Dredge it and Cecil will be LG?

Perhaps this post deserves elaboration.

By any measure, dredging Sydney Harbour is a dubious use of public funds. It may yield modest increases in commercial shipping, but dreams of a container terminal here are but a fantasy. Despite the massive boom in world shipping that characterized the 2000s, the two container piers in Halifax continue to limp along at half capacity. Plans for a third pier at Melford are years ahead of those for Sydney, where a putative terminal proponent seems to have vanished.

Yet the Cape Breton public has been massively oversold on the concept as the only possible salvation of Cape Breton’s economic future, to the point it has become a political sacred cow, and anyone who opposes it a Judas.

This is the worst possible message for Cape Bretoners: to promise a single, steel-plant-scale silver bullet to solve our problems — with the silver furnished by federal and provincial taxpayers, of course. Most area politicians and business leaders recognize this campaign as a cynical fraud, but the political momentum behind the concept is such that none dare speak against it.

New Dems want to protect their slender Cape Breton base in an election that promises to be much more difficult than the one that catapulted them to power. Liberals don’t want to give the other parties an edge in that election. Cecil Clarke wants to give his campaign for Parliament a boost.

Clarke cannot beat MP Mark Eyking in a federal contest. No one running on a Harper ticket could, and Clarke barely held his own provincial seat last year. Clarke will lose, but will he also win by losing? Insiders quietly ask what federal plum Harper and Peter MacKay have dangled to induce him to run.

On the steps of Province House last evening, a New Democrat MLA offered a chilling prediction: Clarke will be Nova Scotia’s next Lieutenant Governour, when the incumbent’s term expires next year. At a cost of $38 million in matching federal-provincial tax dollars.

Where is Dennis Ryan when you need him?