AMHERST – A familiar face will be representing Conservatives in Cumberland-Colchester during next fall’s federal election.
Scott Armstrong has been confirmed as the candidate for the party, potentially setting up a rematch with Liberal Bill Casey, who soundly defeated the veteran MP in the 2015 federal election that ended more than a decade of Conservative rule.
“Andrew Sheer is why I have decided to run. He’s a good friend of mine and he’s not one to be under-estimated. He’s going to surprise people in 2019,” said Armstrong.
The 52-year-old school teacher and principal, who is the co-chair of PC MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin’s provincial party leadership campaign, was first elected in a 2009 by-election and was re-elected in 2012.
He served as the party’s Atlantic caucus chair and following his defeat served as the party’s critic for Atlantic Canada and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. He surrendered that post in September 2016 when he returned to the classroom.
“I’m in this to win,” said Armstrong. “I enjoyed tremendous support in all three of the elections I ran in and we cannot forget the (2015) election was a Liberal sweep of Atlantic Canada. Times have changed since then. We have a different leader and different policies.”
Armstrong said a lot has changed since that election. Armstrong said the party is in much better shape, with many polls putting the Conservatives equal or ahead of the Liberals. He pointed to a recent by-election in Quebec, that saw the Conservatives takes a longtime Liberal seat, as an example of how voters are again showing support for his party.
“The honeymoon for Mr. Trudeau is over and you’ll see a lot of traditional Conservative seats in Atlantic Canada, like this one, switch back in 2019,” he said.
He said Sheer’s policies will be friendly to families and young Canadians as well as the economy of Atlantic Canada, which he says has suffered under the Liberals.
“He’s someone that people in rural parts of Nova Scotia and Canada can relate to,” Armstrong said.
He said east-west pipeline would have created jobs in Atlantic Canada, but the federal government cancelled to appease environmentalists in Quebec, while the government’s planned carbon tax will add to the cost of transportation – something he said will punish rural areas that don’t have access to public transit and impact the fishery that depends on fuel.
The former MP said the Liberals have also increased taxes on small business, which he considers the backbone of Atlantic Canada’s economy.
“Implementing the carbon tax is going to add to the cost of doing business in Atlantic Canada and is going to hurt the economy,” he said. “People in rural Canada have to drive to get to work and to get around. People living in the cities can take a bus to get to work, but those of us living in rural Canada don’t have that option. It’s going to cost more for the loggers, the truckers and the fishers.”