MURRAY CORNER, N.B. – More than 100 people, including many long-time campers, turned out at a rally on Saturday afternoon in support of Murray Beach Action, the local group who is actively opposing the provincial government’s scheduled privatization of Murray Beach Provincial Park.
The event, which drew much honking of horns and shouts of support from motorists passing by the event, was held near the park entrance on Highway 955 at Murray Corner.
Organizers held a barbecue and a number of attendants, including Memramcook/Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton, MLA for Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pelé and Liberal Tourism critic Jacques LeBlanc, Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen, rally organizers and a number of concerned locals, addressed the crowd on the provinces’ upcoming privatization plans.
“When we talk about 44 thousand people who have visited the (Murray Beach Provincial) park, that means they’ve left economic growth, money that is invested in this community. For every dollar that is spent in a community, there’s three dollars coming back to the tourism sector, so this is a growth industry… (As Liberal tourism critic) I was very, very critical of the (NB Conservative government’s) 40 percent cuts to the tourism budget; these are millions of dollars that are being cut, ruthlessly…and it’s impacting you people, this community directly…we all know that private sector investment is all about one thing – money in their pocket, it’s not about community, about people, it’s not about jobs…” LeBlanc said.
He also brought words of support from Beauséjour MP Dominic LeBlanc who was unable to attend due to ill health.
“He asked me to speak on his behalf. The federal government invested a lot of money in the tourism sector lately without any support from the provincial government… there isn’t a penny being invested by the New Brunswick government, as a partner; that’s shameful…tourism is a growth sector….” LeBlanc said.
Murray Beach Action group spokesperson Stephen Robb thanked people for their support, noting that a number of invitations to the rally had been sent to various political figures and although some could not attend Saturday’s rally, all had sent responses. Amid heckles from protesters shouting ‘Where’s Blaine?’ on-site, Robb responded:
“Except for Premier Blaine Higgs and (NB Minister of Tourism) Robert Gauvin. They didn’t even bother to reply,” he said.
He noted that Liberal leader Kevin Vickers had also sent his regrets due to a previous commitment on Saturday, however Vickers did visit Murray Beach Provincial Park on Tuesday of last week, and spoke extensively with both park staff and campers at the facility.
Organizers of the event promised to continue opposing the province’s park privatization plans, with other events and activities to take place in the future. Robb noted that more information can be accessed by checking out the groups’ Facebook page.