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.


Telephone Poll

Is the answer to “Where’s Cecil?” “In the lead?”

Well, according to this Corporate Research Associates (CRA) poll, it is:

The results, though, when you read them more closely, actually are quite “humbling.” First, the details:

These results are part of the CRA Atlantic Quarterly®, an independent, quarterly telephone survey of Atlantic Canadians, and are based on a telephone sample of 400 adult Nova Scotians, conducted from August 16 to September 1, 2018, with overall results accurate to within ± 4.9 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.

If “telephone” means “landline” (which I’m quite sure it does) then this poll is already problematic, given the number of people who use mobile phones rather than landlines these days. (Also, if the pollster cold calls people and says, “I’m from the CRA,” isn’t there a good chance the people called will assume it’s that CRA phone scam and hang up?)

But let’s accept, for the sake of argument, that the poll is a fair reflection of the views of Nova Scotians. Look at the actual numbers for Clarke:

Specifically, two in ten Nova Scotians (19%, compared with 23% in May 2018, and with 26% in February 2018) would most likely support Cecil Clarke as Nova Scotia Premier…

Not only is his support low (19%), it’s down a full 7 percentage points since February.

Worse still:

Over the last nine months, Nova Scotians have also been increasingly indicative of a preference for none of the five candidates vying for PC Party leadership…


I think the takeaway is that people don’t like long leadership campaigns. But I thought that was the takeaway from the last federal Conservative leadership campaign and the last federal New Democrat  leadership campaign.

It’s a takeaway people seem to keep leaving behind.


Big Wheels on the Bus

Mayor Cecil Clarke made a rare public appearance this month, riding a Cape Breton Regional Transit bus with Cape Breton University (CBU) President Dave Dingwall.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that the municipality, where many CBU students live, and the university, which is located in the middle of nowhere, are getting together to provide bus service between the two on Sundays.

But that there wasn’t, until now, such a service and that introducing one constitutes such a great step forward that both the university president and the mayor want their names attached to it is, let’s face it, kind of sad.



I had nothing new to add to the Cecil tracker this week. Things seem to be slowing down on the Meet & Greet front.