CBRM Notes from Last Night

Between last night’s CBRM regional council meeting and the stories I’ve been working on but haven’t quite pulled together yet, there are a number of things I want to discuss briefly this week.

So I’m going to discuss them briefly this week. (There are advantages to being the boss.)


Higher Office

I was VERY curious to hear what District 4 Councilor Steve Gillespie would have to say about this motion, which he put on last night’s agenda:

The language — “Residents expect and deserve for their elected officials to focus on their needs 100% of the time” — made me think he was going to call for stricter rules governing cases where councilors decide to run for higher office (like District 2 Councilor Earlene MacMullin running for the Liberal nomination in Sydney-Victoria). As it now stands, there is really nothing stopping a municipal councilor from retaining their seat while they run for provincial or federal office (there actually isn’t anything — other than fear of an angry mob — stopping them from retaining their municipal office after they win, believe it or not).

That Gillespie made a point of defining “higher office” to include but not be restricted to “Mayor, MLA or MP” made me think he might even be looking to regulate instances like Mayor Clarke’s decision to spend most of 2018 running for the leadership of the provincial Tories.

So you can imagine my disappointment when it was time for Gillespie to speak to his motion and he said:

I would like to remove this from the agenda and bring it back at a later date.

I haven’t felt that let-down since Geraldo opened Al Capone’s vault.


Such pun!

I tweeted during the debate about the Crate Escape Doggy Daycare that Cape Breton sure does like its punny business names (Curl Up & Dye being one of my personal favorites — it’s a hairdresser’s not a walk-in clinic) but it turns out Cape Breton is not alone. Not only do other places like puns, they like the same ones, here’s the Crate Escape in Massachusetts:


And here it is in Arizona:

And in Vermont:


And in Connecticut:

And in Illinois:

And (with a slightly different spelling) in Virginia:

Where I suspect the Cape Breton version — which was granted permission last night to offer overnight kenneling services in addition to daycare services — differs from its American cousins is in its ownership: I’m guessing none of the other doggy daycare owners moonlights as a Crown Prosecutor (or the US equivalent), which is the case for Nicole Campbell.

Her law background explains her evident comfort in making her case before council. I wonder does it help keep the doggies in line?


Regulatory reform

I heard a commentator the other day say that in deciding to run for president, billionaires like Michael Bloomberg have decided that instead of spending millions supporting a candidate who will do as they say, they’re just going to “cut out the middleman” and run for office.

I thought of this last night when I heard Leanne Hachey — who spent nine years with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) — presenting to council in her new role as “executive director of regulatory reform & partnerships” with the provincial government.

Why try to influence government policy from the outside when you can get right in there and help MAKE policy?

The goal of Hachey’s “little office” is to reduce the regulatory burden on business and apparently they have been at this for three years and are doing such a good job, they had their mandate renewed in October:




Rolling stock

I’ve been wondering for a couple of years now why our police department needs pick-up trucks and so I decided to try and find out — first by finding out how many pick-up trucks (4X4s? my truck lingo is dated) our police force owns. While I was at it, I decided to ask how many and what type of vehicles the force owns generally.

I sent my question via CBRM spokesperson Jillian Moore, who sent them along to “Police and Fleet” who replied:

The CB Regional Police fleet is comprised of 120 vehicles.

We are unable to provide the specifics of the vehicles, in order to mitigate public safety and officer safety.

Which would, perhaps be a reasonable answer if most of those vehicles did not have “CAPE BRETON REGIONAL POLICE SERVICES” splashed across their sides.

So I rephrased the question and asked for a breakdown of the makes and models of the force’s marked vehicles.

As of press time, I had not received a response.



And speaking of non-responses, Mayor Cecil Clarke’s spokesperson, Sheilah MacDonald, has not acknowledged, let alone responded, to my email asking for details about the mayor’s trip to Toronto this week, where he will be co-hosting a “reception” with Cape Breton Eagles owner Irwin Simon to “launch” the Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s capital campaign.

Are we paying for the mayor’s travels? Will anyone else from the CBRM be attending? Are we paying for their travels?

The mayor apparently does not consider that to be any of our business.


Featured image: CBRM Council Chambers, 2017 by WayeMason, CC BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons.