To the Editor,
Progressive Conservative Party candidate, Tory Rushton, has won the Cumberland South by-election by more than twice the margin of votes enjoyed by his predecessor, and former party leader, Jaimie Bailey. Mr. Rushton campaigned on a promise to “send a strong message” to Premier Stephen McNeil, and an 1,800-vote majority over McNeil’s candidate, Scott Lockhart, does exactly that. Lockhart is a good man, but clearly a good many Liberals in this riding also decided to voice their dissatisfaction with how Mr. McNeil is running the province. That lack of stewardship is particularly apparent in Cumberland South where the absence of provincial dollars, pre-dating McNeil to the Darrell Dexter/New Democratic Party days, is glaring. Provincial dollars have only flowed into this riding when a PC government sits in Halifax and rules the treasury. Under Dexter, and then McNeil, that flow has become a trickle, and the potential for Cumberland South has dried up as a result. Spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on preserving the latest model of the Bluenose for tourists seems almost obscene when too many people living in the poorest part of Nova Scotia can’t find decent work, and continue to live in underserviced, rural areas.
Let’s hope Premier McNeil gets the message this time. When the popular Liberal candidate in the 2017 general provincial election, Ken Jackson, came within 700 votes of defeating Mr. Baillie… significant in a riding that historically votes Conservative 53-56 per cent of the time … and a year later you not only fail to get the seat but lose the confidence of more than 1,100 additional voters, you better pay attention, Premier. Mr. Rushton and the PC party will now use that handsome riding majority to push for McNeil’s government to open those provincial dams and get more of our tax dollars flowing back to Cumberland South. We deserve that consideration, and it’s long overdue.
Tom Philp, River Hebert