Nova Scotia·Analysis

Cape Breton municipal election: Keep an eye on these ridings

Voters will go to the polls in 32 municipal ridings across Cape Breton on Oct. 15. In Richmond County and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, there will be races in every riding.

One of the more interesting battles will be for mayor of CBRM, which is essentially a rematch of 2012

Gina Stanley, Clayton Smith and Dave Wilson are some of the candidates running in the upcoming municipal election. (Joan Weeks/Facebook/Gary Mansfield)

Voters will go to the polls in 32 municipal ridings across Cape Breton on Oct. 15. In Richmond County and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, there will be races in every riding.

District 10 in Cape Breton Regional Municipality

The district comprises Dominion, Gardiner Mines and large portions of Glace Bay and Reserve Mines.

Former MLA Dave Wilson filed his nomination papers at the last minute to enter a race with long-time former councillor Darren Bruckschwaiger and businessman Brian Shaw.

Wilson resigned as the MLA for Glace Bay in 2010 due to a gambling addiction, which led him to defraud the province of $61,000 to support his habit — resulting in four months in jail.

Ex-MLA Dave Wilson, jailed in the provincial government expense scandal, is running for municipal office in District 10 in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Claiming that his addiction has been dealt with through extensive counselling, Wilson said he wants people to give him a second chance. He is now a community radio broadcaster.

For Bruckschwaiger, who served on council for 24 years, this could be seen as a second chance, as well.

He resigned his seat suddenly in September 2014 to take a job out west as a labourer. He said he made the decision for financial reasons.

After working in Fort McMurray for 18 months, he returned to Dominion, saying he had achieved his financial goals and was now home for good — even if he didn't win political office.

Brian Shaw is the new face in the contest, but he's well-known in the business community as the manager of two Pharmasave stores.

Darrell Flynn of Glace Bay was the councillor for the riding, but died in July after suffering from pnuemonia.

District 2 in Cape Breton Regional Municipality

District 2, which includes most of North Sydney and some surrounding rural communities, could see some sparks fly during the election campaign.

The sale by CBRM of a prominent downtown North Sydney property known as Archibald's Wharf caused a great deal of controversy. Hundreds of local people were upset the land was sold to Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd. to expand its dry dock.

CBRM council's unpopular decision to sell Archibald's Wharf on North Sydney's waterfront to Canadian Maritime Engineering will be a hot issue during the municipal election campaign. (CBC)

Opponents argued it was approved by municipal council without a proper public hearing. Earlene MacMullin of North Sydney, a candidate in this election, was one of the most vocal opponents of the process. She works with Marine Atlantic in North Sydney.

There are five other hopefuls in District 2:

  • Bill MacDonald — the owner of MacDonald's Denture Clinic in North Sydney.
  • Diane Power — works for Bell Aliant and is also actively involved in the Nova Scotia Home and School Association, and the Canadian Home and School Federation.
  • Clayton Smith — is a continuing care assistant.
  • Lloyd Wilkie — is retired from Marine Atlantic and last served as terminal manager.
  • Wally March — is a commissionaire.

District 2 (D'Escousse/West Arichat) in the Municipality of Richmond County

This riding gained prominence in recent times because of some bad blood over issues such as:

Warden Victor David, who was a staunch defender of Richmond maintaining the 10 municipal districts, is running against Nova Scotia power employee Marcel Boudreau, NSCC instructor Larry Keating, Coun. Alvin Martell and Gina Stanley, a physical education teacher who made headlines earlier this year as she campaigned door-to-door by bicycle.

Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Essentially a rematch of the 2012 vote, Rankin MacSween is seeking to supplant Cecil Clarke as the political leader of CBRM. 

MacSween is president of the economic development agency, New Dawn Enterprises. He lost to Clarke by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2012.

Rankin MacSween is running against Mayor Cecil Clarke for a second time. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Back then, Clarke ran on a platform he titled Reorganizational Plan for Positive Change, in which he outlined his vision of social and economic development for the next four years. This time around, his platform contains 100 points he plans to present to council if he is wins again. 

It contains suggestions for everything from growing the economy to making government information more accessible. Barely mentioned is Sydney's port, which has been a large part of Clarke's strategy for growing CBRM.

MacSween is countering with a campaign he calls We Can Do Better. He claims Clarke has fallen short of his goal, and questions his methods of trying to achieve commercialization of the harbour, which MacSween sees as less than transparent.

MacSween vows to make harbour development a transparent process if he's elected mayor.


Hal Higgins

News Editor

Hal Higgins is a reporter and editor at CBC Cape Breton. He has been with the CBC for 36 years, during which he has also been a host of several radio programs.

With files from Susan Bradley and Richard Woodbury