‘You knew it was com­ing’

Cape Bre­ton­ers re­act to pro­vin­cial elec­tion call

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER

For Su­san Burke, the news of a pro­vin­cial elec­tion is not some­thing she wasn’t ex­pect­ing.

“It’s not sur­pris­ing — you knew it was com­ing,” said Burke. “I just hope they take care of Cape Bre­ton be­cause we seem to have been for­got­ten peo­ple here.”

The elec­tion call was made at 1 p.m. on Sun­day af­ter Premier Stephen McNeil vis­ited Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, re­quest­ing the cur­rent gov­ern­ment be dis­solved.

The 2017 elec­tion will take place May 30 across the prov­ince. The 30-day cam­paign is the min­i­mum al­lowed un­der elec­tion laws in Nova Sco­tia.

The news doesn’t come as a sur­prise to many af­ter a leaked cam­paign im­age ap­peared briefly on the Lib­eral Party’s web­site on Fri­day, which fea­tured McNeil with a May 30 elec­tion date.

John MacIn­nis be­lieves the main pri­or­ity head­ing into an elec­tion for Cape Bre­ton­ers should be jobs.

“We need jobs, em­ploy­ment and a busy eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion here on Cape Bre­ton,” said the Syd­ney res­i­dent. “Our great­est ex­port in Cape Bre­ton are our chil­dren. We ed­u­cate them and send them away be­cause there

is noth­ing for them here.”

Burke, also a Syd­ney res­i­dent, agreed the cre­ation of more jobs on the is­land is im­por­tant and some­thing the next gov­ern­ment should re­ally strive to make a re­al­ity.

“If you want peo­ple to stay here and raise their fam­i­lies, you need to have more jobs for them,” she said. “Peo­ple like tra­di­tions here in Cape Bre­ton and if we want the tra­di­tions on the is­land to con­tinue, we need them to stay here, but there is no rea­son to stay if there are no jobs.”

Not ev­ery­one was ea­ger to talk about the elec­tion on

Sun­day. Many Cape Bre­ton­ers, who de­clined an in­ter­view, noted ei­ther they didn’t have an opin­ion on the elec­tion yet or didn’t have an in­ter­est in it.

Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist Tom Ur­ba­niak said more peo­ple will be en­gaged with the elec­tion once it fully gets go­ing.

Ur­ba­niak said the Lib­er­als are go­ing to hope Nova Sco­tians are still not re­cov­ered from the pre­vi­ous NDP gov­ern­ment and have still not warmed up to Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Leader Jamie Bail­lie.

“I think the Lib­er­als will be tout­ing the bal­anced bud­get and will stress even though some of the mea­sures were un­pop­u­lar and alien­ated with cer­tain con­stituen­cies within the prov­ince, they will say these were nec­es­sary mea­sures to bring the prov­ince into a bal­anced bud­get sit­u­a­tion.” he said.

“I think they (the Lib­er­als) are feel­ing some level of con­fi­dence go­ing into the cam­paign; had they been less con­fi­dent, I think we would have seen more sweep­ing mea­sures in the bud­get or sort of more ban­ner head­lines com­ing out of the bud­get.” said Ur­ba­niak.

Mean­while, for the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives, Ur­ba­niak be­lieves they will run a fairly pro­gres­sive plat­form.

“I think they will try to take ad­van­tage of the fact that Stephen McNeil has not come across as a warm and fuzzy leader and will try to por­tray Jamie Bail­lie in a more sort of ca­sual, re­laxed per­sona, cit­ing some of his ex­pe­ri­ence as par­lia­men­tar­ian and pre­vi­ous to that with Credit Union At­lantic. I think they will fo­cus a lot on ru­ral Nova Sco­tia where there was a lot of con­cern af­ter the first cou­ple of McNeil bud­gets.” said Ur­ba­niak.

As for the New Demo­cratic Party, Ur­ba­niak thinks the party is go­ing to give leader Gary Bur­rill a higher pro­file and try to po­si­tion Bur­rill as def­i­nitely not Dar­rell Dex­ter.

“They will sort of show him as very ar­tic­u­late, very com­fort­able and also very pro­gres­sive. I think there has been signs that Bur­rill has been hav­ing a lot of con­ver­sa­tions with a lot of long­time NDP sup­port­ers who felt that the Dar­rell Dex­ter gov­ern­ment had let them down, that it wasn’t re­ally a so­cial demo­cratic gov­ern­ment and that it didn’t take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties to kind of po­si­tion it­self on the pro­gres­sive pop­ulist spec­trum.”

Both Burke and MacIn­nis said they will be fol­low­ing along with the elec­tion and plan to ex­er­cise their right to vote.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Carolyn MacDon­ald, left, and Su­san Burke are pic­tured chat­ting about the up­com­ing pro­vin­cial elec­tion. Premier Stephen McNeil vis­ited with Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant on Sun­day, and re­quested he dis­solve the cur­rent gov­ern­ment.

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