The former NDP Cumberland North MLA said his experience in provincial politics and his years of management with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will help him if he’s elected mayor in October.
His decision to run brings the number of candidates seeking Amherst’s top elected position to five. He joins Coun. George Baker, former councilor Wayne Bishop, former mayor Jerry Hallee and retired physician Dr. David Kogon.
“I have to admit I miss the political action,” Skabar said. “When I was in office those four years it was the busiest time of my working life and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel I have a lot to give to my community and the management experience I have as a former MLA and manager in the federal government will help the community.”
Skabar says he knows and has a lot of respect for the other four candidates and he’s not running because he wants to be critical of the existing mayor and council. If there’s one thing he could change would be for the town to adopt a more co-operative approach, not only Cumberland County, but also with Sackville, N.B.
When he was MLA, Skabar opening advocated for closer ties with Sackville and can’t understand why the two communities, and even Moncton, don’t work more closely.
“Instead of competing all the time let’s work together more co-operatively because what’s good for one community is good for the other. What’s good for Amherst should be good for Cumberland County and Sackville and vice versa.”
While he supports co-operation, Skabar said, he’s not a big fan of regional government or amalgamation.
Since being defeated in the 2013 provincial election by Liberal Terry Farrell, Skabar sought the federal NDP nomination in Cumberland Colchester and has taken over the presidency of the Cumberland North riding association.
Skabar doesn’t believe his election loss three years ago will affect him this time since his defeat was part of an “NDP massacre” across the province.
“I'm not taking it personally,” Skabar said. “I believe the voters were voting against the NDP government, not against Brian Skabar.”