Lunenburg West candidates

  • <p>BRITTANY WENTZELL PHOTO</p><p>Lisa Norman, NDP candidate for Lunenburg West.</p>
  • <p>BRITTANY WENTZELL PHOTO</p><p>Carole Hipwell, Progressive Conservative candidate for Lunenburg West.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Mark Furey, incumbent and Liberal candidate for Lunenburg West.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Michael Sheppard, Green Party candidate for Lunenburg West.</p>

Mark Furey - Liberal Party

Who are you and where are you from?

Mark Furey is from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia and was elected to the legislature in 2013 but ran in 2009 as well. He was in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 32 years.

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

"I'll say high speed internet and the reason I say that, there are elements, the access to high speed internet gives people the ability to do education online, it gives people the ability to administer their health online and it gives entrepreneurs and small business owners the opportunity to work from home and create employment in the rural parts of our community so I think that's the glue that bonds and provides access to so many services that so many Nova Scotians expect," said Furey.

He says there are programs in the works between municipal, federal and provincial governments, and pointed to the Liberal's plan to continue to put money into rural internet. The party committed $8.5 million for rural high-speed internet access in the 2017 budget, which didn't pass due to the election call.

What skillset sets you apart from your opponents?

"I don't know if I would phrase it in that it sets me apart from my opponents but I think my communication skills and my determination to be accessible allows for open honest dialogue," said Furey.

He says he believes the most important part of being a member of the legislature is engaging with constituents and that he has tried to be a constant presence in his community.

"Your participation in the community which provides the most important medium of access... is your presence in and about the community," he said.

Carole Hipwell - Progressive Conservative Party

Who are you and where are you from?

Carole Hipwell has been living in several communities in Lunenburg County for 20 years and currently resides in Pleasantville.

She originally owned a farm and started a small business in Bridgewater after moving to the province from Ontario, but she's a teacher by trade and has taught at Park View Education Centre, Hebbville, New Germany and Chester.

"I retired last August and went to England for a short period of time and missed Nova Scotia, came back home and decided to try this venture," she said.

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

"I actually got involved in the political venue from my background in teaching and the education issues we've been dealing with," said Hipwell.

"I feel the way the education system as it stands is broken and that it's the teachers in the classrooms that need the supports," she said. "We need the money in the classrooms so I felt I wanted to be a voice for the educators."

Hipwell says she signed up to speak in the legislature during the dispute between the province and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union but never heard back.

"I think in the education system, teachers want to be able to teach and they want the resources to do it so rather than more studies, surveys and committees, that money should be going to the teachers in the classroom," she said.

Hipwell believes the money that was saved during the one-day walk out teachers had should have gone directly to the classrooms instead of to extracurricular activities.

What skill set sets you apart from your opponents?

Hipwell believes her broad background sets her apart from others in the Lunenburg West race. She has lived and traveled all around the world, including teaching in China and the United Kingdom. Prior to teaching she work in several other careers including as an administrative clerk at a bank, a dental assistant, and even sold cable TV.

"I have an honours science degree, I also have my bachelors of education and I have my masters in education and leadership development, so I have always been a leader, I have always been seen as a leader in schools, I've been an administrator and I've always been a sort of a team leader even when I'm in the classroom," she said.

Lisa Norman - New Democratic Party

Who are you and where are you from?

Lisa Norman has been living in Chelsea for over 14 years with her partner David and her son Noah.

"Right now I'm on unpaid leave from the Department of Community Services. I had to take an unpaid leave in order to run in the election because I am a civil servant. I was pretty muzzled in what I could say and broadcast in social media so that's been an interesting road," said Norman, adding she's been with the department since 2007.

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

"It's really difficult to talk about singularities because really in communities everything is connected so I'm going to go with health care and care of seniors," said Norman.

Norman says that working with families has shown her just how precarious and vulnerable many people's lives are. She pointed to both young families and seniors as not being able to get the services they need, whether that's mental health services or addictions.

She says she would tackle the health care issues by reinvesting money.

"The province has been preoccupied over the past three and a half years about getting a centralized health care authority but what works in urban settings doesn't work in rural settings and I think that needs to be recognized," she said.

"We are talking about opening more collaborative care centres and that is certainly what we did when we were in power," she added, saying hiring more doctors is a priority too.

What skill set sets you apart from your opponents?

"I'm an advocate at heart, that's what I do for a living and I'm good at it. I grew up in a family that my parents both families struggled with poverty. My parents were both blue collar workers and they instilled a strong work ethic," said Norman. "I don't give up, I'm a digger."

Michael Sheppard - Green Party

Who are you and where are you from?

Sheppard is from the Halifax area but moved to the Bridgewater area on January 1. Sheppard is a mechanical engineering technologist, husband and father.

"We are starting a sustainable community," he said. "It's on 37 acres just outside of the Bridgewater town limits where we'll be building eco-friendly homes."

This is his first time running in an election.

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

"I would say one of the biggest issues in Nova Scotia in general outside of Halifax areas is that we have a lot of people not able to get jobs in the area and they have to leave or they have to go to larger cities and they'd prefer to stay in their homes," said Sheppard.

"I believe if we're really innovative that we can keep people in these areas like Lunenburg West," he added. "Achieving that would be helping people who want to be innovative, who want to start their own business."

Sheppard says that could mean things as simple as cutting red tape or finding supports for startups.

What skill set sets you apart from your opponents?

"The skillset that I think bring to the table is I like to look at things as a whole," he said. "I'm really big into something called permaculture, it is a type of agriculture but it's also a philosophy."

Sheppard says the cores of permaculture are planet, people, profit and that all three need to be understood.

"It's really important to look at all areas to be successful in all three."

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