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Local candidates hit the campaign trail


AMHERST – And they’re off.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Canada’s worst kept secret on Sunday dropping the writ for an Oct. 19 election. The 11-week campaign will be one of the longest in Canadian political history.

In Cumberland-Colchester, candidates for the three major parties are ready to go.

The election will be unique locally in that it pits Conservative Scott Armstrong, the MP at dissolution, against his former mentor Liberal Bill Casey, who was the Conservative and Independent MP from 1988 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2009.

“I have been the MP here for six years and Bill was the MP for many years, but I like to think that I have a very good record of providing for the riding and I want to see that continue. I’ve been a strong force on the government side and I have executive experience, something that Bill never experienced when he was in Ottawa,” Armstrong said. “We have a very strong chance of continuing to be government and the Liberals are sinking into what could be third place. It will be up for the people to decide who they want to best represent them, someone on the government side or someone who could be in third place. I’m prepared to defend my record and Bill as a Liberal has to defend urban Liberal policies like the long gun registry, the carbon tax and the legalization of marijuana.”

Casey said his candidacy is not a personal attack on Armstrong, it’s about defeating the Conservative government that is adding billions to the debt.

“I’m not running against Scott, I’m running against Mr. Harper and the direction he has taken the government,” Casey said. “It isn’t about Scott, it’s about the way the prime minister has changed the level of service to Canadians and how he manipulated the election process in his favour.”

Armstrong said the election is about maintaining momentum on the economy and the security of Canadians.

“We live in a province that’s highly taxed and our commitment to people federally is to have the lowest tax burden,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to keep taxes low, we’re not going to implement a carbon tax that will punish people in rural communities by raising the price of fuel making it more expensive to get product to market. And we’ll continue to focus on economic development.”

He wants to see people return from out west to help grow the economy in Nova Scotia.

Casey said this long campaign is not necessary and will cost millions to hold.

“It doesn’t do anyone any good to have a long election campaign, there’s no point in it,” said Casey. “Everyone knows the candidates, everyone knows the parties and the leaders. We don’t need this long a campaign, it’s just going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars that don’t need to be spent. But, if they call it we’ll be ready.”

Casey said the top issue will be the lack of jobs for young people. He said losing young people threatens the future of schools, hospitals, social services and communities.

He said the Conservatives have also made too many cuts to services for seniors, the disabled and veterans while doing things like income splitting for high-income Canadians.

“We’re not talking about seniors, or people with disabilities or veterans. They have not been part of the discussion,” Casey said. “Too many people are having difficulty making ends meet and not enough is being done to help them.”

NDP candidate Wendy Robinson, who finished second to Armstrong in 2011, said she prefers a much shorter campaign, but added her party is ready and looking to build on the momentum from four years ago.

“Obviously we’d like to wait a little longer, but we’re ready to,” said Robinson, the mayor of Stewiacke.

Robinson said too many people are having a difficult time making ends meet and the Conservatives have done nothing to support rural sustainability.

“Too many jobs and too much opportunity has left us,” Robinson said. “Things like raising the age of old-age security from 65 to 67 will hurt a lot of people.”

She believes local economics will be biggest issue during the campaign, and while everyone will be watching the Armstrong-Casey battle she hopes that doesn’t overshadow what should be talked about.

“I think if it was ever to be so this would be the election. We have been seen as the credible second choice and we have been making great strides to show ourselves as the alternative to the Conservatives,” Robinson said.

With the early polls showing the NDP with a legitimate chance to form government, Robinson said a vote for her could be a vote for a new NDP government under Tom Mulcair.

“Even if it is a minority with us in second place we would still have a huge voice,” she said, adding it’s not money that determines elections. “It’s who has the best platform, the best candidate and runs the best campaign. Whether we spend $1,000 or $100,000 that doesn’t change who the candidate is or what the best policy is.”

Green Party candidate Jason Blanch hopes the discussion will be less about Armstrong and Casey and more about issues like income disparity and climate change.

“I hope we have a real discussion on the real issues,” Blanch said. “The disparity in wages and climate change are the big issues that really matter.”

He said climate change is here as evidenced by last winter and the increasing ferocity of storms like Katrina, Sandy and Juan. He cannot understand why the three older parties are so much in favour of oil and gas development.

He also finds it distressing that many Canadians are unemployed or working in minimum wage jobs while CEOs are making $5,000 an hour. He also questions why government continues to cater to corporations and the heads of industry.

It’s not known if the Christian Heritage Party will be running a candidate in the riding.

In 2011, Armstrong was re-elected with 52.5 per cent of the vote, picking up 21,041 votes compared to Robinson, who picked up 9,322 votes.

