EDITORS NOTE: The following is the second 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. During my time at the Legislature, my greatest satisfaction has been listening to my constituents regarding their concerns and being able to find solutions. In addition to representing the people of the Memramcook-Tantramar constituency, I have been most fortunate to serve all New Brunswickers by having the opportunity to have held such ministerial portfolios as Local Government, Justice and Consumer Affairs as well as Minister of Public Engagement. More recently, I sat on the Treasury Board cabinet committee and the Select Committee on Climate Change. I also served as Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Q. What would you and/or your party bring to the riding if you are elected MLA?
A. As a husband, father and grandfather, I like to think that I have an appreciation for all generations. I have come to understand that we all have a stake in the future of our province and that all ages must be heard. It is indeed a pleasure to be part of a party that believes in a balanced approach to government and encourages fairness and opportunity for all New Brunswickers. The Liberal party remains committed to supporting health services in rural areas. Premier Brian Gallant has made it clear there will be no hospital closures. We are proud of our accomplishments such as raising the minimum wage, providing free tuition to university students and free childcare to those who need it most. Additionally, a re-elected Liberal government will freeze power rates for residential and small-business customers for the next four years. We also are committed to the well-being of our seniors, both at home and in nursing homes, with our Aging and Home First strategies. Our government will continue our moratorium on fracking. Finally, I would like to work closer with local mayors to provide a strong united voice for Memramcook-Tantramar.
Q. What do you see as the biggest strengths/assets of the riding and what measures would you take to capitalize on them?
A. One of the biggest strengths of this riding is its people. We are fortunate to have such a large diversity of talent. As a result, this community possesses investment and employment opportunities; is located strategically; boasts the best undergraduate university in the country; has an excellent hospital equipped with a knowledgeable and experienced healthcare staff; has an abundance of natural resources and has become a tourist destination. You only have to look around the area to recognize that the entrepreneurial spirit is thriving as evidenced by the many small businesses in the region. A Liberal government will continue to invest in our infrastructure as this creates jobs, makes our roads safer, promotes economic growth, makes our schools better for students and teachers, and improves services in our hospitals.
- Favourite fall event or activity – Picking apples at Belliveau Orchards
- Favourite song – Anything by Tina Turner and Celine Dion
- Favourite pastime/hobby – Played senior fastball for 12 to 13 years as a second baseman; had the opportunity to play in many places including Boston.
- Favourite childhood memory – My mom was widowed when I was six and, as a result, my siblings and I came together as a family to help maintain the household.
- Favourite place you’ve visited – Outside of the Memramcook-Tantramar area, I enjoyed visiting Niagara Falls and the White Mountains.
Q. What do you feel is the key challenge(s) facing the Memramcook-Tantramar riding and how would you work to address it?
A. Being in such a large geographic area with a diverse population, I have and will continue to maintain two offices to serve the needs of the constituents if I am re-elected. I recognize that the needs of one community can differ greatly from those of another. As a result, I have done my best to give equal time to the individual areas and their unique needs. My experience from having the two offices in the riding has permitted me to reach many of the constituents on a variety of issues related to government programs.
Q. What one message do you hope gets out to the voters during this election campaign?
A. This region has a diverse population with varied needs. During this election campaign, I encourage the voters to look to someone with the experience to meet those needs head-on. Someone who will devote their time and efforts in all facets of the community from education, infrastructure, health care, the environment, youth and, of course, understanding the needs of our seniors. During my experiences in my professional career, and as a result of my service as an elected official, I have come to realize over and over again, people just want to be heard and given the respect that they deserve.