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.


Carbon tax

With mere weeks to go before the Tory leadership convention, Cecil Clarke has… published his platform.

Because members of the PC party “deserve a full understanding of where each candidate in the leadership race stands on the important issues.”

The first thing to note about his platform is that it confirms everything I’ve suspected about how our mayor has spent the bulk of 2018, opening, as it does, this way:

Over the past eight months, I’ve been in living rooms, at kitchen tables, in coffee shops and in community halls all across the province, listening to the concerns of everyday Nova Scotians.

But what really struck me about the platform — which he was inviting people to check out at about 9:30 AM on Monday — was this line:

[T]he federal and provincial Liberal governments want to bring in their job-killing carbon tax! This will only make life here more expensive.

It struck me because it stands in such sharp contrast to the content of another document, released around that time on Monday morning: the report of the UN’s the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries, based on 6,000 scientific studies, and warning, as The New York Times explained, “that if that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty.”

Our only hope, according to the report, is to undertake a transformation of the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

Achieving such a transformation, according to economist Paul Romer who (also on Monday) was declared the co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in economic sciences, is possible through economic policy. He told the CBC’s Carol Off on As It Happens:

The policy is very simple. If you just commit to a tax on the usage of fuels that directly or indirectly release greenhouse gases, and then you make that tax increase steadily in the future … people will see that there’s a big profit to be made from figuring out ways to supply energy where they can do it without incurring the tax.

Or, you can align yourself with the Doug Fords and the Donald Trumps of this world and insist that taxing fossil fuels will make life too expensive, whereas allowing the planet to continue to warm, unchecked, will work out just swell for all of us.

Ready to lead, perhaps. But where, exactly?


Planet B

Someone who may be in for a bit of a shock when he does read Clarke’s platform (especially the line about the “job-killing carbon tax”) is “author and film producer” Mike Velemirovich, whose endorsement Clarke posted on Saturday:

Thing is, Velemirovich is the co-author — along with Captain Trevor Greene — of There is No Planet B: Promise and Peril on Our Warming World. 

Here’s the blurb from its Amazon listing:

Afghan war veteran and bestselling author, Captain Trevor Greene (March Forth) collaborates with veteran car dealer and sustainability advocate Mike Velemirovich to describe a Canada that has sold out her hard-earned democracy to oil companies. They then go around the world delving into the global warming crisis – promising innovative solutions. There Is No Planet B admits defeat, but inspires hope and touts victories in a book that shows Planet A is worth fighting for. Foreword by Dr. David Suzuki “This is a must-read for Canadians who think the environmental battle is already lost.” — Mitch Potter, Washington Bureau Chief, Toronto Star

First, Velemirovich’s business cards must be huge — author, filmmaker, veteran car dealer, sustainability advocate, perfumer — and second, the book has a foreward by Dr. David Freakin’ Suzuki. 

The only explanation I can think of for his supporting Clarke is that Clarke has proved to him that there is, in fact, a Planet B.

And they’re both living on it.


Running with the Seadogs

Clarke dropped by the Sea Dog Saloon in Shelbourne and — what do you know? — it turned into an impromptu “ballot party.”

Luckily, he and his team just happened to have “information and photocopiers” on hand (they travel with photocopiers?).

It seems really weird to me that candidates are allowed to assist people in filling out their ballots but I guess it’s kosher, otherwise I can’t imagine Clarke would be holding “ballot parties” and blabbing about it all over Facebook. Still, give me a curtain and a bit of privacy any day.

I’ll figure out my own damn ballot.


October 4 (last Friday) found the Mayor wooing the Dalhousie Campus Conservatives:

I have nothing much to say about this — other than that they’re wise to try to appeal to any younger voters they can find — but I am curious as to whether Clarke as basically just moved to Halifax for the last month of the campaign.



Can you believe it? The LAST leadership debate happens tonight in Truro.

They’ve got to be running out of things to say by now. I imagine they’ll just have a rousing agreement.




I have added the Dalhousie Campus Conservatives event, but other than that, I have no new additions to make to the calendar.




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