Six candidates vying to be one of Cumberland’s two MLAs

Darrell Cole
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Will Skabar hold Cumberland North for NDP, can Baillie repeat in Cumberland South?

Six candidates hope to secure two seats in Cumberland County.

AMHERST – And they’re off.

After several months of campaigning unofficially, Cumberland County’s six declared candidates have hit the trail trying to secure enough votes to represent the area’s two ridings in Halifax in early October.

Premier Darrell Dexter ended several weeks of furious speculation over the weekend when he dissolved his majority government after four years and set Oct. 8 as the date of the next provincial election.

“I’ve been out campaigning pretty hard unofficially for the last three months, it’s nice to be doing it for real,” said incumbent Cumberland North NDP candidate Brian Skabar.

Skabar shocked the political world locally four years ago when he became the first ever NDP MLA for Cumberland North. He’s out to prove it wasn’t a fluke.

“On a personal level I want to prove it wasn’t a fluke last time. There were a number of factors in 2009 that are a lot different now, one of which it’s a lot easier to attack a government than defend it. But, I’m absolutely of the belief that we’ve done as good a job as could be done under the circumstances.”

The former federal civil servant with Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs, Skabar sees several issues as being key in the riding. One of the biggest issues to him is health-care administration. He fears a Liberal or Conservative government would take decision-making out of Cumberland County and move it to  Halifax.

“It would be a travesty of the Cumberland Health Authority was collapsed into a single or two health authorites in Halifax,” Skabar said. “I hate it when jobs move to Truro or Halifax and this would be another case of this. I also don’t think health care would be well served being run out of Halifax.”

He’s also a big supporter of the proposed Maritime Link project that would see hydroelectric power taken from Muskrat Falls in Labrador to Nova Scotia through an undersea cable.

Terry Farrell hopes to become the first Liberal to win the riding since the late Ross Bragg in 1993.

Farrell, a lawyer with Hicks-LeMoine, sees power rates as the biggest issue in the riding.

“Power rates have gone up 30 per cent in the last several years, but people’s incomes haven’t gone up. It’s something that I’m hearing at almost every place I stop,” Farrell said.

The other big issues is jobs. He said the government has given too much money to big corporations while not focusing on small business.

He also said he considers himself the only local candidate in that he was born and raised in Amherst.

“I am a local candidate, having been born here and living 40 of my 52 years here,” he said.

Judi Giroux hopes to return the riding to the Conservative fold. Giroux, who is on a leave of absence from her job as MP Scott Armstrong's constituency assistant, said she’s familiar with the issues and has spent more than a year crisscrossing the riding listening to what the voters have to say.

She said the state of the roads is the biggest issue she’s hearing.

“The roads are in terrible shape. I’d say four of five people I talk to are complaining about the road,” she said. “We’re so far behind with our paving.”

The economy is also a big issue. Giroux said government needs to stop the flow of Nova Scotians of all ages to jobs and opportunity in Alberta.

“It’s not just young people,” she said. “I was talking to a man who is 57. He told me he’s been going back and forth out west for 10 years now because there is no job here for him.”

In Cumberland South, it will be a rematch of the 2010 byelection when PC Party leader Jamie Baillie defeated Liberal Kenny John Jackson to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of longtime MLA and cabinet minister Murray Scott.

Larry Duchese, who was the leader of the NDP on Prince Edward Island, is representing the party this time.

Baillie said one of the biggest local issues to him is the ongoing delays with the renovation at River Hebert District High School.

“My Number 1 priority in Cumberland South is getting that school done. With that project completed we’ll have the infrastructure in place to attract new families,” Baillie said.

The PC leader said he’s pleased that he was able to convince government to finish the Lower Maccan Road and replace the Springhill Junction Bridge, there’s more to do.

As much as River Hebert’s school is an issue, Baillie is also worried for the future of Wentworth Elementary and the slow pace of renovations at Springhill High.

Jackson is concerned about the future of health-care in Cumberland South and is worried about the high cost of power rates.

“If I’m elected I’ll make a push for greater use of tidal power from the Bay of Fundy and I’ll be pushing to have the repair work done locally instead of sending it to another part of Canada,” Jackson said. “That will create local jobs here.”

Jackson said he has been campaigning non-stop since the 2010 byelection and feels he has been the person people in the riding call for help.

“I’ve stuck with it and dealt with several issues that should have been dealt with by our MLA,” Jackson said. “People know they can call me at any hour of the day or night and I’ll help them.”

As MLA, Jackson said he would look after the riding and let Stephen McNeil look after the province.

Like Baillie, Duchesne sees River Hebert’s school situation as being a pivotal issue.

He also said it would be nice to have an NDP MLA on the government side of the legislature.

The Green Party and the Atlantica Party have yet to nominate candidates in either riding.

Twiter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Health Canada, Cumberland Health Authority, PC Party River Hebert District High School PC The Green Party Atlantica Party

Geographic location: Halifax, Cumberland South, AMHERST Cumberland County Cumberland North Truro Labrador Nova Scotia River Hebert Alberta Lower Maccan Road Bay of Fundy Canada

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Recent comments

  • Graham Johnston
    September 13, 2013 - 09:35

    Come on Ted, get real! None of the senior executive positions is volunteer. Not one! That body includes a CEO, four VPs, a COS, and a handful of directors and support staff - all of whom are paid handsomely. All are currently valuable employees, I’m sure. However, under a new administrative system most would be redundant. No jobs would be lost to Truro or anywhere else. The huge salary savings – tens of millions of dollars across the province - would fund a significantly enhanced level of family health care. Your (NDP) position that the status quo should be maintained is ludicrous. It’s unsustainable. Last year the NDP had a $350 million operating deficit. Since they were elected, the NDP have ballooned the provincial debt by an obscene $ 2 BILLION. Clearly the NDP have failed at managing the provinces finances and health care and have no credible idea how to fix either. - Graham Johnston.

