Hunter continues war of words with Fage

Darrell Cole
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Tory candidate accuses Independent of misleading public

AMHERST - The war of words between former Conservative Ernest Fage and Cumberland North PC candidate Keith Hunter has spilled over from last week's all candidates forum.

Hunter said he's been told discussions about the future of the Cumberland County Correctional Centre began in 2006 when Fage was in caucus and a member of cabinet. The Tory candidate feels Fage is misleading voters to say otherwise.

"Ernie was still a member of the PC caucus at the time. If he didn't know about it he should have," Hunter said. ""If he knew about it he should have done something about it. I knew about it, but as warden of Cumberland County my obligation, at that time, was to serve all residents of the county so I was obliged to remain neutral."

Hunter's quarrel with Fage began during Thursday's debate when he said surveying of the Springhill property that's poised to become home to the new jail was done in 2007. Fage questioned Hunter's dates saying it happened in 2008, but Hunter said the survey contract was awarded the previous November and conceptual drawings soon followed.

"Maybe Ernie wants to suggest the survey was completed in 2008, but I believe that if survey work is underway and architects have done drawings that is a pretty good sign that construction will follow," Hunter said. "I don't blame Murray Scott for going after the jail, but our MLA, whether in government, opposition or as an Independent should have been making a lot of noise for us in Cumberland North."

Fage responded Monday by again questioning Hunter's timeline, saying the first strong indication he received about the potential move was through the media earlier this year.

"Keith's timeline is certainly well off," Fage said. "I spoke to (Justice Minister) Cecil Clarke soon after it appeared in the paper and he told me there were no decisions made on the jail. When I looked deeper into it all I could find was speculation."

Hunter said Fage should have been like the town crier on the jail issue, but accused him of being quiet.

The Tory candidate also took issue with Fage's comment during the debate that he didn't ask a question of the government because he sat on the same side of the legislature and was observing parliamentary tradition.

"It won't matter where in the House I sit after this election, but if I am the MLA I will rise and I will speak loud and clear for Cumberland North," Hunter said, adding he wants his politics to be about the positive things happening in the riding. "However, voters are faced with a decision and need to know the facts. Sometimes that forces me to point out facts about others I don't like to, but it is important for the voters to know so they can make an informed decision."

Fage countered that Hunter himself has admitted working closely with Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott, something that could be bad news for Cumberland North.

"If the jail is the kind of decision we can expect from Keith working closely with Murray, we could be in trouble in Cumberland North," Fage said.

Organizations: Cumberland North PC, Tory, Cumberland County Correctional Centre

Geographic location: Cumberland North, AMHERST, Cumberland County

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Recent comments

  • douggie b
    January 18, 2010 - 11:19

    THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB GETS IN THAT EVERY ONE GETS OUT AND VOTES . that was the vote at timmies today over 3 coffie i tea and a box of bits total with tip 7.50 every vote counts good luck to all ps no more tim bits for keith

  • Another speck on the wall
    January 18, 2010 - 11:15

    Upset about working closely with our neighbor?! What kind of come back is that?

  • EColi
    January 18, 2010 - 11:07

    No longer a need for a provincial government. HRM and it's counterpart on CB act much like a duplicate government. Two more regional municipalities, one coverning Northern NS and the other, the South Shore and there would be no more need for this third layer of government.

    The UK only has two layers of government. Why do we need three?

  • amherstguy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:04

    Excellent point Mrs. Murphy. Those who posted comments to the contrary were obviously not at the forum last week. To think that the others will do ok is a perfect example of the head in the sand . Some of the candidates, and I am sure that they know who they are, were down right embarrassing. I actually did feel sorry for one or two of them. Certainly nerves can get the best of all of us but you should know about the problems that do exist in our area.

  • Debra-Dawn
    January 18, 2010 - 11:03

    i have an analogy for how i view politics...

    it is like a gasoline fire...

    the INdependant, liberal, nD and PC groups all are doing the only thing they know how:

    throwing water on it...

    Then come along the Green Party with some Aqueous Film Forming Foam...

    everyone laughs at them except for the people that TRUELY want change...

    And if the Green Party gets the opportunity to use the foam it will shut up all the naysayers...


