Cardy pledges to stamp out "culture of patronage" in province, while Mulcair talks shale gas
|Cardy campaigns for seat in Rothesay today|
ROTHESAY – Federal leader of the opposition and New Democrats, Thomas Mulcair, was in Rothesay today in support of provincial New Democrat leader Dominic Cardy in his bid to win the town's upcoming by-election.
Sweeping into the room shaking hands while the crowd of up to 80 supporters applauded enthusiastically, Cardy stepped up to the podium to talk of change, starting with an end of patronage in New Brunswick.
"People on their doorstep tell me they want their hard work to mean more than sweetheart deals. They're tired of the patronage and the lack of imagination that are holding our province back," he said.
Cardy spoke of a once-great province passed back and forth between Liberals and Conservatives who he blasted for squandering that greatness.
"Our Liberals, our Conservatives; they were too often lazy; too often careless, and instead of investing in our province's future, they gave it away. With every patronage appointment, with every broken word, every ridiculous promise made, they gave it away," said Cardy.
He further attacked the "who you know" style of political patronage that has been business as usual in the province for the past 150 years when seeking jobs in the civil service.
"The work that you do should define who you are. Not your family, not your connections - your work; your commitment...we know today that that is not how things are done in New Brunswick; and we cannot build the strong province that our children deserve without talking about the culture of patronage that holds New Brunswickers back. This is an addiction that our province can no longer afford," said Cardy.
New Brunswick NDP leader Dominic Cardy is asked how he'll stand up for New Brunswickers on issue of shale gas if elected to Legislature in a few weeks.
Promising an end to cronyism, Cardy said if elected as MLA, he would present the Rothesay Charter he formulated for the end of patronage to the Legislature.
"...it will become an offence for any elected politician to try and influence the hiring process for anyone in government in any way...," he said.
Cardy said if the Liberals and Conservatives refused to work with him on the Charter, he will spend every day while in the Legislature asking why they refuse to do so because it holds the province back.
Touting himself as the third way for politics to be done in New Brunswick, Cardy cited his experience in politics and business around the world as preparation for office.
"I've managed large offices with multi-million dollar budgets; I've fought for democracy in dozens of countries around the world. I worked with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to secure the release of young political prisoners in Bangladesh; working and advising political parties, leaders and governments from Afghanistan to the south of Sudan," he said.
With the NDP positioned for change, Cardy said he wants to take his experience on getting things done to the capital.
"I want to take the approach of sensible solutions for difficult problems to Fredericton. It's time to get to work, it's time for a change...we're going to end patronage in this province," he said.
When he finished up, Cardy introduced Mulcair, who is on his fifth visit to New Brunswick in the past year.
|Thomas Mulcair supports Dominic Cardy in Rothesay|
Walking into the room to the crowd chanting, "NDP", "NDP", Mulcair was impressed with the enthusiastic support for Cardy saying, "A lot has been said about the orange wave that came in on May 2, 2011, I guess this is the beginning of the orange tide here in New Brunswick."
Mulcair immediately launched into a theme of leadership, saying strong leadership by the NDP shows Canadians the party is capable of administering the nation.
"New Brunswick deserves a strong leader like Dominic Cardy in the Legislature," said Mulcair.
He also cited voter frustration with the Liberal/Conservative cycle on a national level when 4.5 million Canadians voted for a third choice, the NDP, in last year's federal election.
Taking issue with jobs being shipped out of Canada with a pipeline to the States, Mulcair suggested pipelines be built west to east, bringing work to the Maritimes.
This segued into his description of meeting the leadership of oil and gas lobby the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) while on a campaign swing through Calgary last year. They discussed company disclosure of chemical fluids in the shale gas fracking process, something Mulcair knows is a sensitive topic in New Brunswick.
"...they had a policy that all companies doing fracking had to reveal the contents of the fracking fluid. I said, 'but the companies aren't doing that.' You know what they said? 'Well we can't force them, they're just a member,'" said Mulcair in a tone of incredulity.
He further lambasted CAPP leadership for coming to New Brunswick back in the winter on behalf of industry and claiming regulations will protect the citizenry. Mulcair also pointed out CAPP refused to speak to locals and only talked to hand-picked media.
"...the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers was out here pulling a con job. Trying to make people believe that somehow they had rules that were going to mean something. They wouldn't even meet with anybody other than the individually involved members of the press; they certainly didn't want people asking them tough questions," said Mulcair.
Mulcair questioned why, if the industry thinks the method of getting to the shale gas is safe, companies aren't releasing the chemical contents of the fracking fluid. Answering his own question, he said it was because the fluids contain known carcinogens.
Linking the chemical issue to Rothesay's water, Mulcair said chances shouldn't be taken with the future water supply. He invoked rules of sustainable development to justify his reasoning.
"In a place like Rothesay where you're drawing your water from the ground, and you're getting good pristine water for generations, we're not allowed to take a chance. That's the basic principle of sustainable development called "the principle of precaution" and it should be applied to fracking here in New Brunswick," he said.
Mulcair connected such an approach to being a responsible NDP vision; in favor of development, but in a sustainable way.
Making Cardy's win a priority, Mulcair is sending party lieutenants down from Ottawa in the next few weeks to help secure the seat. He said New Brunswickers are tired of Liberal and Conservative patronage, and looking for a new option.
"For the next fifteen days, let's work together tirelessly for one purpose and one purpose alone, to get our leader into the New Brunswick Legislature!"