Looking toward good news year for Cumberland North
Terry Farrell became the first Liberal to be elected MLA in Cumberland North since the late Ross Bragg was elected in 1993. Farrell is looking ahead to a busy 2014 for the riding and the province.
AMHERST – Terry Farrell has one big reason to look back fondly at 2013.
The longtime Amherst lawyer became the first Liberal to win in Cumberland North in 20 years, ending the riding’s four-year experiment with the NDP.
“It was a great year for me. It was definitely a new experience with a new set of challenges. It’s something that I have really enjoyed sinking my teeth in and something that I’m prepared to work hard at,” Farrell said, looking back at the October provincial election in which he won 2,944 votes to win the seat. “The excitement of winning the election was beyond anything I can describe. It was amazing and humbling at the same time to think so many people have placed their confidence in me.”
Farrell’s election was part of a Liberal sweep of the province that saw the party returned to power for the first time since 1998 with a majority government that left the governing New Democrats with a just a handful of seats and saw the Progressive Conservatives, under Jamie Baillie, become the official opposition.
When he first sought the nomination earlier in 2013, Farrell was confident of his chances of winning the seat – even though the Liberals had not fared well in the previous elections when Conservative Ernest Fage was the MLA or in 2009 when Brent Noiles finished a distant fourth behind New Democrat Brian Skabar.
“Right from the beginning I had a lot of confidence in my chances. I had a great team behind me all the way,” he said. “I didn’t get in it to lose. I wouldn’t have put all this effort into offering my name if the time wasn’t right.”
Looking back at 2013, Farrell said there were some tough times in Cumberland North, but there’s plenty of room for optimism looking forward. He said the election was about change and he’s prepared to be part of that.
“We’re in a really good position to move forward and change some fundamental things that are going to work to our advantage down the road,” Farrell said. “I have some ideas for the riding that I’m discussion with members of cabinet and the premier that will strengthen us economically and help us move forward.
“The last few years we have really suffered from an overabundance of negative attention from the previous government. As a general statement I want to shift that focus and see some help from government instead of being kicked by the government.”
He’s looking forward to construction of the new West Highlands Elementary and the replacement of the aboiteau on the LaPlanche River. He also hopes to see more jobs created.
Farrell understands the frustration in the business community about the HST, but said the tax can’t be lowered until the budget is in better shape. He said lowering the tax was an NDP promise based on faulty information. It’s not one the new government can follow.
“We didn’t say we were going to reduce the HST. We’d like to reduce the HST, but unfortunately for two or three years we’re going to have to put our heads down and bite the bullet. The province has to be in better shape,” Farrell said.
He said he is making the premier and cabinet aware of how this issue and things like gas and tobacco prices are impacting Cumberland County.