Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley candidates gearing up for ‘tight’ race

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BROOKFIELD – If community conversations and the presence of election lawn signs less than a week before the provincial election can be trusted, candidates in the riding of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley could be facing a fight to the finish.

Brookfield resident Daisy Hingley welcomed Colchester Musquodoboit Valley PC candidate Larry Harrison into her home this week during his campaign route. Many signs of support for Harrison are becoming more and more visible in that community. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News

The area’s history has largely been a PC riding. Before NDP candidate Gary Burrill won the riding in 2009, Colchester Musquodoboit had gone Progressive Conservative for the previous six elections (Brooke Taylor, Ken Streatch).

Burrill told the Truro Daily News this week it’s still too early to know what will happen when the votes are counted next Tuesday night, but he anticipates it will be close.

“I expect it will be highly contested, probably close,” said Burrill, adding he’s not worried about the outcome, adding he doesn’t worry about “pockets of strength” by other candidates.

One of those areas appears to be Brookfield, where support seems to be strong for PC candidate Larry Harrison, who is a former United minister and long-time area resident. Although unscientific in nature, a quick drive along many streets in Brookfield resulted in seeing 46 PC signs compared to seven NDP and none for Liberal candidate Tom Martin.

Burrill, also a minister, said that is only one area of the riding and overall, throughout the entire riding which is comprised of 66 communities, he believes the NDP has substantial support.

“Larry Harrison has been a very fine minister in Brookfield for many years. It’s certainly not a surprise to me he’d be very (well accepted) … but the direction the Conservative party left the province in (years ago) was largely counterproductive.”

Burrill said since the NDP claimed the riding, there have been “a number of helpful things” people appreciate including ambulance fees becoming non-applicable for people in low-income situations, income tax relief for seniors on supplements, the collaborative emergency centre initiative at the Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital and improvements in speed and quality in mental health strategies.

Harrison, meanwhile, told this paper it’s encouraging to see a large number of PC signs on voters’ lawns days before the election. Harrison believes he is gaining momentum in his riding because people “are frustrated where the government is now,” without offering specific examples.

“I’m confident those folks are being relatively honest when they say they support me. A lot of people know me and what I stand for.”

Many Brookfield and area voters told this paper they think the riding will return to a ‘blue’ status. Shortts Lake’s Roger Urquhart said Harrison is “definitely making a big push.” “It’s his personal touch. He visited my house and left a brochure with a signature saying, ‘sorry I missed you.’ I’ve seen nothing … from other candidates.”

Brookfield’s Daisy Hingley, who describes herself as a “die-hard Tory,” said she would vote for Harrison “anyway even if he wasn’t with that party” because she feels “he would be honest” with the voters.

Middle Stewiacke’s Norman Eddy believes that it “will be a battle between Larry and the NDP (Burrill) candidate.”

Eddy said Harrison is “popular and was a minister and it should be interesting to see if his popularity will turn into votes” but “Burrill has four years experience and he has been a good leader in my opinion. He’s easy to access and done a good job.”

Liberal candidate Tom Martin said the Liberals are not out of the running by any stretch.

“I think it’s going to be a tight race,” Martin told this paper. “It’s hard to gauge an outcome … it’s a bit premature. I think we are going to see a wave of change in the riding.”

Martin said there are many concerns he hears when talking to the public.

“The biggest concern is health care, seniors and roads. Jobs and education are always going to be there … (but) every second person you talk to brings up roads.”

In Stewiacke, election fever seems to be taking place as well. Stewiacke Coun. Susan Creelman told the paper there are “lots of signs and I hear people commenting about the election. There’s a good representation of everybody.”

Stewiacke Coun. Russel Stoddart refused to comment on anything election related.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

BIOS:

Name: Gary Burrill

Party: NDP

Riding: Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

Age: 58

Resides: Upper Musquodoboit

Born in: Woodstock, N.B.

Political experience: Elected in 2009 as the first NDP MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Priority election issues: Inequality and inadequacy in the riding, especially in regards to employment.

 

Name: Larry Harrison

Party: Progressive Conservative

Riding: Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

Age: 67

Resides: Shortts Lake

Born in: New Brunswick

Political experience: None

Priority election issues: Health care and infrastructure

 

Name: Tom Martin

Party: Liberal

Riding: Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

Age: Not provided

Resides: Dutch Settlement

Priority election issues: Transparency, accountability of elected officials, youth and environmentally and socially sustainable communities

 

 

Organizations: NDP, Truro Daily News, Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital Tory

Geographic location: Colchester, Brookfield, PC Stewiacke Upper Musquodoboit New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • Delphis
    October 04, 2013 - 16:18

    As a long-time reader of the Truro Daily, I'm surprised and disappointed by this article. Where it could have been a thoughtful piece hitting on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, it instead was a few comments from Harrison's neighbours and a description of a drive through Harrison's neighbourhood. Rah rah Progressive Conservatives, with no mention at all about how Harrison seems unwilling to speak openly with his potential constituents - how soon we forget the failure of the Truro Chamber debate. Maybe next time a clearly partisan article is written, the editor will have the good sense to label it an opinion piece.

  • Not voting
    October 04, 2013 - 16:00

    None of them are Brooke Taylor we ain't voting for none of them

  • Curious
    October 04, 2013 - 15:03

    I find it rather curious that this reporter has drawn some serious conclusions based on a drive thru of the hometown of the PC Candidate and speaking to a few folks. Wonder if the same conclusions would be drawn had she toured the hometowns of the other candidates or any of the other communities in this riding. Not to mention the removal of Liberal signage by various parties both known and unknown in higher numbers in the Brookfield area. Hard to draw accurate conclusions on signage numbers when they disappear on a daily basis. The polls suggest her conclusions are significantly wrong. The Liberal Candidate is the front runner for a reason. Vote for the party and platform that best matches your views. Ask each of the candidates direct questions. Then make your informed decisions, not based on this opinion piece.