Chester–St. Margaret’s candidates

by Evan Bower

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Julie Chaisson is the Progressive Conservative candidate for Chester&#8211;St. Margaret&#8217;s.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Hugh MacKay is the Liberal candidate for Chester&#8211;St. Margaret&#8217;s.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Denise Peterson-Rafuse is the New Democratic candidate for Chester&#8211;St. Margaret&#8217;s.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Harry Ward is the Green Party candidate for Chester&#8211;St. Margaret&#8217;s.</p>

Julie Chaisson- Progressive Conservative

Who are you and where are you from?

"Before putting my name in as a candidate, I spent the last four and a half years as the executive director of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, I grew up in St. Margaret's Bay and currently live in Chester Basin, and I'm the youngest of ten children."

Chaisson has been married to her husband Michael for 31 years in September, and together they have three children. Her career has given her 30 years experience in senior management roles, including work "transitioning companies through some kind of change," through times of financial crisis or even amalgamating companies.

What do you feel is the single most important issue in your riding and how would you tackle it?

"There's three big things that I hear when I go to the door, but if I had to pick one it's definitely health care. What I'm hearing from the constituents as I'm knocking on the door is they're unable to find a doctor, that they're unable to get in to see specialists."

"I think the province plays a huge role in that ... and I think we have a really great opportunity right now to go into those communities and to collaborate with doctors and nurses and people in the health-care profession, around our health care and our mental health care, and find out what each community requires, and I don't think it's a one solution fits all."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

"I'm the only candidate that has the specialized experience in going into situations where there's a crisis or there's a tremendous need for change, and my entire career has been in leading companies and organizations through change by collaborating and working alongside the people who are affected by that change, putting a plan together and implementing that. It's my specialty, it's what I do."

Hugh MacKay- Liberal Party

Who are you and where are you from?

"I was born and raised here in Nova Scotia, lived in a rural area for a while for my first ten years and then moved to the great metropolis of Halifax-Dartmouth and finished my schooling in Halifax at one of the high schools."

MacKay completed a degree at Dalhousie University before enrolling at NSCC in the Annapolis Valley to study geographic science with a focus on survey and mapping technologies. After his graduation, he moved with his wife to Ontario and Germany with a job with an international mapping company.

"However, with aging parents, the call of being home tended to weigh heavily on us and we decided to come back to Nova Scotia ... So we moved into Glen Haven, and I've operated my own consulting practice in the geomatics field ... working with a lot of clients in Asia, Europe and across Canada."

What do you feel is the single most important issue in your riding and how would you tackle it?

"I think that Nova Scotia needs a greater economic engine in order to look after our major challenges of an aging population and the health care system. While there are things we can do that we can tinker with within those different programs, the major benefit is going to be if we can revitalize the economy in Nova Scotia ... so that we can address these challenges in a sustainable, lasting major."

"So I guess my greatest focus is going to be what can we do, particularly in Chester-St. Margaret's, that will address sustainable rural economic development."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

"I would say leadership. I do believe I bring skills, experience, expertise in leadership, particularly in the form of collaboration, of having diverse groups that may not naturally come together able to build successful programs, successful teams through collaboration."

Denise Peterson-Rafuse- New Democratic Party

Who are you and where are you from?

Incumbent candidate Denise Peterson-Rafuse has served as MLA for Chester-St. Margaret's since 2009. Before she got into politics, she earned a degree in communications and public relations and worked in the non-profit sector for organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

"I was the first person in my family to go to university because I'm a very determined individual and believe that there's so much to live for, and you're only here once so do as much as you can, and when you do that, you do it for other people ... I'm very dedicated to the Chester-St. Margaret's constituency, I'm a person that works 24/7 and gets a lot of reward out of helping others."

What do you feel is the single most important issue in your riding and how would you tackle it?

"There's many issues in the constituency, but I would say that I would put on the top of the list the health care system. Right now we are truly in a crisis in all areas of health care ... We are the worst in all of Canada for wait times for hip replacement, knee replacement. Here in Chester we have a beautiful collaborative health care centre that I was able to get half a million dollars to put towards, but yet, they're struggling because this government will not give billing hours to have enough doctors there. With the amalgamation, it has left us with no voice in rural Nova Scotia, so the decisions are coming from Halifax without the knowledge at the grassroots level."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

"I've been an MLA for eight years, I know the communities inside out, I know the issues inside out. I've lived here all my life, I've volunteered here for the majority of my life. I'm an MLA and I still sit on boards that I volunteer to be on. I've worked very hard for this constituency, whether it was when we were in government or when I was in opposition, I have been able to bring things to this constituency."

Harry Ward- Green Party

Who are you and where are you from?

"I am from Lewis Lake on the St. Margaret's Bay side. Grew up in the community ... I sit on the [Five Bridges World Heritage Trust] board. I've chaired it for the last six years. In 2011, we fought with the province and had 8,500 hectares of land protected between Peggy's Cove and the 103. It's been put under the wilderness protection act, so that was a big accomplishment for us ... I run a small general contracting business, do a lot of historic renovations and I've done that for 21 years in business now."

What do you feel is the single most important issue in your riding and how would you tackle it?

"For me, myself it's small business. Being a small business owner I've seen a lot of changes over the last 10 years. I've actually gone from 10 people down to a couple people, right, just because ...with taxes and regulations, it's just not feasible to have a larger company. There needs to be a reform for sure. Workers' compensation, as far as I'm concerned, it's probably a boo-boo to say but that's really hurt."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

"I am very good at working around things and making things happen ... and just experienced through my business and working in the community, learning from the elders as I grew up, right? They certainly gave me lots of knowledge ... I'm really quick on my feet."

"We have a community centre here for instance ... but HRM wanted to shut us down just because they didn't want it, right? ... I went through property evaluations and they chewed them up and spit them out, brought it down to a $1,200 a year tax from $10,000 and no councillors, no politicians, nobody could touch it and I went in and did it."

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