Kings North can­di­dates face off

Valley Journal Advertiser - - ELECTION - BY WENDY EL­LIOTT Kingscoun­tynews.ca

About 100 peo­ple at­tended the Kings North Can­di­dates’ Fo­rum hosted at NSCC King­stec. The An­napo­lis Val­ley Cham­ber of Com­merce, NS Real­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion and KingsCoun­tyNews.ca teamed up to co-host the event.

The can­di­dates were asked to speak about the pros and cons of Fundy tidal power:

PC in­cum­bent John Lohr ac­knowl­edged the enor­mous po­ten­tial of the Fundy tides, but ques­tioned why the pro­po­nents have con­cen­trated their fi­nances on tur­bine de­sign without delv­ing into bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties at the test site.

Lohr said a bal­ance has to be struck be­cause it is im­por­tant that fish pop­u­la­tions are not com­pro­mised, but so is clean re­new­able en­ergy.

At­lantica can­di­date Bry­den Dead­der said there is a lot of un­locked po­ten­tial in the tides, but it has to be re­al­ized in the best ways.

“It’s just a mat­ter of time and it will be great for the prov­ince,” Dead­der said.

NDP can­di­date Ted Cham­pion noted that tidal power could pro­vide well pay­ing jobs in the An­napo­lis Val­ley, as long as the en­vi­ron­ment re­sults are fac­tored in.

“We have to take care that the fish­ing her­itage that we are proud of and the en­vi­ron­ment are not up against the almighty dol­lar.”

Green can­di­date Mary Lou Hart­ley stated that the gov­ern­ment has “se­ri­ously un­der­val­ued en­vi­ron­men­tal concerns and a de­vel­op­ment strat­egy has to be based on sound sci­ence.”

Hart­ley be­lieves a greedy path is be­ing fol­lowed and she ad­vo­cated for a more mod­est, cau­tious ap­proach where the cur­rents are not as strong.

Lib­eral can­di­date Geof Turner also spoke in favour of a bal­ance to en­sure the en­vi­ron­ment re­mains healthy. He said if re-elected, his party will bring in a new bio di­ver­sity act and re­spect the cur­rent mora­to­rium on frack­ing.

A ques­tion from the au­di­ence asked can­di­dates to speak to the pro­tec­tion and im­prove­ment of men­tal health ser­vices.

Cham­pion de­clared that men­tal health ser­vices lo­cally are in a poor state right now. He spoke about a young, sui­ci­dal woman he knows who could not get an ap­point­ment with a men­tal health pro­fes­sional un­til Au­gust.

“Th­ese are our near and dear,” he said, “and th­ese are un­ac­cept­able time de­lays. Peo­ple need help nav­i­gat­ing the sys­tem.”

Hart­ley sug­gested re­fo­cus­ing on men­tal well­ness is re­quired in Nova Sco­tia where all of the so­cial de­ter­mi­nants of health are con­sid­ered, in­clud­ing in­come.

“The so­cial safety net is not do­ing its job,” she said, speak­ing of the di­vide in Kentville over sup­port­ive hous­ing. “The com­mu­nity needs to un­der­stand men­tal ill­ness and be in­clu­sive and sup­port­ive. The old stig­mas are still there.”

Turner in­di­cated that, “men­tal health taboos still ex­ist, but things are chang­ing.”

He said that the Lib­er­als will in­crease in­vest­ment in men­tal health at the school level and a new cen­tral in­take sys­tem will be cre­ated, along with the ad­di­tion of 35 new clin­i­cians.

Lohr’s fam­ily has lived through a men­tal health cri­sis and, while he re­spects men­tal health providers, re­sources have to ex­pand.

Lohr dis­par­aged cuts in fund­ing by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment to non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions like a lo­cal eat­ing dis­or­der group and the Schizophre­nia So­ci­ety, adding that a PC gov­ern­ment would do its best to in­crease sup­port.

Dead­der, who is 19, con­sid­ers that liv­ing in the dig­i­tal age is con­tribut­ing to the big prob­lem of in­creased men­tal ill­ness.

“It’s re­ally un­for­tu­nate,” he said. “Gov­ern­ment hasn’t done enough and I’d like to see ser­vices ex­pand.”

Financial in­se­cu­rity, which sees 24 per cent of chil­dren in the rid­ing liv­ing in poverty, was an is­sue the can­di­dates were asked to con­sider.

Hart­ley said the Green Party is in favour of both a liv­ing wage and a guar­an­teed in­come. The party will be watch­ing the On­tario ex­per­i­ment with in­ter­est.

She be­lieves that with a guar­an­teed in­come, so­cial work­ers in Nova Sco­tia could go from mon­i­tor­ing to sup­port­ing growth.

Turner out­lined the spend- ing the Lib­er­als in­tend to make in up­grades to pub­lic hous­ing, hous­ing co- ops and se­niors units.

“It’s an ex­ten­sive list,” he said, and in­cludes sup­port for Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity, which is build­ing 15 more homes.

Lohr said in­creas­ing the ba­sic tax credit would give 500,000 Nova Sco­tians financial re­lief. He also pledged that the PCs would not in­crease the cost of Phar­ma­care for se­niors.

Dead­der con­tended that stim­u­lat­ing the econ­omy would cre­ate jobs and thus fight poverty while al­low­ing Nova Sco­tians to make an hon­est liv­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Cham­pion, the eco­nomic sys­tem in the prov­ince has to work “not just for those at the top. The NDP will bring in a $15/hour min­i­mum wage. We will im­prove so­cial ser­vices, man­date safe and af­ford­able hous­ing and not grant rent in­creases.”

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