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Clare-Digby candidates square off at forum event in Digby

People line up to ask questions at the forum. Topics included accessibility, seniors, campaign promises, the Digby hospital, healthcare, and teachers.
People line up to ask questions at the forum. Topics included accessibility, seniors, campaign promises, the Digby hospital, healthcare, and teachers.

DIGBY, NS – The three candidates running for election in the Clare-Digby riding spoke at a forum May 17 at the Digby Fire Hall.

The Digby and Area Board of Trade hosted the forum, where NDP candidate Harold Neil, PC candidate Norm Cormier and Liberal candidate and incumbent Gordon Wilson were each presented with four questions.


The four questions

1. There is a moratorium on the mining of uranium. Would you support banning it if it meant creating more industry?

Cormier: “We need to work on expanding the business we already have, like fishing and tourism.”

Neil:  "Not a snowball chance in you-know-what. It’s not worth the risk.”

Wilson: “We must ensure fishing: it’s a balance between protecting the environment and creating jobs.”


2. There is a healthcare plan in place to bring more physicians. How does your party intend to reach these targets?

Neil: “The NDP will pledge $120 million for doctors and will ensure more billing numbers, quality of life.”

Wilson: “The Liberals will create 20 new medical school seats at Dalhousie and provide $12 million towards the students’ tuition.”

Clare-Digby PC candidate Norm Cormier.

Cormier: “We’ll reduce overhead and double tuition relief for docs and nurses for them who want to work in this area.


3. People are leaving Digby and heading out west. How will you ensure Digby remains sustainable?

Wilson: “We’ll create incentives to employers to hire minorities and eliminate tuition for apprentices taking technical training.”

Cormier: “We have to keep existing jobs stay here and stop losing what we have. Lets reinvent vocational schools and finish the 101.”

Neil: “We must stop devaluing our professionals. The NDP will grant free tuition to all NSCC programs across province. We need to bring services back here.”


4. Where do you stand on the legalization of marijuana use and why?

Cormier: “This is federal. We will play a role once it’s legalized.”

Neil: “It’s already passed. When it comes, we want it in with NSLC so we can create more jobs and control the flow.”

Wilson: “We must deal with it through education. It’s distribution, taxation and safety – we need to avoid expanding usage.”


Audience questions

Many people lined up with questions to ask the candidates. The following three questions were among those asked at the forum.

1. Over 30% of people in Nova Scotia are in housing poverty. How will you create affordable housing?

Cormier: “We’ll offer a tax deductible. That's all I can offer for now.”

Wilson: “The problem is poverty. Increasing supports, accessibility grants and funds to shelters is important.”

Neil: “McNeil gave bank rebates, but did they need it? We the people need to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour.”


2. Our hospital has been become the bare minimum. Windsor is getting their operating rooms back, but when will we get ours?

Cormier: “The Liberals had four years to fix this and they didn't. We don't need someone in September. We need someone now.”

Clare-Digby NDP candidate Harold Neil.

Wilson: “I'm proud we have a dialysis unit coming here with a multitude of services coming with it. “

Neil: “The money is here, but the services aren't, so if we're keeping taxes at same level, why are we the have-nots in this area?”


3. Nothing has changed regarding classroom conditions. How will you change them?

Wilson: “Having those nine teachers is the best thing we've ever done. I'll be back in your classrooms in October to see what's working and what needs fixed."

Cormier: “We'll repeal bill 75 and will speak with teachers and help them with more people in classroom.”

Neil: “Talk to the boots on the ground, the teachers, and get them to fix it.”

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