I have vented previously, here and here, about the quiet acquiescence of municipal and provincial leaders to the destruction of Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. Why haven't the Premier, the Minister of Economic Development, the Leader of the Opposition, and other provincial leaders spoken out against the elimination of an institution, enshrined in an Act of Parliament, whose dismantling will cost Cape Breton tens of millions of dollars a year for the foreseeable future? Cape Breton is still part of Nova Scotia, after all. My purpose in this post is not to belabour the point, but to direct readers' attention to a striking...

That was a peculiar performance by Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke Friday. At a hastily called, 3:30 p.m. news conference, the mayor denounced municipal affairs bureaucrats for piling $4-5 million in new charges onto the financially strapped municipality, while rejecting his reasoned pleas for help coping with CBRM's fiscal mess. Since his election in the fall of 2012, Clarke has quietly led CBRM officials and citizens through a deliberate process to identify efficiencies in the municipality's far flung operations. They pared capital spending, and made what appeared to be an honest effort to come to provincial (and federal) negotiations...

[See Update in second to last paragraph.] Just 64 days after taking her seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature, newly elected Liberal MLA Pam Eyking left Canada for a 28-day family trip to Australia and Taiwan. Eyking and her husband Mark, MP for Sydney-Victoria, left Canada on Boxing Day. Her office said she is expected back in Nova Scotia Thursday, the 23rd. Contrarian learned about the trip from a prominent Cape Breton Liberal who asked not to be identified, but said party members are annoyed at her taking a long foreign vacation so early in her term as MLA. Elected October...

Because, for all our cynicism about politics, we want them to succeed. We wanted Darrell Dexter to succeed, and our unrealistic expectations for his government never recovered from its series of early missteps. Despite a majority of comparable magnitude, Stephen McNeil comes to office with far lower expectations than his predecessor. His deliberately bland campaign included a few platform whoppers he'll be foolhardy to implement (one big health board, deregulation of electricity markets, defunding energy Efficiency Nova Scotia), but for the most part, he is free from extravagant commitments. This lowers the risk of early disappointments, though not necessarily missteps. McNeil has another...

Our curmudgeonly friend drew my attention to a Canadian Press dispatch listing the factors Premier-to-be Stephen McNeil will have to consider when choosing his cabinet before he gets to competence or talent. This led me to a momentary reverie about the sort of government we might have if ability were the only factor in picking the government. Contrarian reader Tim Segulin writes: You never know, McNeil may just run the government out of his office the way Harper does and Dexter apparently did. That way important decisions don't really get made by ministers who are implied to not be up to the job,...

Our curmudgeonly friend sends along a Canadian Press dispatch about the process of assembling Stephen McNeil's new cabinet. However, experience is just one of several factors McNeil will be considering when handing out portfolios. The cabinet must also reflect a broad cross-section of the province’s geography and its ethnic, racial and linguistic mixture. Our friend comments: That's right. That's how we got Sterling Belliveau. What good would a cabinet be without a Sterling Belliveau in it? Imagine what McNeil's cabinet could look like if he had the cojones to ignore geography, gender, ethnicity, race, and language. What would happen if he just picked the...

Nova Scotians tune in on election night to learn two things: Who won, and who are the sore losers. Darrell Dexter was a smart loser, delivering the best speech of the night, a gracious amalgam of congratulations to the winners, and thanks and condolences for his followers, upbeat but laced with sadness he could not hide. Perhaps the worst thing about the crushing defeat meted out to the NDP is the suboptimal quality of the survivors. I heard both both N-Dips and Tories Tuesday night predict Sterling Belliveau will bolt to the Liberals who, if they are smart, will not take him. DPR,...

Since 1970, four Nova Scotia governments have delayed elections into the fifth year of their mandates. Three of the four got clobbered. In 1978, Gerald Regan's Liberals went almost seven months into their fifth year, then dropped from 31 seats to 17. In 1993, Donald Cameron's Progressive Conservatives went almost eight months into their fifth year, and fell from 28 seats to 9. Almost five years later, Russell MacLellan led the Liberals from a commanding 40 seats to a humiliating 19-seat tie with the New Democrats, allowing him to govern only briefly with the slenderest of minorities. In 2003, John Hamm went just 10...

With the coal mining neighborhoods of Sydney Mines, Florence, Bras d’Or, and Alder Point, and the unionized workforce at Marine Atlantic in North Sydney, Cape Breton North ought to be fertile ground for the NDP. Instead, except for a single election in 1978, it has brought the party nothing but heartache. In a 2001 by-election, it put an early end to Helen MacDonald’s term as leader, passing her up in favor of Cecil Clarke, who insisted the riding needed a member on the Hamm government’s side. In the 2009 NDP, it stopped 165 votes short of joining the massive NDP tide....

On CBC Radio last week, Contrarian’s old friend Ralph Surette said Nova Scotia Liberals had dumped their last nine leaders — every one since Gerald Regan — before they could fight a second election. That’s not quite true. The Liberals have had only seven leaders since Regan, and two of those took the party through two elections. Still, the record is fratricidal: The operative question is whether the Liberals will repeat this pattern when they review leader Stephen McNeil's leadership Friday. A covert campaign to unseat McNeil has featured an inept website and a mass mail-out using a purloined copy of the...