Skabar out to prove 2009 was no fluke

Darrell Cole
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NDP candidate hoping for some déjà vu

AMHERST – For the last four years, Brian Skabar has been trying to position Cumberland North for a prosperous future.

AMHERST – For the last four years, Brian Skabar has been trying to position Cumberland North for a prosperous future.

Skabar made history in 2009 when he became the first ever NDP MLA for Cumberland North. He wants to repeat the feat and prove it wasn’t a fluke when voters elected him with more than 40 per cent of the popular vote.

“Personally, I want to prove it wasn’t a fluke the first time. There were a number of factors in 2009 that are a lot different now,” Skabar said. “It’s harder to defend a government than attack it even though we have done as good a job as could be done under the circumstances.”

Now that the budget has been balanced, Skabar said a new NDP government will be able to accomplish more of the things it set out to do in 2009 but found it could not because of the state of the province’s finances.

Skabar said power rates are important to families and business and he firmly believes the Maritime Link project is best for Nova Scotia in that it will deliver stable energy prices once the dependence on fossil fuels is ended.

“The rate will be stable for 35 years. Yes, power rates went up 33 per cent over the last four years, but when the price of coal goes up 75 per cent over the last six it’s understandable for the price of power to go up,” he said. “It behooves me that freezing power rates is ever going to happen because either Nova Scotia Power will go bankrupt or the government will have to pay for it.”

He said the Liberal idea of breaking the monopoly won’t work either since it was tried and failed in other areas.

The 61-year-old former federal civil servant says it’s important to maintain local health authorities.

“I think it’s an absolute travesty to consider collapsing the health authorities into a single health authority in Halifax,” he said. “Having lived in Amherst for 25 years I’m fed up with jobs moving outside the community. This would be another example of this, but I also don’t think the community would be well served by moving the office to Halifax.”

Skabar said the province’s decision to enter the paving business has brought down the cost of paving roads in Nova Scotia.

Skabar said the last four years have been good ones for the province in other ways. He said the government has increased dental care for children and placed more of a focus on improving literacy among the province’s youth. It has also worked to bring about more affordable housing.

Locally, he said, the province has supported the area with investments in PolyCello, IMP Aerostructures and LED Roadway Lighting, and more recently in the expansion at NSCC Amherst and Advantage Communications’ expansion in Amherst.

“The province of Nova Scotia has been well served by this government. I’m proud to have been a part of it and glad to have been able to make a contribution,” Skabar said.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia, Cumberland North Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Graham Johnston
    September 15, 2013 - 14:13

    With respect to Mr Skabar: This election is about confidence, trust, fiscal management and healthcare. His government was elected on a promise of no tax increases. Despite this, they immediately increased the HST from 13% to 15% which had a profoundly negative effect on families, businesses and jobs. The massive infusion of revenue from their HST tax grab was squandered by the NDP, resulting in frightening deficits each and every year that added $2 billion to the provincial debt in just four years. For generations to come, our grandchildren and theirs will be paying the interest on the NDP’s mismanagement of the economy in the last four years. Despite all this, the NDP are content to soldier on with the same failed policies promising more of the same. It’s time for change and we need to look beyond blind political rhetoric like Mr Skabar’s for real and credible solutions. For one, I find it compelling that John MacDonald, a political candidate in Tatamagouche, advocates a reasonable solution to the healthcare crisis through RHA amalgamation. MacDonald is probably better qualified that any other provincial candidate or leader in this election - in any party - to speak to this issue. He is lawyer with advanced education in political science, economics and public administration. He is also chairman of the Colchester-East Hants Health Authority and he has led his community through construction of a new hospital. Despite his success from the inside heading up a large RHA, he favours amalgamation. He is determined to enhance community and family health while preserving local healthcare jobs. That’s something Mr Skabar’s NDP team has tried to accomplish for four years with only a pattern of failure to show. We now need to look to the Liberals or Conservatives to return to sound management. For the record, I neither support Mr MacDonald or his Conservatives this election.