I helped Michel Samson with graphics in the final days of his campaign. I questioned whether the provincial government would be able to listen to the concerns of constituents. I never questioned whether Michel was the right man for the job. Even as I tried to stay non-partisan, I knew in my heart of hearts that Michel had done a job for this district that I could be proud of. Many will disagree with me. Many, so angry with the Liberals at the helm of the province – may have decided it was time to slap them on the wrist, and teach them a lesson. I am not blind to the popular vote that swung PC. Actually, I have remained highly critical of the Liberal government. I am not a blind supporter of Mr. McNeil. However, I did not see a reason to oust Michel in the process. Quite honestly, I was hoping he would remain MLA. Mr. Samson has done a great service for 2 decades, giving most of his adult life to our communities. Win or loss, Mr. Samson has successfully been a public servant for years. He will be missed by a great deal of constituents.
My worry for Alana Paon is not what I know about her. Actually, it’s what I don’t know. This may be true whenever an incumbent loses their spot, but I have particular concerns. If Alana primarily resides in Antigonish, as I am told, how will we, an ever-large district, play out on her priorities? I am willing to give Alana a chance. However, that does not mean that I have to be okay with it. Actually, the beauty of living in a democracy is that I can completely disagree with the decision that was made in the polls of Cape Breton-Richmond. We are a large, far-spanning district. The views of one end may not necessarily coincide with the other. It is important that we remember 20 votes decided this election. It was by no means a steal, or a crushing defeat. A vote lost/won by such a small margin brings questions. It brings questions of how efficiently our new MLA will be able to run in a majority Liberal government. We went from having a well-standing minister in office, to having a fresh opposition. Perhaps this opposition will be helpful to our government. Perhaps, unlike a Liberal, Alana will understand the district comes first, and have little qualms with breaking from the party line. This, of course, does not mean that she will be listened to. These are questions that must be answered on the house floor. Questions of polarity.
I have received mental health care in this province. I agree more than you could ever know that there is much to be learned from our current system. I agree that it is failing. I particularly agree that the Nova Scotian government needs work from many angles. We live in a world where many youth such as myself (early twenties) see no future in this province. I only recently came back from Fredericton. I am not sure any of the leaders could tackle all of these problems efficiently. The economy, struggling as it is, is a hefty goal. We must decide if we should wager greater healthcare costs against an economy that has little production, or invest in our economy and hope that the gains will then be able to go to all angles. These are questions, and the answers are never black and white.
I am concerned for my area because I’ve seen the struggling. I’ve seen the backbreaking labour that leads to families still having debt. I understand why many looked to change. However, I’ve also seen Michel try hard to combat that. Unfortunately, he could not win it all. I am sure it was hard at times – bringing district against party. In the coming months, I look to Alana to fill this spot and question not only the Liberal party, but her own. Instead of parties, we need leadership that will put its constituents first. At the end of the day – all parties have strengths and weaknesses.
Politics is a gamble. It is a choice between opponents that could be the same, or widely different. Because politics is a gamble, I am always worried. The only way to know if CB-Richmond made the right choice, is time. The real work of an election comes after the polls are in. The real work is in governing.