Sackville Town Councillor Megan Mitton says that after her father died of pancreatic cancer last year, she felt too exhausted to contemplate running again for the Green Party in this fall’s provincial election.
“I said, ‘no, I’m not interested in getting into the politics right now,'” Mitton told about a dozen Green Party supporters at her nomination meeting last night at Monument-Lefebvre, the Acadian historic site in Memramcook.
“Then I read about what’s happening with extramural and Medavie and that terrible deal,” she added referring to the Liberal government’s controversial decision to privatize the management of extramural home-care services.
“I was pretty angry and I couldn’t figure out why the government would do this,” she said.
“When my dad was sick, extramural care was the only medical attention that felt like care.”
Then, Mitton read about a man dying in the hallway next to a broom closet in the Amherst hospital.
“I know the same things are happening in our province, he should have been in palliative care,” she said.
“This story was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I said, ‘I’m going to seek the nomination and do everything I can to make sure that other families don’t experience what my family experienced.'”
Mitton’s second run
Mitton was unopposed last night for the Green Party nomination for Memramcook-Tantramar, a riding that was created just before the 2014 election. When she ran that year, Mitton came third with 1,178 votes, just over 15 per cent of the total ballots cast but she assured supporters that “the plan is to win this time.”
A poll by poll analysis shows that in 2014, Liberal candidate Bernard LeBlanc was an overwhelming favourite in the Memramcook area helping him to win a decisive victory with a total of 3,515 votes. LeBlanc will be carrying the Liberal banner again for the September 24th election. (He and Mitton are the only nominated candidates so far.)
At last night’s meeting, Mitton delivered half her speech in French and half in English. She introduced her mother Gayle, whose father was a LeBlanc from Moncton.
“Even though I’m an Anglophone, I’m proud of my family connection to Acadian culture and history,” she said. “I want to represent everyone in this riding and I want people of Memramcook to know that.”
First Green seat
Green Party leader David Coon told the meeting that his election as an MLA in 2014 will change things for Green candidates this time.
“This time our candidates are going into an election as Greens with a track record, a track record in the legislative assembly, a track record with an MLA working in a constituency,” he said.
“I hear it everywhere in the province as I travel that this is an election of change. People are frustrated with the ping ponging back between the Red and the Blue,” he added.
“It’s exactly the frustration that helped get me elected last time in Fredericton South, it was palpable in Fredericton South, the sense of frustration that we need an alternative.”