AMHERST – Despite some challenges provincially and nationally, Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong feels 2012 was a successful year across his riding.
“One of my big focuses since first being elected was to take full advantage of the stimulus package to keep people working, especially in the trades, and we’ve seen plenty of examples of that,” Armstrong said in a year-end interview with the Amherst Daily News. “We’ve been able to access money to partner with our municipal partners to keep their programs moving forward and I think we’ve been very successful, particularly in Cumberland County, with working with our local communities and keeping some of those projects working and providing employment.”
Looking back at the past year in Cumberland County, Armstrong said he’s pleased the Advocate sea wall project, something that has been a priority for him since he was first elected in a byelection, moving through its second phase.
Armstrong said the sea wall is now stronger than it has ever been and he’s looking forward to the second phase being completed in the next few weeks. He said it will bring security from the elements and storm surges from the Bay of Fundy that have been threatening the community since a storm breached the natural sea wall several years ago.
The Conservative MP is pleased with the completion of the $12-million sewage treatment plant near Amherst and the Sprott Power wind project on the marsh near town. He’s also happy with funding that was supplied to an aquaculture firm in Advocate Harbour that will protect important jobs in a small, rural community.
He said there was a gas tax announcement to enable Springhill to upgrade its wastewater facilities and there was renewed federal support for the third phase of the Thinker’s Lodge upgrade in Pugwash.
Armstrong said he’s looking forward to Cumberland County becoming a leader in the production of green energy, applauding the county and its municipal partners in Springhill and Parrsboro for their new green energy strategy.
He’s also pleased with the ongoing work to develop tidal power in the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro and the opening of an interpretive centre just outside the community.
“There are lots of opportunities for Atlantic Canada to become a leader in the production of green energy, something that will hopefully keep our power rates down and allow us to export excess power to the United States,” he said.
Armstrong admitted there will be some belt-tightening at the federal level, but suggested Canada’s economic health will soften the news.
“Most of the austerity packages we saw at the federal level in 2012 for the most part spared this part of the province. We tried to focus mostly on the centre of the country,” he said. “One of the things we were able to do in pushing for a balanced budget by 2015 is avoid any cutting of transfers to the provinces. We know how important these transfers are for health care and education to the provinces.”
He doesn’t see Ottawa moving anytime soon to raise taxes.