Liberal Jim Burrows was third at 7,207, Blanch was fourth at 2,136 and Jim Hnatiuk of the Christian Heritage Party was fifth with 375 votes.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Canada’s worst kept secret on Sunday dropping the writ for an Oct. 19 election. The 11-week campaign will be one of the longest in Canadian political history.

In Cumberland-Colchester, candidates for the three major parties are ready to go.

The election will be unique locally in that it pits Conservative Scott Armstrong, the MP at dissolution, against his former mentor Liberal Bill Casey, who was the Conservative and Independent MP from 1988 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2009.

“I have been the MP here for six years and Bill was the MP for many years, but I like to think that I have a very good record of providing for the riding and I want to see that continue. I’ve been a strong force on the government side and I have executive experience, something that Bill never experienced when he was in Ottawa,” Armstrong said. “We have a very strong chance of continuing to be government and the Liberals are sinking into what could be third place. It will be up for the people to decide who they want to best represent them, someone on the government side or someone who could be in third place. I’m prepared to defend my record and Bill as a Liberal has to defend urban Liberal policies like the long gun registry, the carbon tax and the legalization of marijuana.”

Casey said his candidacy is not a personal attack on Armstrong, it’s about defeating the Conservative government that is adding billions to the debt.

“I’m not running against Scott, I’m running against Mr. Harper and the direction he has taken the government,” Casey said. “It isn’t about Scott, it’s about the way the prime minister has changed the level of service to Canadians and how he manipulated the election process in his favour.”

Armstrong said the election is about maintaining momentum on the economy and the security of Canadians.

“We live in a province that’s highly taxed and our commitment to people federally is to have the lowest tax burden,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to keep taxes low, we’re not going to implement a carbon tax that will punish people in rural communities by raising the price of fuel making it more expensive to get product to market. And we’ll continue to focus on economic development.”

He wants to see people return from out west to help grow the economy in Nova Scotia.

Casey said this long campaign is not necessary and will cost millions to hold.

“It doesn’t do anyone any good to have a long election campaign, there’s no point in it,” said Casey. “Everyone knows the candidates, everyone knows the parties and the leaders. We don’t need this long a campaign, it’s just going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars that don’t need to be spent. But, if they call it we’ll be ready.”

Casey said the top issue will be the lack of jobs for young people. He said losing young people threatens the future of schools, hospitals, social services and communities.

He said the Conservatives have also made too many cuts to services for seniors, the disabled and veterans while doing things like income splitting for high-income Canadians.

“We’re not talking about seniors, or people with disabilities or veterans. They have not been part of the discussion,” Casey said. “Too many people are having difficulty making ends meet and not enough is being done to help them.”

NDP candidate Wendy Robinson, who finished second to Armstrong in 2011, said she prefers a much shorter campaign, but added her party is ready and looking to build on the momentum from four years ago.

“Obviously we’d like to wait a little longer, but we’re ready to,” said Robinson, the mayor of Stewiacke.

Robinson said too many people are having a difficult time making ends meet and the Conservatives have done nothing to support rural sustainability.

“Too many jobs and too much opportunity has left us,” Robinson said. “Things like raising the age of old-age security from 65 to 67 will hurt a lot of people.”

She believes local economics will be biggest issue during the campaign, and while everyone will be watching the Armstrong-Casey battle she hopes that doesn’t overshadow what should be talked about.

“I think if it was ever to be so this would be the election. We have been seen as the credible second choice and we have been making great strides to show ourselves as the alternative to the Conservatives,” Robinson said.

With the early polls showing the NDP with a legitimate chance to form government, Robinson said a vote for her could be a vote for a new NDP government under Tom Mulcair.

“Even if it is a minority with us in second place we would still have a huge voice,” she said, adding it’s not money that determines elections. “It’s who has the best platform, the best candidate and runs the best campaign. Whether we spend $1,000 or $100,000 that doesn’t change who the candidate is or what the best policy is.”

Green Party candidate Jason Blanch hopes the discussion will be less about Armstrong and Casey and more about issues like income disparity and climate change.

“I hope we have a real discussion on the real issues,” Blanch said. “The disparity in wages and climate change are the big issues that really matter.”

He said climate change is here as evidenced by last winter and the increasing ferocity of storms like Katrina, Sandy and Juan. He cannot understand why the three older parties are so much in favour of oil and gas development.

He also finds it distressing that many Canadians are unemployed or working in minimum wage jobs while CEOs are making $5,000 an hour. He also questions why government continues to cater to corporations and the heads of industry.

It’s not known if the Christian Heritage Party will be running a candidate in the riding.

In 2011, Armstrong was re-elected with 52.5 per cent of the vote, picking up 21,041 votes compared to Robinson, who picked up 9,322 votes.

Liberal Jim Burrows was third at 7,207, Blanch was fourth at 2,136 and Jim Hnatiuk of the Christian Heritage Party was fifth with 375 votes.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

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