    • Ted
      September 14, 2013 - 09:01

      I'm confused, so under McNeil and Baillie's plans to cut local health care people would be made redundant...but no jobs would be lost to Truro or Halifax? I think there's a misunderstanding there of what it means to be made redundant. To clarify, redundancy means you're fired because we want someone else somewhere else to do your job. And it means jobs lost to Halifax (or Truro). This is shaping up to be one of the central issues of this campaign. Both opposition parties, but especially the Liberals, have completely miscalculated here and all of the ranting of partisan online posters (here and on The CH website) won't change that. On Oct 8, I'm voting to save our local health care!

  • Graham Johnston
    September 12, 2013 - 09:22

    Mr Skarbar’s worry about job loss to Truro and Halifax is hollow political rhetoric. Both parties in opposition intend to flatten current RHA administration. There would be job loses at the senior executive level but that’s the whole point- downsizing to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Eliminating dozens of CEOs and VPs will free up scarce health care dollars to enhance hospital and health programs at the community level. Consultation with community boards, coupled with better reporting, will ensure best interests of local communities and may, in fact, improve local input. Mr Skabar is well aware of this intention from press reports clarifying both Liberal and Conservative positions. The current RHA system is expensive and unsustainable. Increasingly we see programs and services eroded to fund bloated executive salaries. It's refreshing to see two parties at least working at finding solutions. Mr Skabar's party is well aware the current system is unsustainable yet the NDP have no plan whatsoever to deal with the crisis in healthcare.

    • Ted
      September 12, 2013 - 12:58

      No plan? I'd say the CECs are quite the plan for healthcare. A successful one that's being copied by other (conservative) provincial governments. The Cumberland RHA is not top heavy with executives, it's mostly made up of volunteers. Mr. Farrell and Ms. Giroux's parties want to cut them for minimal (negligible really) savings while making the people of Cumberland county have to deal with Truro or Halifax for their healthcare needs. I say no thank-you! I want to keep my local authority!

  • Gerry
    September 11, 2013 - 08:47

    So Brian Skabar says he hates to see jobs leave cumberland county but he never issued one peep when his party stole both the new jail and it's jobs from cumberland county or the Maintenance Enforcement jobs from Amherst. Ross Landry will get re-elected because of the jail and its jobs going to his riding and Deputy Premier Frank Corbett whom by the way Dexter was visiting this past weekend for his nomination will get re-elected because it was his riding that got the Maintenance Enforcement jobs plus NDP member Sterling Belliveau got both the Ferry back and the Fisheries job moved out of Halifax to his riding. If you count Mr. Skabars government giving money to millionaires like Poly Cello or LED Roadway what else has the NDP done in Cumberland County but steal good paying government jobs. Every part of the province except Cumberland County received some of Dexters jobs or money but here. What good did it do cumberland county to have an NDP member here when the rest of the NDP party stole the jail and other government jobs right from under their own members nose to make sure other NDP members got re-elected.People are right the Nova Scotia border does stop in Truro. The school in River Hebert that was promised has not happened and the West Highlands school that was promised in 2009 is a piece of bare land so far. My vote and hopefully many others will not be for the NDP.

    • Ted
      September 11, 2013 - 16:51

      Something tells me Gerry that you probably wouldn't be voting for Brian anyway (just a guess). There's another commenter on here that compared Judi and and Terry to chicken little saying the sky is falling. I think that just about sums it up.

  • Ted
    September 10, 2013 - 12:13

    So, Judi thinks we're far behind on paving eh? Well that's because the PCs & Liberals neglected rural roads a for more than 25 years. I know personally of roads that E Fage swore up and down would get paved and never did. Judi, you're not fooling anyone. As for the guy who's been out west for 10 years, she should have reminded the fella it was HER party in government for most of that time. I didn't believe when people said it about her, but she really doesn't have a clue does she?

    • Karen
      September 10, 2013 - 14:33

      Wow! Ted, it's obvious that you must be a Liberal. they seem to like to make personal attacks on other candidates. I don't know Judi personally however; from what I have seen she is someone who has worked so very hard for the people of Cumberland North not only in her position with our MP's office; but with so many different organizations. It seems to me that Judi has tremendous knowledge, heart and commitment to her community and her job. I for one would be proud and confidant to mark my X next to her name in the upcoming election. Shame on you for being petty enough to call names.

    • BOB
      September 16, 2013 - 11:32

      Karen, id just like to say if you took the time to read the things ted said, you would notice that he is not a liberal, I believe after reading his comments he is NDP(correct me If I'm wrong). So maybe before you talk about people make personal attacks you should read everything they have said. they are also far from personal attacks, this is an election and people have the right to call out candidates on issues, because after all isn't that why they are running is to help the people of Cumberland North with there issues and problems? PS read the news, Liberals, NDP and PC all make personal attacks.