Saturday, August 19, 2006

New Brunswick Election - Day One

And we're off! On my way back home from the Hopewell Rocks with my in-laws yesterday, I noticed that the incumbent Conservative MPs from the Moncton-Riverview area already had some campaign signs up. Not a big surprise there.

And what about my home riding of Tantramar? Well, the NDP is the only party to have nominated its candidate so far, Virgil Hammock, professor emeritus of Fine Arts at Mount Allison. At the Bridge Street Cafe this morning, his supporters were wearing pieces of orange ribbon with "VIRG" on them. Hopefully something a little slicker is on the way. (ETA: As of Saturday afternoon, Hammock's campaign signs are up around town.)

No candidate has been named for the Liberals, although a nomination meeting has been slated for next week. To replace Peter Mesheau, the Progressive Conservatives are running Mike Olscamp, although there is as yet no biography for him on the official party website. A Google search on his name turned up the assistant coach of Mount Allison's basketball team - I will check up on that once the university is open again next week. The Conservative website is still rather spare in terms of its content - most pages are mere placeholders.

For the time being, I'm an undecided voter. It's pretty much a given that my vote will go to the Liberals or the NDP, but until I know more about the candidates, party platforms, and likelihood that strategic voting could matter in this election, my final decision is far from being made. I rather suspect that there will be an all-candidates meeting in town, and I'll try to provide some insights after that.

For now, it seems like gas prices are the big provincial issue, with much discussion over whether the province should be regulating prices, and what levels gas should be taxed at. While I think this will remain a key issue throughout the campaign, it's getting additional buzz right now because of the recent ten cent price drop at the pumps. I'm hoping that other issues like education funding, health care and car insurance prices aren't completely overshadowed by this issue which, frankly, the New Brunswick government has a very limited capacity to control. I'd like to hear what the various parties have to say about university funding, especially since the Harper government appears to be toying with reducing the federal role in this sector.

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At 8:10 pm, Blogger cat said...

Hello, Mr. or Dr. Hayday. I love your site! I'm putting together a lesson for grade eights on the provincial election, and you are right, it's impossible to find anything on Olscamp. Thank you for your sharp insight!


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