    Go GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mrs. Murphy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:02

    I beleive what Mr. Fage is saying about the jail, as he would know. It's very easy to say if I was the MLA, or if I had been the MLA. Mr. Fage is the best MLA we've had to date and he has the passion and drive to keep things coming to this riding. He has always delivered and he will continue to do so. All the people, organizations, businesses and companies who have called on him in the past years, will not forget. I'm giving him a chance to prove he can deliver as he has for 12 years. Only those with political inteligence know Fage is our best ticket to get things done here. You are all witness to his determination, not a man to back away from what he beleives in and that's the kind of man we need.

  • Ed
    January 18, 2010 - 10:56

    Why vote for either? Do we really expect things to change or get any better by A) electing the same party or B) electing the same guy who got himself kicked out of cabinet and caucus because of questionable conduct?
    We desperately need a new voice, and I'm beginning to think more and more that its the NDP. Especially after watching Brent Noiles at the Forum. Uggh.
    Go Skabar, I guess. He seems to be the last reasonable candidate we have and I hope he gets a shot.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    The real truth here is this type of back stabbing is actually quite appaling when you stop to think about it. Old style politicians seem to think the only way to make themself look good is to make everyone else look worse?? It's sad to think they believe we are that uneducated. Why can't they just tell us what they will do for us as a party and leave the other guys platform alone........Let them win or lose on their own merits and promises not by underhanded tactics such as this.
    All I can say to the Mr Skabar and Mr Noiles is ...Keep it clean gents and let these other two dinosaurs fall on their pointed words!! Show us your platforms and we will let you know who's number has been drawn to carry them out.
    Finally to the people of Cumberland North...please forget how you voted the last number of times and watch the provincial trend....lets try to be on the winning side for a change....we have alienated ourselves long enough and it would be nice to back a winner for a change.

  • Moriarty
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    old boys club guy:

    Are you delusional??

    You really think Fage has 'the open net'?

    You think either of these clowns have a shot at at all?

    I think you need to check what they're puttin' in your coffee at the Timmies, because it's obivious to everyone that Skabar's the way to go.

  • uncle bobby
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    Voting for someone to represent Cumberland North is like trying to find the best fish in a barrel of pickled herring. No reflection on good old Ernie. In fact, there isn't a natural leader in any of the porkers trying for the top position. Guys like Robert Stanfield, Henry Hicks didn't fool around. They told you like it is. We also need people with charisma, not the Socialist Tribes we have today.

  • Cesar
    January 18, 2010 - 10:47

    All Keith has to do is look at his fellow PCs on council to see why the jail is going to Springhill. If I remember reading in the ADN , PC president and fellow councilor Kellegrew was quoted as saying I don't care where the jail goes , as long as it doesn't go to Springhill . What else could Murray do but to give it to his loyal subjects. And Keith should have had the party toss his president out of office right then and there.

  • know it all
    January 18, 2010 - 10:40

    well burt and ernie are at it again - maybe bigbird will intervene , it is hard to believe that two grown men could act in this manner in public , brent is the man to vote for - young - smart and no skeletons in the closet - go brent go

  • Bob
    January 18, 2010 - 10:39

    I'd much prefer it if Keith Hunter and Ernie Fage, fought wrestling style like that infamous scene in the movie Borat.

  • not terribly interested
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    I was involved in a Cumberland county political survey last night on the phone. It raised my awarenss.
    I believe Rodney MacDonald is the best person for the job. (provincially) I didn't even recognize the liberal leader's name and Darrell cries the blues too often for me. My delima, I like Ernie locally but can't support the party unless I vote for the other guy.

  • old boys club member
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    after our meeting at timmies the out come was that hunter is a lose canon .lighting the fuse befor loading it with the proper amo .final tallie to date the pc are hoping for a hat trick and can,t see the boot coming and fage got a open net .BRING HOME THE GOLD

  • booo
    January 18, 2010 - 10:30

    Hunter is desperate...but he will always be safe here in the ADN

  • Baloney
    January 18, 2010 - 10:30

    Here are the results of this morning's Amherst Daily unofficial poll: Kinda says it all. Good bye to the old dinosaur style politician, you all know who you are ....

    . Green (2%)
    · Independent (13%)
    · Liberal (13%)
    · New Democrat (48%)
    · Progressive Conservative (24%)