Letter to the Editor by Doug Lowry Saltwire - Apr. 12, 2023
Letter originally published here
Open letter to Finance Minister Allan MacMaster:
As you are undoubtedly aware, there has been much discussion surrounding the proposed golf course development at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park.
I have heard arguments – oftentimes, fierce - both in favour and against the proposal but have been hard pressed to find your position on the topic. I am hoping you can make it clear for me.
The proposed golf course at West Mabou Beach seems to be all that anyone is talking about. I hear about it in the news, on social media and pretty well anywhere and everywhere across Cape Breton. Increasingly, the conversations have raised the question, why have our leaders in government avoided, deflected and declined to comment on this important issue? It concerns me that the Progressive Conservative Party has not addressed this topic in any meaningful way. It concerns me even more that, as the representative of the district in which this proposal has been made, you have stated that it is inappropriate for you to comment.
As my representative in government and the candidate that I voted for, it is my expectation, and I believe the expectation of the electorate in general, that this issue would be of primary importance to you and precisely the kind of issue for which your position would be clear.
I appreciate and sympathize with the difficulty of having to take a stance on an issue of this nature, as no matter the position taken, there are sure to be political ramifications. However, you are an elected official and this a democracy. When you solicited my vote for office, I trusted that you would make your position known on important issues, especially those that directly impact your constituents. I assumed this to be the most basic of responsibilities of an elected government official, so I take issue with your silence. Not only is it warranted that your position be made public, but the representation of that position in government is both necessary and expected from those who elected you. I assure you that voters did not cast a ballot for you to say and do nothing on their behalf.
So, which is it?
Is a golf course in West Mabou Beach Provincial Park something that you are willing to consider and support?
If so, what are your justifications and how are you ensuring that the lives of your constituents are improved by this project?
Alternatively, do you oppose the development of a golf course on provincially protected lands?
If this is the case, are your efforts then being directed towards strengthening the protection of Nova Scotia’s provincial park system against future attempts at large scale private development?
MLAs in other districts of the province have not shied away from commenting on the golf course proposal at West Mabou Beach, nor should you. Rest assured you will be hard pressed to find anyone in your district that thinks it inappropriate for you to weigh in.
This is a major political issue facing your constituency, so, please, now is not the time to abdicate your responsibilities. Your leadership is urgently required. There should be no ambiguity on where you stand. Please make your position clear. Thank you in advance for your response and for the work that you’ve done and continue to do for the community and the province.