Plenty of optimism as election call nears
TRURO - Colchester County-area candidates for the as-yet-undeclared provincial election are at their marks and ready to go – at least, for the most part.
“Ready to go is a relative term. I would say I’m getting ready to go,” said first-time candidate Jim Wyatt, who is running for the NDP in the Colchester North riding.
(Click here for full list of candidates.)
Wyatt said he will not be putting out any campaign signs until the election is called, but everything is in the works for when that happens.
“I have no inside knowledge on when an election might be called so I’m as much in the dark as everybody else,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting race. I mean, there’s three interesting candidates. It’s going to be fun.”
Karen Casey, the Liberal candidate for the riding, said her team is fully in place for when the election is called but, like Wyatt, she will not be putting out any signs until the date has been set.
“We’re ready to go … the team is in place,” she said. “We have chosen not to put our signs up before the election is called.”
While it is not illegal to do so, as it was in the past, Casey said she has been receiving “a lot of negative comments” regarding signs that are already in place.
As a sitting MLA, however, Casey said, campaigning is an ongoing exercise from the end of one election until the beginning of another and she is constantly in touch with her constituents.
As far as when the election will be called, however, she expects it will be very soon.
“Recognizing that this government is in its fifth year, something that very rarely happens and usually happens when a government is desperate,” she said, “we’ve been anticipating that there would be a call and our team has been ready for months.”
John K. MacDonald, the riding’s Progressive Conservative candidate, has had some campaign signs in place for the past couple of weeks as a way to get his name out in front of the public as soon as possible, with the anticipation that the election could be called at any time.
“We’re looking ahead of course,” he said. “We started a week and a half, two weeks ago expecting that within the next three weeks (the writ would be dropped) … and we felt the sooner we get some of our signs up, my name and my face will become more familiar to the voters in my constituency.”
As far as predicting when the election might be called, MacDonald suggested: “very soon.”
Barry Mellish, the first-time Liberal candidate for the (recently re-named) Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River riding, said he is looking forward to the challenge of the election campaign, whenever it begins.
“We’re ready to go ahead whenever he calls the election,” Mellish said, of Premier Darrell Dexter.
“I don’t have a crystal ball. Everybody is making guesses and nobody seems to have the right date yet.”
Despite being a novice candidate, Mellish said he did not think that would hamper his run.
“I think our chances are pretty good. The leader of the provincial party of the Liberals is a good man and I think people want change. I don’t think they’re as satisfied as they thought they might be with the current provincial government. And I’m getting good response at the doors so I think I’ve got a pretty good chance.”
However, Charles Cox, the Progressive Conservative candidate for the riding said he believes his past political experience of serving on Truro Town Council for 14 years, including two stints as deputy mayor, will help boost his chances of winning the riding.
“We’ve been set and chomping at the bit for some time now and we’re looking forward to a good election and some healthy discussion on issues,” he said. “I think my chances are pretty good.
“I have a certain amount of expertise which I think would lend itself to being a good representative. I don’t back down from issues. I’ve always had a strong voice on town council and I’m used to being in the forefront if I have to. And I’m used to being a team player.”
The riding’s incumbent NDP MLA Lenore Zann could not be reached for comment before deadline Tuesday.
Despite being the incumbent NDP MLA In the Colchester Musquodoboit Valley riding, Gary Burrill said he has no inside information on when the election will be called.bBut, as with many others, he is anticipating it sooner than later.
“We’re ready to go,” he said. “We should have an interesting September, October, eh. Shouldn’t be boring.”
And while he predicted “it will be a very compelling and interesting race in Colchester Musquodoboit Valley,” Burrill said he feels the voters in his constituency are prepared to give him a second chance as their MLA.
“I have the feeling that it’s the right thing for me to be doing, which is a great feeling to have,” he said.
But that is not the message first-time Liberal candidate Tom Martin said he is hearing from the riding’s voters.
As with the other candidates, Martin said his team is all set to hit the campaign trail running but advance door knocking has led him to believe voters are dissatisfied with the incumbent MLA.
“I think the riding is obviously ready for a positive change. I think the riding, from what I’m hearing on the doorsteps is very disappointed with the present NDP representation for this riding and overall for the NDP,” he said.
“The feedback I’m getting on the door steps is very positive towards the (Liberal) party but, then again, I know that these things are very hard to call and almost impossible to call for the candidate. It needs a much more objective mind.”
Nonetheless, Martin said: “I feel good. I feel confident.”
Progressive Conservative candidate Larry Harrison could not be reached for comment.