“OK, here we go.”
Lenore Zann said those words as she sat down to sign the registry as the new MP for Cumberland-Colchester during a ceremony on Parliament Hill Nov. 26.
Being officially sworn-in to replace Bill Casey as the member of parliament ended a month of hectic activity and started what she hopes will be several years of hard work for the people of her riding.
She also took some time to express her pride in her parents, Paul Zann and Janice Rose Zann, who accompanied her to Ottawa for the ceremony.
“It was very exciting,” Zann said. “I was able to take my parents with me. They’ve never been to Ottawa before and my mother taught history in Truro for many years. For her it was really something to see Parliament Hill and to be there and see her daughter sworn in as the MP – only the second female MP in our district.”
It hasn’t taken her long to hit the ground running.
On the same day she was sworn in, she hand-delivered a petition to federal government on behalf of her constituents to ensure the RCMP communications centre remains in Truro instead of being moved to Dartmouth.
Zann said she will present the petition in the House of Commons as soon as it opens for the first time following the Oct. 21 election that saw Justin Trudeau’s government re-elected, albeit with a minority government.
Zann also appeared on CBC’s Power and Politics to talk about climate change and the need for the government to protect the Isthmus of Chignecto from rising sea levels and the potential of storm surge.
She has also sent a letter to Parks Canada asking for an update on the National Historic Site at Beaubassin, near Fort Lawrence, and plans for a travelling exhibition designed to tell the story of the Acadian village that was a hub of activity from 1672 to 1750 when it was burned to the ground and its residents moved across the Missaguash River to Fort Beausejour.
The new MP also asked Parks Canada to consider placing signage on the Trans-Canada Highway to let motorists know of the presence of the National Historic Site. She is hoping to have this resolved by the 2020 tourist season but knows the effort will require federal-provincial co-operation to ensure proper signage is installed.
“With proper signage and the traveling exhibition, tourist visits to Beaubassin could increase dramatically,” she said. “Thousands of people from all over North America can trace their roots to Beaubassin. We should make it easy for them to find their roots in this historic Acadian village.”
Zann, who recently toured the Beaubassin site with former MP Bill Casey, has several exciting ideas regarding bringing the story of Beaubassin to life in the 21st century including a documentary film, and recreating a working replica village of Beaubassin, with re-enactors dressed in period costume, retelling the tragic story of the very first deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia.
According to Zann, who wsa an award-winning actor-writer-producer before politics, such a well-preserved location and historic event of this magnitude need to be given their proper due.
“I’ve always believed in the concept, If you build it they will come, tourists that is. The only thing Cumberland-Colchester needs to progress is to ask ourselves how big we dare to dream. Then go after it,” she said.
Zann said she’s looking forward to continuing the work started by her predecessor when it comes to those projects as well as others in both Cumberland and Colchester counties, including working with the Amherst Armoury Plus committee that’s trying to preserve and repurpose the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury that’s been declared surplus by the Department of National Defence.
“Bill’s shoes are big to fill and luckily for me he still going to support me and provide guidance and advice when I need it,” she said. “I feel blessed that I have such a great mentor. I’ve been lucky throughout my elected life to have great mentors like Alex McDonough, who advised me for 10 years and still a very dear friend. Between Alexa McDonough and Bill Casey I feel like I’ve had the best of both possible worlds and I’m ready to take on any issue that comes up.”