Election 2020: District 2

District 2 consists of most of the former town of North Sydney, plus all or part of Bras d’Or, Dalem Lake, Florence, Georges River, Groves Point, Hillside Boularderie, Little Bras d’Or, Mill Creek, Millville, Southside Boularderie, Point Aconi and Upper North Sydney.

It is, like most CBRM districts, very oddly shaped — I’m thinking, an eagle with a bag over its head?

CBRM District 2 Map

CBRM District 2

The district is home to 7,113 registered voters, 4,214 of whom cast a ballot in 2016. The result that election year was a nail-biter: Earlene MacMullin beat her closest rival, Lloyd Wilkie, by five votes on election night, triggering a recount that reduced her lead to four (984 to 980) but confirmed her win.

MacMullin, who is re-offering, faces only one opponent this time around (there were six candidates in 2016 but no incumbent — veteran councilor Charlie Keagan had died in office earlier that year).


Jim Dunphy

Jim Dunphy

Jim Dunphy

Why do you want to be a CBRM councilor?

I would like to be a CBRM councilor because I feel the time is right for me.

My 20-plus years of construction that took me into so many different towns and cities, coupled with my management experience at Home Depot has given me a unique perspective of how to lead and work as a team while solving important issues. My ability to adapt to challenges and changes quickly while working in an environment where we promote gender equality, diversity and respect will be an asset.

What is one issue of concern to you and how do you plan to address it?

One main issue of concern for me is affordable housing. There is a need for newer, fully accessible, safe, warm and up-to-code apartments throughout the CBRM.

Many older, once-single family homes are being converted to three- and four-unit apartments. Some of these buildings are not up to code and they’re very expensive to heat, which is not helping reduce our carbon footprint.

The saddest part is as bad as some buildings are, we have no vacancies.

I would like to raise this issue with council and work towards cutting the red tape for builders in hopes of seeing more development of affordable, greener homes.

Although it is now 25 years old, the CBRM doesn’t necessarily function as a single entity. Do you have any ideas for bringing our “community of communities” closer together?

To bring CBRM together as a whole would mean to unite all small communities and give them more of a voice in council meetings. Many believe they have been forgotten since amalgamation. The decision around the parades, less funding for community festivals and activities is bringing down morale in our communities at a time when things are tough enough for the average family. I think we can do better.

Where is one place in your district you always bring visitors?

The place I take people in District 2 would be the Ballast Grounds or Indian Beach. You simply can’t go wrong enjoying the picturesque views of colorful lobster boats, Marine Atlantic Ferries or the Osprey in the background. You will not find a better place to enjoy a coffee or ice cream.

What is one question you wish I’d asked you? 

The one question I wish you’d asked me is: Why did you choose to stay here when so many left for a better life in other provinces?

The answer is, I’ve had so many opportunities to leave this island behind because of my construction background but I can’t do it.

It takes a person a very long time to understand what’s important in life and I have realized that without family and a strong community you have nothing. My parents are getting older, so I’m here for them.

This place, with all its beauty, the ocean and the proudest, hardest working folks you’ll ever meet is my home.


Earlene MacMullin

Earlene MacMullin

Earlene MacMullin

What do you see as your greatest accomplishment as a councilor?

From day one of being in council, one of the issues here on the Northside was the capacity limitations of the North Sydney Food Bank. Very early on. Lawrence Shebib and the North Sydney Food Bank Society started looking for an alternative space as they were operating in a facility that no longer could meet the community’s needs. We began looking for municipal buildings in North Sydney with more square footage but to no avail. Their idea eventually evolved into obtaining Seton School upon its closure to not only accommodate the food bank, community gardens and program space but also affordable housing. It was a very large initiative but one I was more than happy to support and work with them to make it happen. It required many partnerships, the willingness of the Province to hand over the property to the municipality, the municipality to agree to accept it, and a plan proving that it could be sustainable. I am proud to say all the hard work is paying off and council and staff were satisfied with the final plan and agreed to take on the school with the intent of handing the facility over to the Society. This is a project that is designed to help address poverty, food security and sustainable housing right here in our district that I have had the privilege of being part of. A huge thank you to Lawrence and the Society for all their hard work!

What do you hope to accomplish in a second term?

If I am lucky enough to get elected for a second term, I want to see us implement a fair tax system. It is imperative to future growth that we reduce our tax rates, and this is not about CAP vs no CAP. It is about finding a fair, sustainable taxation system that will allow us to attract new residents and business to the area, at the same time alleviating some of the stress many of our current commercial and residential owners are experiencing. It is a heavily debated topic among residents and business owners, but it is something that must be addressed head on.

Do you think large, “silver-bullet” projects like the container terminal are the answer for local economic development, or are there other approaches?

Silver-bullet projects are a great addition to any municipality, with an increase in workforce, good-paying jobs and tax base but I don’t believe for a minute they are the answer to all our hardships. All you need to do is take a walk through the Northside business park and look at the remaining empty buildings. At one point, they each employed hundreds but when the money ran out so did they, in some cases leaving entire families unemployed. As the saying goes, we can’t keep all our eggs in one basket. We need to continue to work towards a diverse economy, utilizing not only industry but our natural resources, on-line markets, small business, commercial utilization of surplus lands, and continue to take advantage of the ability of people to work from here no matter where their employers are located. Yes, I am aware of our lack of coverage for broadband but we are working on it!

What is one place in your district you always bring visitors?

Downtown North Sydney is always a must! We have great shops, amazing restaurants and everyone loves to see the fishing boats and the Marine Atlantic vessels.

What is one question you wish I’d asked you? 

As an incumbent is if I had any advice for others who may be running for the first time or considering making the move at some point the future.

If you are debating it, just do it! I have had the opportunity to learn, grow and experience so many things over the last four years that I cannot express enough how incredible this opportunity is. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially in a time of social media, when people are quick to make accusations on what they believe your reasons and motives are. It is not a position built for just anyone and public scrutiny certainly holds a large portion of it, so get use to that part. As well, each member has only one vote. Be careful what you promise, it is not only up to you. Lastly, understand that our districts are very important but so is the success of the entire CBRM so a one-man show does not work. It is all about healthy debate and collaboration.

In addition to the questions, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the residents that have allowed me the privilege to serve over the last four years and fingers crossed I have proved I deserve another term! Oh, and last but certainly not least, no matter where you live or who you decide to vote for just get out and vote. People around the would love to have this freedom so don’t let yours go to waste!


A note on this feature:

I decided to send candidates questions by email because, while speaking to each in person would be preferable, I knew I wouldn’t have time to conduct (and transcribe) 55 phone interviews.

I will update these pages continuously as responses roll in and send out notifications on Facebook and Twitter announcing new answers.


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