be a day off work too.



Here’s the updated campaign calendar. I’ve included the Dartmouth AGM but added three question marks to indicate I’m not sure if Clarke will be attending or not.






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