2017-05-17

Lunenburg candidates

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Marc Breaugh, a school counsellor, is the Lunenburg candidate for the New Democratic Party.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Brian Pickings, a self-employed journeyman carpenter, is the Lunenburg candidate for the Progressive Conservatives.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, who was the MLA for Lunenburg since October 2013, is running again for the Liberals.</p>

Marc Breaugh - New Democratic Party

Who are you and where are you from?

"I come from a bi-cultural family. My mother is Franco-Ontarian. My father is Irish Canadian. I live in Old Town Lunenburg with my four children and my partner, Hayley."

Originally from Ottawa, Breaugh has lived in Lunenburg for the past 10 years. He's a counsellor at Bayview Community School and the Mahone Bay Alternate School in the Mahone Bay Centre, teaches Grade 7 healthy living at Bayview, and is a former provincial executive member of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union for Lunenburg and Queens counties.

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

"What I'm hearing very clearly from just about everybody on the doorstep is that health care is the top issue in this election in the Lunenburg constituency. The health care piece is problematic on a few levels. We're looking at a Liberal government that has not invested in long-term care. We've not had one new long-term care bed in the province since they came to power."

Breaugh referred to the NDP's plan to reinvest the $8.3 million in long-term seniors care that was cut by the government. "And also the plan is to hire more family physicians and nurse practitioners and to open a collaborative emergency centre in Lunenburg, which is the thing the NDP government championed when it was in power. The Liberal government had promised to make that investment in the Fishermen's Hospital and didn't follow through, so that's something we intend to do right away."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

Breaugh says his work as a school counsellor has him "listening to students, listening to parents, listening to our grandparents, and then advocating for them, and really bringing a social justice focus to the work."

"I think I have a great understanding of Lunenburg's needs and of society in general, and I see the holes that government austerity has made in our families. I think my skill set is that - listening, the responding and the action. And I've got the energy and enthusiasm to make a difference in the families of Lunenburgers."

Suzanne Lohnes-Croft - Liberal

Lohnes-Croft has been the MLA for Lunenburg since October 2013. Born and raised in Mahone Bay, she studied early childhood education and taught at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. "We came back [to Mahone Bay] when my eldest son was almost three years old because we wanted our children to have the experiences growing up that my husband and I had here living in Lunenburg County."

Lohnes-Croft went on to teach nursery school on the South Shore and worked as a public library story teller, as well as an educational assistant and librarian at Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay.

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

"I think infrastructure, in general. Everything from all our buildings and the roads. You know, ferries -we have the LaHave ferry...our schools, our hospitals. Getting renovations done that need to be done ... With an aging population, we need to look at more long-term care facilities. What that will look like."

Lohnes-Croft says her contribution is largely as an effective advocate. She points out that the recent announcement by the provincial government that it was allocating an additional $10 million in the capital budget for gravel road improvements was made in her riding.

"From my advocacy and I was a strong voice for getting it."

Lohnes-Croft stresses she doesn't "have a magic wand," and that she knows there is limited money available.

"But this, at least, is a start. It's positive. We started the announcement with $10 million, but next year it's going to be $20 million. There's been a commitment for that."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

"Well I have the experience of being an MLA. That for sure is great experience, because it takes a while to get into the groove and it's a job that is baptism by fire. No one's taking your hand and showing you what you have to do."

"Also, I sat on three committees," adds Lohnes-Croft, who was on the government's resource, economic development and public accounts committees.

"I have found my committee work has just opened my eyes to what's really going on in government and how a lot of departments function, and I've been able to bring those resources back to my work in the constituency ... I've learned how you navigate the bureaucracy of government and how you help people."

She also notes she's been an active volunteer in the community "all my life."

"The experiences that I've gained and the networking of people have helped me so much. A lot of people have been go-to resources for me."

Brian Pickings - Progressive Conservative

Who are you and where are you from?

Pickings grew up in Upper LaHave. "Right on the river. Swam there in the summer and skated there in the winter." He attended Centre Consolidated School and later Park View Education Centre and went on to obtain his Red Seal as a journeyman carpenter in Calgary in 2004 before returning to Nova Scotia in 2008. Pickings is self-employed and lives with his wife Alice in their home at Spectacle Lake.

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

"I would have to say the crumbling rural economy and way of life. We're losing far too many people because the opportunities are no longer here."

"Our party wants to put apprenticeship training back in schools and that means that people can make their own jobs.With automation, robots and computers and all those things, there aren't as many jobs as there used to be." However, Pickings says people will always need builders, plumbers, electricians and mechanics.

"Having better internet service means people might not have to go to Halifax. Or if they have online business then they can live somewhere in the country and do that ... Our party is going to invest in getting fibre optic everywhere in the province. I can't remember the commitment that they made. ..."

Pickings indicated he would push for lower taxes, more development of agricultural land and marketing opportunities for owners of private woodlots.

"How you do these things? Well, I think you ask better questions of the right people to get better answers."

What skill set sets your candidacy apart from your opponents?

"People in progressive conservatism look at the individual first. And everything flows from that individual responsibility..."

"The bureaucracy shouldn't be running the show. The people should be running the show. And I understand that. I am a self-employed, hard-working person who loves rural Nova Scotia ... I'm not a politician, I'm a person. And as I say to Alice, if people don't like politicians, stop electing them. For me it's the people first."

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