SPRINGHILL – While growing unemployment continues to be a problem, Cumberland South’s MLA said 2012 wasn’t entirely negative for his ridig.
“I feel very good about the road work and infrastructure work that went on. Cumberland South certainly got its share of the work in 2012,” Jamie Baillie said. “There’s always more to do, but I’m pleased with what did get done.”
The Cumberland South MLA and provincial PC Party Leader said he was pleased with the work that was completed on the Lower Maccan Road after nearly 40 years of waiting, while tenders have been issued for the completion of the River Hebert school.
“It was a rocky year for the school, but we’re ending in the right place,” Baillie said. “It looks as though the project is proceeding.”
Baillie said the year saw the replacement of bridges in both Springhill Junction and in Little Forks, while more paving was done of Route 2 in the Southampton area.
Despite some much needed infrastructure work, Baillie said the area continues to struggle with unemployment. Jobs, he said, are few and far between and too many young people are moving away.
“Those are the things we need to work very hard on in 2013 to turn around,” Baillie said.
The MLA said he was pleased with the arrival of natural gas into Oxford and credited Oxford Frozen Foods for investing in an alternate source of fuel. He is confident natural gas will have other benefits for the community as it works to attract new residents and businesses.
“It will be a great benefit for that employer, but also for the community as a way to promote economic development. It’s something all Nova Scotia could learn from,” Baillie said. “Oxford is showing its leadership on bringing new sources of energy to the community.”
Baillie is pleased with continued development of tidal energy off the Fundy Shore near Parrsboro and feels it’s going to have tremendous benefit to that part of Cumberland County.
“There are projects big and small that are setting us up for future growth, now we just have to get there,” Baillie said.
The Conservative leader said government needs to get away from corporate handouts and use the money to make the economy better for everyone. That includes lower taxes and frozen power rates and using economic resources on things like schools, roads and bridges.
Looking ahead, Baillie expects a provincial election in 2013. He said his New Year’s resolution is to give Nova Scotians and Cumberland South residents a choice between the policies of the Liberals and NDP and his party.
He said he plans to balance the budget and lower the HST while freezing power rates. He feels those actions will help stimulate the economy and get people back to work.
While recent polling has his party sitting in third spot, Baillie remains confident he can win the election.
“I am confident that if people get to know me and the things I believe in, we will continue to gain their support and confidence and be in a very competitive place when the election comes,” Baillie said. “People didn’t know me when I first ran in Cumberland South, but I made it my business to get out to know as many people as I could on their own doorsteps and to speak to them about what we can do to turn the economy around. It worked in Cumberland South and I believe it can work across the province. Wouldn’t it be a great thing to have a premier from Cumberland South.”