The dumbest idea from the CBRM mayoralty campaign – updated

The award for the stupidest idea to emerge in the hotly contested CBRM mayoralty campaign goes to Rankin MacSween. At a debate sponsored by the Cape Breton University Student Union, candidates were asked how, if elected, they will improve student prospects for living and working in Cape Breton after graduation.

Here’s the Cape Breton Post’s description of candidate MacSween’s response:

MacSween talked about creating a community investment fund that would allow the municipality to invest in small businesses each year.

“We’re talking about a minimum of five to 10 investments in small businesses a year,” he said.

CBRM is $96 million in debt* by it’s own reckoning. It has the some of the highest tax rates in Nova Scotia. It faces a massive infrastructure deficit, with hundreds of millions needed to meet forthcoming federal water and sewage regulations.

Against that background, would-be Mayor Rankin MacSween wants the municipality to take on the role of banker? Borrowing money to establish a fund that will invest in five to 10 small businesses each year? Picking winners and losers among Cape Breton’s anemic small business community?

It’s a further sad illustration of how the strain of Cape Breton xenophobia nurtured by MacSween and outgoing Mayor John Morgan has led their acolytes to live in a world of fantasy.

[Update & disclosure] A representative of the MacSween campaign points out, correctly, that I should have noted my own peripheral involvement in Cecil Clarke’s campaign. From time to time, I have offered the candidate and his staff advice, some taken, some not. I certainly support Cecil, and have been dismayed to see how brazenly Rankin has pandered to negativity and xenophobia.

[Update II] In an exchange on Facebook, another representative of MacSween’s campaign contends that the “investment fund” proposal would not involve municipal funds, merely staff and mayoral time. CBRM would organize and operate a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) whose funds would come from elsewhere. MacSween did not make that clear at CBU. His platform, which you can download here, clearly contemplates a CEDIF that would create “a local pool of capital,” but is silent as to the source of the funds.

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* The figure doesn’t include $6 million squandered on the insane,  job-killing, Greenfield purchase engineered by MacSween.