Tagged: Keith Bain

The Jimmy Carter of former MLAs?

Keith_Bain_full_0 Jimmy CarterjpgContrarian’s friend and neighbour Valerie Patterson was in the North Sydney liquor commission Wednesday, picking up supplies for Darts Night at the Ross Ferry Volunteer Fire Department. She was surprised to find our recently defeated MLA, Keith Bain, a member of the United Church, staffing the Salvation Army kettle. Why? He had heard the Sally Ann was having trouble finding members to staff the kettles. So he volunteered.

Perhaps in “retirement,” Keith will do for MLAs what Jimmy Carter has done for former U.S. Presidents: find ever more imaginative outlets for his leadership and compassion.


Getting publicly fired — Jordi Morgan edition

“Life is like a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along,” wrote E.M. Forster, in Room With A View. I don’t know much about life, but getting fired, unexpectedly, publicly, certainly feels like that. Having gone through it, I’m always interested to see how others handle the experience.

Morgan copyHours after Rogers Media sacked him and 10 other News Radio 95.7 staffers, right-wing talk radio host Jordi Morgan posted “A note to Maritime Morning listeners” on his Facebook Page.

As you may have heard I will no longer be hosting Maritime Morning on News 95.7. Rogers has retooled to meet some very challenging market conditions and part of this process included the layoff of several personnel in Halifax.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of the people who have contributed to the program over the past three years. Academics, politicians, experts and engaged citizens volunteered their time and ideas to help create a program our team was proud to be part of. I believe our program with the input of so many, has contributed value to the discussion around municipal, provincial and national issues and topics of general interest.

He went on to briefly catalog the issues his show dealt with—cyber-bullying, discrimination against people with disabilities, mental illness, education, healthcare, and treatment of veterans—and to thank listeners, guests, regular callers, producers, and surviving hosts, before adding this:

While some may question the corporate decision makers, I want to take a moment to praise the efforts of Rogers media who have invested literally millions of dollars into our region by providing the content we have been able to provide.


I will miss being with you all… but hope that you continue to support the efforts of Rogers and News 95.7 to continue to provide such an important private sector news voice… a rarity in the Canadian broadcast spectrum. Without you… it’s a tree falling in the forest.

You might call this extreme grace and classiness—actually praising the people who showed you the door.

In the half day since Morgan’s post went up, 150 fans—including Bill Stephenson, Marc Patrone, Rob Smith, Waye Mason, Charles Cirtwell, Eva Hoare, Keith Bain, Kim West, Laura Peck, Fiona Kirkpatrick, Barry James McLaughlin, Mike Melski, Sam Moon, Peter Moirera, John Campbelljohn, and Laura Smith—have showered him with words of regret, encouragement, gratitude, kindness, and praise.

That such a diverse group of Maritimers could unite behind a right-wing host who once ran for the Alliance Party attests to Morgan’s deftness in dodging the pitfalls that give that breed a bad name. Mainly, he eschewed sophomoric rants, and treated contrary-minded guests with respect that felt genuine, not faked. Can anyone doubt he will land on his feet?

Parker Donham, election outlaw


You may have heard Elections Nova Scotia’s allegation that I violated the province’s election act Saturday. I don’t believe I did,  but however the controversy turns out, you may want to know how I got myself in this putative pickle.

On Saturday, I drove to Halifax, where I will do election night commentary for CTV. I had misread the yellow election card that came in the mail, and mistakenly thought I could vote Saturday at any returning office. Turns out that option expired last Thursday.

At the Blues Mills polling station, the helpful returning officer informed me the only two places I could vote that day were the advance poll at Geroge’s River and the returning office in Alder Point. The closer of the two, George’s River, was 104 kms back in the direction from whence I had come. This would add 2-1/2 hours to what should have been a 3-hour drive to Halifax. I considered skipping the vote altogether, but as it happens, I have an unusually keen interest in the outcome of the election in Victoria-The Lakes.

