EDITORS NOTE: The following is the fourth in a series of Q&As with candidates running in the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar in the Sept. 24 provincial election.
Q. Why have you chosen to run in this election campaign?
A. I’m running in this election because I care about people and how we as a society take care of each other. I believe being part of a community means giving back to that community.
One of my particular concerns is our health care system. The current model is unsustainable, and costs are increasing. In addition to treating the sick, we need to ensure people are staying healthy for as long as possible. Our services are understaffed and wait times in our emergency rooms are too long, reducing the quality of care. We need a public, community-based system and seniors, in particular, need more support and homecare options so they can stay in their homes longer. Our riding is facing other challenges as well — climate change impacts, challenges in our education system, and a lack of support for small businesses, including farmers. But our province has so much potential and I want to be part of finding better ways of moving it forward.
Q. What would you and/or your party bring to the riding if you are elected MLA?
A. I have deep roots here. Not only did I grow up in the region, I also have strong links to both linguistic communities as my mother is a LeBlanc. I understand our challenges as a rural region and I believe in community engagement. I plan to be accessible to my constituents and hold community gatherings and town halls throughout the riding on a regular basis so that I remain informed about people’s concerns and can voice them in Fredericton. Being a town councillor has let people see how I work — I have shown that I listen carefully and I consider all sides of an issue before making decisions or supporting decisions.
As a party, we bring reason to the debates. Green Party leader David Coon has shown even one MLA can hold the two established parties accountable. I will engage in dialogue that is based in knowledge, experience, and logic, and that goes beyond partisanship and bickering.
- Favourite fall event or activity – Harvest time in the fall - picking apples at Belliveau Orchards and going to events such as Sackville Fall Fair.
- Favourite song – Currently listening to the Moana soundtrack because my daughter Quinn loves it. But I really love the Les hay Babies CD I recently bought.
- Favourite pastime/hobby – Drinking tea or coffee with a friend and having good conversations.
- Favourite childhood memory – Sundays with family, going for a drive and getting ice cream, singing together as a family as we drove to the beach.
- Favourite place you’ve visited – Our entire region, from Cape Jourimain to Slacks Cove. Travelled all over the world but this is my favourite place.
Q. What do you see as the biggest strengths/assets of the riding and what measures would you take to capitalize on them?
A. Our riding is one of innovation, entrepreneurship, strength and hard work. We have young people coming back to live in a region that supports their dreams, students that stay for four years at Mount Allison and contribute greatly to our communities, Memramcook with its strong Acadian heritage and culture. We have a region of fantastic natural beauty along the Memramcook River, the Bay of Fundy, and the Northumberland Strait. We offer a diversity of educational opportunities unique for a rural area such as ours.
Our cultural, linguistic, and environmental diversity are a wonderful basis for tourism, population growth, and economic development. To me it is critical that we support our local farmers, fishers, and our small businesses and that we develop a long-term solution to create jobs and financial sustainability in our region.
Q. What do you feel is the key challenge(s) facing the Memramcook-Tantramar riding and how would you work to address it?
A. We have a wonderful range of health care and senior care services in our region, from our hospital and community health centre to three public nursing homes. With our aging population, those services are already stretched and require considerable support in the form of resources to be able to maintain infrastructure as well as quality of care. These are public services and it is critical that they return to being, and remain, public.
One vulnerability the whole riding shares is the risk of flooding. This continued threat puts all our communities at risk. Addressing the challenges of aging and inappropriate infrastructure such as failing dykes and reducing people’s exposure to climate-related events and finding ways to reduce our climate impacts are crucial.
We need economic growth, but not to the detriment of our people or the environment. I want to focus on growing the number of small and medium-sized businesses and providing adequate services to those businesses. Small businesses are the cornerstones of our communities. We need them to support a high quality of life in our region.
Q. What one message do you hope gets out to the voters during this election campaign?
A. Above all, take the time to vote! Make your voice count. Think about the kind of community you really want and vote accordingly. I know what kind of community I think we can be and if I get the chance to represent this riding, I will spend the next four years working tirelessly for our entire region.