‘Any­thing can hap­pen’

Kennedy wel­comes com­pe­ti­tion; PCS tak­ing noth­ing for granted

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

If Jerome Kennedy has learned any­thing about pol­i­tics from his first four-year term in of­fice, it is that you can’t pre­dict any­thing about the out­come of elec­tions.

“I take noth­ing for granted, nor do we as a party take any­thing for granted,” Kennedy told The Com­pass in a pre-elec­tion in­ter­view on Sept. 21, two days af­ter the PC can­di­date for Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace district learned Phil Earle, a re­tired med­i­cal doc­tor who’s been out­spo­ken on fish­eries is­sues, had come for­ward to chal­lenge him for his seat as the Lib­eral can­di­date for the district.

Re­fer­ring to the shock­ing NDP orange surge in Que­bec in the last fed­eral elec­tion, Kennedy said, “what that taught me is that (in pol­i­tics) you can’t pre­sume any­thing, you can’t as­sume any­thing. You have to get out there and do the work be­cause you don’t know how the elec­torate is go­ing to vote.”

At a com­fort­able 53 per cent in the polls as of last week, Kennedy said, “I feel safe in pre­dict­ing that we’re go­ing to form govern­ment, but what takes place on the ground ( in the cam­paign) re­mains to be seen. There are seats that could go ei­ther way, and there are surges that can take place.”

Sens­ing a “gen­eral sat­is­fac­tion” with his record among con­stituents, Kennedy ac­knowl­edges, “one of the dis­ap­point­ments in pol­i­tics is not be­ing able to solve ev­ery­one’s per­sonal is­sues. There are cer­tain is­sues we just can’t solve. That’s the down­side of pol­i­tics. The other side is it al­lows us to do a lot of good work ... on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis.”

The PC can­di­date stated: “I pride my­self in the fact that I feel I’ve treated ev­ery com­mu­nity in the district fairly.”

Wor­thy op­po­nent

Wel­com­ing Earle as the Lib­eral can­di­date, Kennedy said: “ I’m very pleased there’s a can­di­date and there’s go­ing to be an elec­tion (in the district) be­cause it’s im­por­tant that peo­ple have an op­por­tu­nity to vote.

“ I have a lot of re­spect for Phil. I know him well. He’s ob­vi­ously a strong ad­vo­cate for what he be­lieves in.”

It ap­pears the re­spect Kennedy ex­presses for his op­po­nent is mu­tual.

In an in­ter­view later in the day, Earle, 64 told The Com­pass: “I got the high­est re­spect for him as an in­di­vid­ual with in­tegrity. I wish him the best. I re­ally mean it.

“ I ’ m not run­ning against Mr. Kennedy. I’m run­ning for what I think has been miss­ing and what’s wrong in this present govern­ment. I’m run­ning for the truth of what I think our peo­ple need.”

De­scrib­ing Kennedy as “a friend and a bright fel­low,” Earle said, “ but I have to run to speak up on is­sues. I’m up­set that is­sues are not be­ing ad­dressed by his govern­ment. And hope­fully that’s what I can do and make a dif­fer­ence.”

Al­beit a fed­eral is­sue, Earle said he’d like to see se­niors get an in­crease in their monthly in­come.

“ We have our el­derly who can’t heat their homes in win­ter — they have to go to the mall for heat — that’s wrong!”

Likes Lib­eral plat­form

Gone astray

Although Earle is best known for his opin­ions on the need for a re­vi­tal­ized fish­ing in­dus­try, his No. 1 is­sue in the cam­paign is health care.

He men­tioned wait­ing times in emer­gency rooms, and the months peo­ple have to wait to see spe­cial­ists, some­times up to a year. Then there is the dif­fi­culty of see­ing a fam­ily doc­tor and peo­ple find­ing a new fam­ily doc­tor.

“Peo­ple have to go to the main­land to see spe­cial­ists — this is the most im­por­tant thing for all of us.”

He also spoke about the con­tro­versy over the de­vel­op­ment of the Muskrat Falls hy­dro­elec­tric project. He doesn’t like the way the busi­ness plan for the en­ergy deal is struc­tured.

Although Earle has not had any pre­vi­ous party af­fil­i­a­tions, it was the Lib­eral Party’s new pol­icy plat­form on the fish­ery that at­tracted him.

He de­scribed it as “a very pos­i­tive out­look for the fish­ery to re­store and pro­tect our stocks and re­vi­tal­ize the eco­nomic vi­tal­ity of coastal, ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador.

“I l ike this for­ward-look­ing ap­proach for the fish­ery that we’ve never had since con­fed­er­a­tion.” He also likes other is­sues in the Lib­eral plat­form — look­ing af­ter pen­sion­ers and the health care sys­tem, and their take on Muskrat Falls.

“ I think the present govern­ment has gone astray on many of these is­sues, and the Lib­er­als have come for­ward with a plan I agree with.”

A sup­porter of Danny Wil­liams, who he thinks was “a won­der­ful pre- mier,” Earle sug­gested many of the in­cum­bent PC MHAs went in on the former premier’s coat­tails and are still rid­ing on his pop­u­lar­ity, but they’ve be­come com­pla­cent and no longer in touch with the peo­ple they were elected to serve.

He said Premier Dun­derdale “ has com­pletely ig­nored the main her­itage cul­tural in­dus­try, the fish­ery, which should be a multi-bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try.

“I’m an­gry, hurt and offended that Mr. Kennedy’s govern­ment hasn’t stood up for the peo­ple of the sea,” Earle said.” We need op­po­si­tion to keep ‘ em on their toes and get some of these is­sues brought for­ward.”

Earle pre­dicted the PCs will get “con­sid­er­ably less” seats on elec­tion day.

Not all the credit

While Jerome Kennedy has got­ten the credit for at­tract­ing well over $200 mil­lion in in­fra­struc­ture projects to the district in his first term, Earle would not be as quick to give the in­cum­bent MHA all the praise.

“I wouldn’t say he’s done this on his own. I think much of this money has been put in place pre­vi­ously by other gov­ern­ments and MHAs and now it’s com­ing through on his watch.”

At the district level, Earle sug­gested work on lo­cal roads and bridges has been put off for too long and not enough has been in­vested in de­vel­op­ing the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try, in a district steeped in his­tory and her­itage.

While he re­al­izes he has an up­hill bat­tle on his hands, Earle said if he doesn’t win, he would be the first to give his friend, Kennedy, a pat on the back and a hand­shake af­ter the votes are counted on Oct. 11.

By week’s end Jerome Kennedy wasn’t feel­ing so lonely on the cam­paign trail — two other can­di­dates had laced up their run­ning shoes. Red Head Cove na­tive Shawn Hyde will carry the New Demo­cratic Party colours in the Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace district.The 51-year-old former long term care worker and home care provider, who lives in Top­sail, CBS is cur­rently em­ployed as a stu­dent as­sis­tant with the East­ern School District.

And Kyle Brook­ings, a 19-year-old high school grad­u­ate from Car­bon­ear has de­cided to run as an independent can­di­date. Brook­ings says he’s “tired of see­ing the same old kind of politi­cians run­ning...” and felt it was, “time to bring in some new blood.”

AND THE PITCH — Con­cep­tion Bay North Bull­dogs pitcher Tommy Snow gri­maces while de­liv­er­ing a heater to an op­pos­ing bat­ter at theMosquito AA At­lantic cham­pi­onships in Up­per Is­land Cove on Sept. 17. The Bull­dogs fin­ished third at the four-team event. For story and photo, see Page A9

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