Along the Trail: Elec­tion '17

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - CHUCK THOMP­SON

By the time you read this, the elec­tion of ’17 will be toast. Or maybe not. Re­counts sel­dom change fi­nal re­sults, but one never knows. I am sure Jamie Bail­lie says his prayers ev­ery night ask­ing for just one suc­cess­ful re­count. No mat­ter how stud­ied and an­a­lyzed the mod­ern elec­tions are, they are still a crap shoot. Kind of like Chase the Ace times 51. Just ask Michele Sam­son who was the MLA for Rich­mond County since the Bras d” or Lakes turned to salt.

The re­turn of Keith Bain was widely pre­dicted, and only the size of his ma­jor­ity pro­vided the slight­est sur­prise. No doubt there was, and is, up­set at the Mcneil govern­ment’s ap­proach to health care. Com­bine that with the teacher’s anger and the demise of Ms. Eyk­ing was in the cards. Many peo­ple com­plained at the un­re­spon­sive­ness from her of­fice and this no doubt trans­lated into re­newed sup­port for Mr. Bain. Though in fair­ness to Mr. Bain, he started cam­paign­ing the day af­ter he lost in 2013. He was on Face­book more than Peter Mans­bridge and the CBC; the only thing miss­ing was the fudge recipes.

Cape Bre­ton, as it has done so for many years both provin­cially and fed­er­ally, went against the tide and elected a strong, ro­bust op­po­si­tion.

There is a long hon­oured say­ing that Cape Bre­ton­ers should vote the next day so they can get it right. It might be ar­gued that Cape Bre­ton has not ex­actly been a pot of gold with both a fed­eral and pro­vin­cial Lib­eral govern­ment in power. I don’t want to sound like a “down with the cause­way” kind of per­son, but our lit­tle prov­ince has be­come to­tally Hal­i­fax driven. That is un­der­stand­able given the pop­u­la­tion and eco­nomic growth that is oc­cur­ring there, but in

the “good old day”, there was a lit­tle more bal­ance. As I watched elec­tion night coverage, I could not help but re­flect on the fact that not so many years ago, Syd­ney had both a CBC and CTV full-time tele­vi­sion sta­tion. Past elec­tion nights would see var­i­ous lo­cal re­porters in many dif­fer­ent head­quar­ters pro­vid­ing in­sights into how things were un­fold­ing. With the ex­cep­tion of both net­works at the head­quar­ters of Mcneil and Bail­lie, there was not one other reporter out in the “boonies”: ru­ral Nova Sco­tia. How many times did CBC and CTV in­ter­view some sup­porter at some rid­ing in HRM? If the re­sults had been de­layed another hour, we would have the life his­tory of ev­ery jan­i­tor in the city. The best ex­am­ple of all of this was the doc­tor’s rally in Cape Bre­ton which should have been on ev­ery­one’s radar. Had it oc­curred in the HRM, there would have been con­tin­u­ous, blan­ket coverage. In­stead, the doc­tors got one Skype call to CBC. Scan­dalous.

Things do change, and to com­plain is to holler into the wind. So long as the in­dus­trial base re­mains gut­ted in Cape Bre­ton, noth­ing will change. The mines are gone (mostly,) the fish plants are gone, and the steel plant is now a park. The pop­u­la­tion has spi­raled down­ward and our in­flu­ence con­tin­ues to wane. I was struck with the fact that CTV had both for­mer Cape Bre­ton pre­miers on one of their pan­els. I won­der how long be­fore we see another ca­per Pre­mier? “Down with the cause­way!” Who said that?

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