© Christopher Gooding photo
Cumberland South NDP riding association president Larry Duchesne is stepping up to become the party’s candidate tonight in what will be one of the province’s hotly contested ridings when the next provincial election is called.
SPRINGHILL – The president of the Cumberland South NDP riding association will take on the role of local candidate tonight.
President and River Philip resident Larry Duchesne confirmed he will accept the nomination tonight, which he described as a formality.
“We won’t be taking names from the floor,” Duchesne explained. “It’s just a formality procedure at this point.”
As president, Duchesne issued a call for nominations and the riding association was seeking potential candidates but since that time has expired, Duchesne chose to step up and take on the responsibility himself.
“It was always in the back of my mind if no name came forward [that I would run],” Duchesne said in a pre-campaign stop in Brookdale, where he and Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar called on the Brookdale one-room school reunion on Friday.
Duchesne became a permanent resident of the area in 2010, after summering in River Hebert since 2003 when he bought a home there. A journalist in the 1970s and 1980s, he turned to education for the remainder of his years before calling Cumberland County home.
There is strong speculation the Nova Scotia government is close to calling an election and Duchesne’s nomination is one of the final pegs needed on the board for the three major political parties to be ready for the campaign trail in Cumberland South. Duchesne says he is ready to defend the NDP government when it seeks re-election.
“We’ll be campaigning on the provincial platform, looking at the local issues and getting familiar with more local issues,” he said. “I think [the NDP] deserve re-election. The Liberals seem ahead in the polls but I don’t think that matters. Darrell Dexter [Nova Scotia’s premier] is a good leader, so I’m optimistic.”
Under Dexter’s leadership, the NDP formed the provincial government in 2009 for the first time in the party’s history. Not long after their ascension, the NDP fell out of favour with many, including then-president of former candidate Don Tabor, when the government cancelled the construction of a new provincial jail in Springhill announced by the former Rodney MacDonald PC government and moved it to the riding of Pictou Centre.
Nonetheless, Cumberland South has received a lot of attention from the government, including the construction of new bridges on Highway 2 in Springhill Junction and Little Forks, new paving and renovations to area schools.
The Cumberland South riding is presently held by Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie, who won his seat over Liberal candidate Kenny John Jackson in a 2010 by-election when incumbent Murray Scott stepped down. Jackson remains the Liberal candidate and Baillie confirmed he will continue to run as the Cumberland South candidate in the next election.