Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley's Conservative candidate Joel Bernard, left, talks with residents in the riding after being appointed as the candidate by the government. Jason Malloy Transcontinental Media
TRURO - Voters have an opportunity to elect a member who will sit on the
government side and get things done locally, says the Conservative candidate
in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.
Joel Bernard said he knows people are divided between supporting Independent
incumbent Bill Casey and the Conservative Party during the election
"This is not about Mr. Casey. It's certainly not about me. It's about this
riding being represented at the table for the next four or five years," he
said in an interview Wednesday morning.
"People want economic development. They know Stephen Harper is going to be
re-elected prime minister and they want to be at the table."
Bernard, who served in Bernard Lord's government in New Brunswick from 1999
to 2003, said it helps "when you're on the right team."
"It's harder when you're in Opposition to get things done," he said.
Bernard's winning of the Nepisiguit riding in northern New Brunswick was
historic, breaking a cycle of Liberal domination since 1897. He was one of
17 Conservative MLAs who lost in the 2003 election, which Bernard said was
won following an auto insurance crisis in the province.
Following his defeat, he left the province for Ottawa and worked at the
bureaucratic level until being hired in February 2006 as a director of
parliamentary affairs in the Public Safety Department. He currently holds
the position as senior policy advisor.
He disputes many peoples' claims that he has been parachuted in to the
"My name came up and they asked me if I would come and these are people
locally, this is not head office in Ottawa," he said frankly.
He believes politics is his calling.
"My desire has always been to serve people," he said. "Some people are
called to be doctors, and some are scientists, they grow up and they have it
in their blood. I wanted to serve the public through a public office."
Bernard is busy getting things set up for the election but has talked to a
number of people in the riding as he tries to determine what the key local issues