© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
MP for the riding of Beauséjour, Dominic LeBlanc, talked with Cumberland North Liberal candidate Terry Farrell and his wife Nancy during the Cumberland North Liberal AGM and fundraising dinner Thursday night at the Wandlynn Inn in Amherst.
AMHERST - As the keynote speaker, Dominic LeBlanc, MP for the riding of Beauséjour, N.B., talked about the neglect shown to rural Canadian's and rural Nova Scotian's by the Harper and Dexter governments during the Cumberland North Liberal AGM and fundraising dinner Thursday night at the Wandlynn Inn in Amherst.
"We as Liberals recognize that rural regions of a province or a country have every right to have the same high quality jobs and economic opportunities as people who live in the larger urban centres," said Leblanc. "At the end of the day, if you let market forces or bureaucrats in Halifax make decisions they will always want to build up the bigger urban centres.”
He said it's the same with conservative politicians in Ottawa.
"It takes political leadership to say, ‘you know what, the country includes places like Cumberland County,'" said LeBlanc.
With those words, LeBlanc received an ovation.
Asked exactly what he would do to build rural communities, Leblanc said he would decentralize government jobs.
"Not every public service job has to be in Ottawa or Halifax," said LeBlanc. "We have a highly trained and motivated workforce in places like Amherst and Shediac, which I represent."
He also said governments have to do a better job of distributing money to places other than Ottawa, Halifax and other large urban areas.
"Mr. Harper has cut funding for local economic development agencies," said LeBlanc. "Funding in smaller communities has been cut, yet the Department of Industry in Ottawa seems to have all kinds of money for Bombardier and the auto sector.
"Their economies are important but you can't just focus on them," he added. “It's not that simple and it hasn't worked."