Keith_BainI have known MLA Keith Bain for 40 years. I believe he preceded me as president of the Boularderie Home and School Assoc. For many years, he was Chief of the Big Bras d’Or Fire Dept. in which capacity he helped my neighbours set up the Ross Ferry Volunteer Fire Dept. He served several terms on the Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board. He was the storekeeper in a one-store village, its own form of community service.

I cannot recall an important community meeting in the last 40 years at which Keith was not present and making a positive contribution. Never unpleasantly partisan, always trying to make things better for his community. Last year, he and Liberal Kelly Regan were the MLAs who most consistently kept the heat on Denise Peterson-Rafuse over Talbot House. In short, a decent man with an impeccable record of community service.

Running against him is Pam Eyking,* who has no comparable record of community service and whom I have never seen at a public meeting. Absent that fact she is married to Liberal MP Mark Eyking, there is no possibility she would be the nominee. I like Mark, and I have voted for him more than once, but I find Pam’s decision to run for the Liberals opportunistic and unbecoming.

Mark.PamA Liberal landslide could possibly sweep Pam into office. That’s the thing about landslides. They take out a lot of good people, along with the unpopular government that is their target.

As I sped through Iron Mines, Iona, Christmas Island, and Beaver Cove, I was annoyed at myself for not voting earlier, and annoyed at Pam for getting me riled up enough to drive 100 km out of my way.

“Why am I going to all this trouble,” I asked myself. “Because I want to be able to tell people I voted for Keith.”

As I approached George’s River, that idea morphed into a plan to show people I voted for Keith—by taking a snapshot of my ballot, and sharing it on social media.

I gave no thought to violating the NS Election Act, let alone testing it. My only thought was to come up with an effective way to make a political statement to my fellow electors in Victoria-The Lakes.

Elections Nova Scotia’s response is quite possibly wrong in law, and to my ear, disproportionate in tone. I would have thought the agency had more important matters to tend to three days before an election.


* New Democrat John Frank Toney will poll well in Eskasoni and Wagmatcook, but he has no realistic chance of winning the seat. Nor does Stemmer MacLeod.


Dexter at Holy Angels

Premier Darrell Dexter shot a few baskets Monday afternoon during a courtesy call at the former Holy Angels High School, which New Dawn Enterprises is turning into a center for cultural organizations and entrepreneurship. Pictured in the doorway is Blair Oake, recently retired manager of City Printers, who will manage the facility. Seated in the stands, wearing a blue shirt,  is New Dawn president (and defeated mayoral candidate) Rankin MacSween.

Dexter squeezed in a series of meet-and-greets en route to the NDP’s Cape Breton-The Lakes nominating convention in Eskasoni, where Mi’kmaq John Frank Toney was acclaimed. Toney’s nomination, tacitly endorsed by Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny, is good news for Conservative MLA Keith Bain, who faces a tough fight in a greatly expanded riding against Liberal Pam Eyking, wife of Mark Eyking, MP for Cape Breton-The Sydneys. Toney’s entry into the race essentially takes the large Mi’kmaq community, where Bain is not well known, out of play as far as the front runners are concerned. Racking up a large margin in Eskasoni had been a key element in the Liberal strategy.

Since polls show the Liberals to be the main threat to the Dexter government’s re-election, NDP strategists may be content to help the popular Conservative retain a riding they have no realistic hope of winning.

[Photo: Mike Targett]

Cape Breton seats in play?

The old saw says they should let Cape Bretoners vote the next day, so we get it right. Until now, there has been a widespread assumption that of the 10 nine Cape Breton seats, only Victoria-The Lakes, held by PC Keith Bain, is in play. Today’s CRA poll gives no reason to challenge that assumption. CRA’s Don Mills says the NDP are merely holding their own on the island, where they currently hold but two seats.

This bears watching. If Cape Bretoners get a sniff of a majority NDP government, things could change quickly.