12 Jan The real CBRM stands up
At long last, someone on the Cape Breton Regional Municipal Council has delivered a stinging rebuke to Mayor John Morgan’s portrayal of Cape Bretoners as helpless victims of Halifax.
Council is scrambling to meet a March 31 deadline for producing a sustainability plan, without which it stands to lose $7 million per year in federal gas tax rebates for four years. It has to scramble because senior governments rightly rejected an earlier grandiose plan proposing virtual provincehood for CBRM, with Comintern-like powers for its “legislature.”
That nutty document, cobbled together with mayoral encouragement by CBRM’s Gyro Gearloose development director, was submitted to the provincial government without council discussion or approval. Submitted, and rejected, putting $28 million at risk for the revenue-strapped municipality.
Speaking at the start of hastily convened public consultations in support of a new, rational sustainability plan, Councilor Ray Paruch detailed Council’s rejection of the Mayor’s blame-everything-on-Halifax approach. [Audio from CBC-Cape Breton’s Mainstreet program.]
Fifteen councilors in the CBRM said no to that document… They said no to the idea that our region should become a province in virtually all but name. Council rejected a separate legislature. Council rejected taking over the school board. Council rejected taking over the health board. Council rejected the idea of taking over the board of directors of Cape Breton University…
How arrogant and bold are we to even contemplate doing these things? Who do we think we are?
Saying this took courage. Mayor Morgan is famously popular in CBRM, having won re-election by 80 percent. But the unequivocal rejection of his absurd lawsuit by three courts has eroded his support. More and more residents are questioning his caricature of Cape Bretoners as pathetic supplicants.
The Cape Bretoners I know and admire are self-reliant and resourceful. High time someone gave them a voice.