The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2005 December 13

Stan's the man for Liberals


HARVEY — His supporters turned out in force, and Stan Smith easily won the Liberal nomination in New Brunswick South West Thursday night, doubling the vote of his nearest rival.

Smith, who has been mayor of St. George for nearly 14 years, garnered 101 of the 169 votes at the convention, which was held at Harvey High School, and attracted a crowd of about 200 people including several Liberal MLAs and former Liberal MLAs.

In second place, with 49 votes, was Nancy MacIntosh, of Hanwell, a regional advisor to Fredericton MP Andy Scott; and the third candidate, Leone Peppard, who operates a planning firm from her home in Gagetown, had 18 votes.

There were 170 votes cast, with one spoiled ballot.

Smith, who was the first of the candidates to speak, was led in by an entourage of young people carrying his banners chanting "Stan, Stan, Stan" as the song Simply The Best blasted over the speakers.

Throughout his speech his young supporters continued their chant at strategic intervals. He was nominated by Winston Gamblin, and Blacks Harbour mayor Terry James seconded the nomination.

He told the crowd he was not afraid of the issues, not afraid of the work, not afraid of the solutions and certainly not afraid of Conservative leader Stephen Harper or incumbent Conservative MP Greg Thompson.

As mayor of St. George, Smith said he has worked extensively with all levels of government and understands what it takes to succeed.

"In 1992 the tax base in St. George was approximately $62 million. Thirteen-and-a-half years later, that tax base has increased by 61 per cent and is quickly closing in on $100 million. I can lead change. I can get results."

Since the Liberal government first took office in 1994, he said, there have been eight consecutive balanced budgets and the recent economic update shows balanced budgets this year and for the next five years.

"I want to bring our share of that prosperity home to New Brunswick Southwest."

Fisheries and aquaculture are of critical economic importance, said Smith, and the Liberal government announced $20 million for aquaculture earlier this year.

"The provincial Conservative party has stood in the way of this money coming to our riding and Greg Thompson has done nothing to help settle this situation. I will work hard so that we can finally get, not only what is rightfully ours in New Brunswick Southwest, but also, our fair share in all other areas as well."

The Liberal government has been talking about decentralization and Smith said he wants to be there to suggest bringing half of the federal fisheries department to the constituency.

"What an excellent opportunity that would be for us. We would ensure a properly funded federal department in our riding that would guarantee that Atlantic Canada would get the job done for all fishermen, whether traditional or aquaculture related.

"We do not have a defeatist attitude, Mr Harper. We are not welfare bums, Mr. Harper. This is a win-win situation for our riding and for eastern Canada."

The federal government has an aid package structured for the forest industries where people are in danger of losing their jobs, said Smith, but the opposition parties chose to slap the forest workers in the face by bringing down the government.

"We are faced with an election that the majority of Canadians did not want. This situation will affect millions of dollars that would have helped these forest based businesses from Springfield to Tracy to McAdam.

"The pending legislation could have been passed to benefit these individuals and companies. And yet our Conservative member in New Brunswick Southwest was seen on television night after night trying to unseat the Liberal government in Ottawa with no regard to the impact on the people of our riding.

"Greg Thompson's self interest has cost New Brunswick in the vicinity of $100 million. Choose me as your candidate and let us send Greg Thompson to Ottawa one last time - to pack his bags."

LNG is a major concern to St. Andrews, St. Stephen, Deer Island and Campobello, he said, and they must work with the newly formed federal committee to study the full impact of this project. He said he is concerned for the safety of those next to the areas of passage of the super tankers as the thermal radiation danger zone is over one mile.

"The exclusion zone required for tanker passage would completely disrupt and virtually destroy tourism, aquaculture and fisheries in the area and severely impact the existing ferry service. Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor James Fay, who has long warned about the perils of catastrophic LNG accidents, clearly states that this is simply not an acceptable area for such an operation."

MacIntosh, who was nominated by Sue Knight and seconded by Jeremy Murphy, said voters have big doubts about Stephen Harper who does not have the leadership skills to lead his party let alone the country — but Paul Martin does.

"Even with a minority government and with an opposition that did nothing more than whine and complain, Paul Martin has delivered on an amazing number of promises made to Canadians in our election platform. Promises made ... promises kept."

As regional advisor to MP Andy Scott, she said she has helped on such issues as Point Lepreau, the herbicide spraying at Base Gagetown and the LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay. MacIntosh said she has also been able to work with communities and individuals seeking federal grants and who needed access to federal programs.

MacIntosh said she believes Canada needs to diversify its energy programs and to balance them with conservation. While Point Lepreau is vital to the New Brunswick power grid she would like to see green alternatives such as wind power, tidal power, passive solar energy and methane from waste sites.

"And since nuclear power only uses one per cent of the energy in fuel rods, new technology may make it feasible to use the spent rods as an alternate energy source."

She said she would support seniors in their efforts to have medicine covered in seniors' homes, to create more housing options and to address poverty and health concerns. MacIntosh said she would work towards ensuring that every child who needs quality care will receive it in day cares where staff are well trained and well paid.

Peppard, who was nominated by Flo Gregg and seconded by Ian Stewart and also had her own cheering section, said all three candidates had agreed that they would pool their talents behind whoever won the nomination to make a Liberal super-team.

A big strength of the Liberal party, she said, is their policies on most issues are better thought out than the Conservatives' or NDP. She said they must remember their leader was planning to be Prime Minister for years, and it shows.

Peppard touched on the passport issue, and said it would be disastrous in this region if passports were required to cross the border between Canada and the U.S., as it would seriously undermine the region's economy and be a huge burden for people going back and forth to Campobello.

There are too few doctors in the region with people not having a physician because there are none to be had, she said, and this is disgraceful in Canada. Peppard said other communities need to follow St. George and Blacks Harbour's model to entice doctors into their communities with incentives.

Speaking about the former veterans and civilians who were exposed to the herbicide spraying on Base Gagetown she said this is an issue not so much about entitlement as acknowledgment of harm done.

She said she thought the Liberals were doing a wonderful job working on this issue.

Dealing with national issues, Peppard said health care is a major issue for Canadians and the sovereignty issue in Quebec is looming its head over the horizon.

Canada needs to pick up its socks on climate change, she said, and the Prime Minister is trying to get President George Bush to do the same. At this stage in her address, Peppard ran out of the time allotted for each candidate.

Guest speaker was MP Andy Savoie.


© 2005 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB