SYDNEY, NS — Politicians past and present paid tribute to a former city councilor known for being “passionate about his community”.
Gordon MacLeod served three terms in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, representing what was previously District 14 – North Sydney only – between 2000 and 2012. The area became District 2 in 2012 when CBRM reduced the number of electoral districts from 16 to 12.
MacLeod died Jan. 27 at Northside General Hospital after a two-year battle with heart problems. He was 87 years old.
REACHED IN TIME OF NEED
Prior to becoming District 2 Councilor and Deputy Mayor, Earlene MacMullin recalled reaching out to MacLeod at a time when she needed it badly in her personal life.
“The very first time I called a counselor was when I was 23,” MacMullin said. “I was divorced, had two young children, worked part-time in retail and didn’t know what I was going to do for the future of the children.
“I decided to go back to school and chose a career — information technology — to learn how to use computers and everything. I lived on (income) assistance, which only paid for books. $1,000 fee to accept the trade, and I just didn’t have the extra money. In desperation, I contacted Gordon sobbing on the phone. And he told me to take a deep breath, to keep going to school and everything will be fine.
“And to date, I haven’t received any bills for anything. I think he may have fixed things, I’m not sure. But I give him 1000% credit for changing the course of my life. And it was one of the reasons that sparked my interest in politics.
HELPED CREATE A LIBRARY, A MUSEUM, AN ARENA
During his tenure on the council, MacLeod lobbied for the allocation of federal government departments or agencies to communities within the CBRM. He also led a council motion calling on the federal government to review the Criminal Code and the youth criminal justice system for tougher bullying laws. Locally, MacLeod lobbied for repairs in the Archibald Wharf area, as well as the establishment of a library and museum in North Sydney, and what is now the Emera Center Northside.
MacLeod’s brother Jim also served as an advisor to the CBRM.
“ALWAYS DEDICATED TO CITIZENS”
“He was a guy who always did his homework, always prepared, always did a lot of background research on every issue he dealt with,” said District 10’s Darren Bruckschwaiger, who worked alongside MacLeod not only on the council , but on several committees, including a committee of the Board of Police Commissioners.
“He has always, always been devoted to his citizens. He knew how to take care of the people he represented. But he also had a regional spirit; he could see the big picture.
‘LANYARDS CONVERSATIONS, GOOD ADVICE’
MacLeod also served as Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Police Commission. He also took the time to mentor a new councilor at the time: Derek Mombourquette, who spent four years representing the former District 10 (Shipyard-Sydney River).
“He was one of the first guys I met in my political journey,” said Mombourquette, now MPP for Sydney-Membertou and Liberal Critic for Education and Community Development. early childhood. “I mean, I used to get a history lesson from all the councilors. But with Gordon, I had these long conversations with him and got some really good advice along the way. He was certainly passionate about his community.
– Ian Nathanson is a political reporter at the Cape Breton Post. Follow him on Twitter @CBPost_Ian.