[UPDATED: Nov. 26, 4 p.m. with photos and comments from Chowder party itself]
Junior made a big batch of his famous seafood chowder for his good-bye get-together.
Digby Annapolis MLA Harold ‘Junior’ Theriault says organizers of his retirement at the Digby Legion on Saturday, Nov. 24 wouldn’t tell him what going on—all he knew was he was making the food.
“I suppose they want to roast or me something,” said Theriault before the party. “It doesn’t matter. The chowder will be good is all I know.
“More than two bowls will kill you.”
The Digby Annapolis MLA announced this summer he won’t run again but will serve out his term.
With talk of an election on the horizon, the Digby Liberal Association held the open house to “honour our MLA Harold ‘Junior’ Theriault for his years of hard work and dedication to the people of Digby-Annapolis.”
Over 120 people piled into the legion Saturday to try out Junior’s chowder and wish him well in retirement.
Clare MLA Wayne Gaudet gave Theriault a picture of chair on the beach; the chair painted like an Acadian flag.
“I don’t know anymore if I’m your MLA or you’re mine,” said Gaudet. “Depending on the boundary changes though, this chair could be very appropriate.”
(The most recent boundary change recommendation has Clare and Digby joining up in one riding.)
Theriault stepped into provincial politics in 2003 after 35 years fishing and a stint as the chair of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association and on the advisory board for lobster fishing area 34.
That first election he upset the incumbent Gordon Balser, then the Minister of Agriculture by 350 votes.
He won the 2006 election by almost 1,000 votes and in 2009 he came in 2,500 votes ahead of the second-place candidate.
“It has been a great experience,” said Theriault before the party. “Probably one of the greatest experiences of my life. But there’s a lot of work to it too. And if you do the job right, it’ll burn you out, that’s what it’ll do.”
Theriault says he’s most proud of never letting the members of the House forget about the people in Digby County.
“My first speech in the Legislature, I stood up and talked for 45 minutes about the 15,000 ‘Forgotten People’ of Digby County,” he said. “I mentioned the Forgotten People 29 times and they never forgot it up there.”
Also early on in his career a reporter asked Theriault one morning as he rushed into the House of Assembly, what he liked best about Halifax.
“Leaving,” was his answer then and ten years later it’s still his answer.
“I don’t like big crowds of people, bumper to bumper traffic, people honking at you, waving their fists at you,” he says. “That doesn’t happen in Digby.”