Jim Hardiman has served his country both near and far, but has never forgotten his roots in Cumberland-Colchester.
The 60-year-old Truro resident, who served more than 30 years in Canadian Armed Forces, is the second candidate to announce his intention to seek the Liberal nomination in the riding.
“I’m running because I believe strongly I can make a difference in my community, the riding and the country,” said Hardiman, whose last assignment in the military was as a senior operations officer that supported the Canadian Armed Forces’ mission to Afghanistan. “I admire and respect the work that Bill Casey has done in this riding over 30 years and while I’m not going to say I’m going to be the next Bill Casey I’m going to do my best to represent the community like Bill has.”
A date for a nominating meeting has yet to be set, although the federal election is in October.
Truro lawyer Joel Henderson is the only other confirmed candidate.
Casey has already announced he will not be running in October.
Hardiman said he got out of the military a decade ago to spend more time with his wife Judy. He also made a commitment to get more involved in his community, serving as mentor of high school students at the Truro library as well as with the Truro area arts community.
Now he wants to put his skills to work as a member of parliament.
Hardiman feels he shares the same views and values as Casey and believes the Liberal Party’s policies line up best with his.
Hardiman – who joined the military right out of high school –feels his experience in the military will help him as he seeks a political career because as a colonel he worked in Ottawa and with politicians at the highest levels of government.
“I’ve worked with elected officials and senior bureaucrats and I’ve worked on major projects involving a lot of money,” he said. “That experience is important when it comes to knowing the workings of government. I have a lot of experience and a lot of leadership experience.”
Hardiman sees several important issues, including high-speed internet in rural communities. He sees high-speed internet like electrical power in that it’s essential for businesses and communities to compete and survive.
Besides being an inconvenience, he said, the lack of broadband internet is stymying economic growth.
Hardiman also wants to see better care of what’s an aging population and a national pharmacare program that makes prescriptions affordable.
Most importantly, he said, adult Canadians must accept their share of the responsibility for climate change and work with the country’s youth to change attitudes and behaviours before the damage to the environment becomes irreversible.
“We don’t live in a bubble. If we did we could have whatever climate we wanted, but we can’t,” he said. “We have to do our part to help solve the problem. We’re seeing the effects of it now and our young people are going to have to deal with this.
“It’s time to step up and make meaningful changes to solve this problem, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Cumberland-Colchester, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and as a country. We all have to be involved.”
Rising temperatures around the globe are causing increasingly violent storms, he said, while warmer temperatures are impacting crops and livestock and the ability to feed ourselves.
As much as the riding has traditionally voted Conservative, he said, the voters, by electing Casey, are more likely to vote for the person before the party.