Month: September 2012
After a pretty long day yesterday and lots of thinking, I thought I’d share my thoughts and some information about the new boundaries proposed by the 2012 Boundary Commission yesterday. For the past 11 months, I have been fighting to maintain strong Acadian representation in the legislature, by voting against the resolution that started this process on October 31st, 2011.
We were the only opposition caucus that understood it would give unprecedented power to the Standing Committee that was to pick commission members and set a terms of reference. During the last two processes, the Legislature itself debated resolutions that set up a clear set of rules, like taking in consideration geography, cultural differences and history before trying to make all constituencies equal. This is a right that stems from our very own constitution. I believe that effective representation is much more complicated than setting a minimum and maximum of total electors. The NDP members of the committee moved to set terms of reference that would eliminate “protected” ridings. I dissented against these terms of reference back in December because I knew it would erase the concept of minority rights.
I was very proud of Argyle constituents and Acadians in Clare and Richmond for coming out, fighting for good representation in the Legislature and speaking about how having Acadian MLAs helps keep the distinct culture and language vibrant in Nova Scotia. This lead to a very favourable interim report from the Commission that kept our communities in South West Nova Scotia in tact. This was a tremendous victory that lasted for only a short time until the Minister of Justice and Premier came out and squashed the work, saying it ran against the terms of reference.
The Commission was then compelled to rewrite the report, which then caused great concern in Yarmouth because it recommended splitting up the county in two. The community came out and made the Commission aware that this was not acceptable to the area and that they should go back and try again.
Try again they did! In the final report from the Boundary Commission it recommended splitting Shelburne County into two new areas, Argyle – Barrington and Queens – Shelburne leaving Yarmouth together. While this on paper may seem reasonable to someone from outside, the voices of Shelburne County have not yet been heard. So before too much time passes, I would ask residents of the municipality to let their voices be heard by dropping me an email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) so I can bring them to the government and be ready when boundary Legislation is introduced and debated in the House of Assembly.
This was done by the NDP government as they were unwilling to listen to people who actually know their communities. Blindly they dictated a terms of reference that would, as a side effect, impact neighbouring communities to the minority ones. Darrell Dexter, Ross Landry and Sterling Belliveau were very well aware of the outcome, as they tried to influence it at every opportunity.
The the Boundary Report and map is available at here 2012 Boundary Report
Friday’s announcement to restore ferry service from Yarmouth to Maine is a positive step, but proves the Dexter government was wrong from the start when they abruptly cancelled it three years ago.
“The viability of the ferry should have been determined from the start, not after the NDP made the costly mistake to cancel the service,” said d’Entremont. “In the three years the NDP have wasted, the economy has been driven into the ground, businesses have closed and families have had to leave. It’s unacceptable.”
d’Entremont says today’s announcement proves the NDP got it wrong, but won’t admit it or apologize to the people who have lost their jobs or businesses. Statistics Canada data released today show Southern Nova Scotia is down 8,600 full-time jobs over the past three years.
“Our region has been suffering since the loss of the ferry service,” said d’Entremont. “It will take hard work to get tourism numbers back where they were before the NDP cancelled the ferry but I think businesses, residents and all levels of government want this and will work together to make it happen.”
d’Entremont says he will continue to work with West Nova MP Greg Kerr to encourage the federal Conservative government to reaffirm their commitment to renovate or replace the ferry terminal facility.