Poll shows nearly half of Cape Bretoners want to separate from N.S.
SYDNEY, N.S. -- Should Cape Breton Island become Canada's 11th province?
Known for its music, rugged coastline, and breathtaking scenery, Cape Breton Island has been a hit with tourists from around the world.
But for many people who live there, they feel the island should stand alone.
"It's been 200 years since we've been legally annexed by Nova Scotia," said Russ Green. "I think there's a lot of people out there that talk about that."
A recent poll found that nearly half of 500 residents surveyed would welcome the idea of Cape Breton becoming the country's 11th province.
Green is a spokesperson for the Nova Scotians for Equalization Fairness, a group put together because they feel the island doesn't get its fair share of equalization dollars that Nova Scotia receives from the federal government.
"We're a little upset that 26.8 per cent of that yearly transfer is provided to address the tax capacity related to property and the Nova Scotia provincial government is not using it for that reason," Green said.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has seen better days and Green says property taxes are some of the highest in the country, while infrastructure in some areas is failing and the unemployment rate is high.
While many think Cape Breton would be better off separating from Nova Scotia, it's much easier said than done.
"Any type of move to have Cape Breton separate and become its own province or federal territory would require a constitutional amendment," said David Johnson, a political science professor at Cape Breton University.
He says people have been talking about Cape Breton Island separating for more than 25 years.
"Our issue is to get pressure put on the provincial government to deal with internal equalization and we are terribly under-serviced in that respect," Johnson said.
Johnson says anyone waiting for the island to separate should not hold their breath -- he says it will never happen.