Deputy Green leader says Mitton can win riding, just as Bob Hall did in ’82

Jo-Ann Roberts, deputy leader of the federal Green Party

The deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada says Memramcook-Tantramar is ready for a big change in September’s provincial election.

“I see this as a riding to win,” Jo-Ann Roberts told about 30 people today at the Sackville Commons.

“This is a winnable riding and you have to go out and tell people that.”

Roberts was speaking during the official launch of Sackville Town Councillor Megan Mitton’s campaign, her second as a local New Brunswick Green Party candidate.

Roberts recalled covering the 1982 provincial election as a CBC journalist when the old Tantramar riding elected Bob Hall, the first-ever NDP member of the legislature.

“Nobody saw it coming,” she said, “but there was an explosion of excitement and it happened here in Tantramar. This is a riding of change.”

Roberts added that the Green Party is gaining strength in the Maritimes. In New Brunswick, Green Party leader David Coon holds a seat, while on Prince Edward Island, there are two Green seats in the legislature.

Roberts urged party supporters in Memramcook-Tantramar to get out and tell people that Megan Mitton can win.

“This is where our province will come out ahead, if we have another voice in the legislature,” she added.

Change and hope

In her speech, Mitton said the riding can show that people are tired of politics as usual.

“We can show that we’re ready for change and full of hope,” she said. “I know we can win this campaign.”

Sackville Town councillor Bill Evans and deputy mayor Ron Aiken said they were attending the campaign launch to show their support.

Megan Mitton with Bill Evans who ran for the NDP in 2010

“I think the world of Megan,” Evans said. “I like her progressive views…God knows we need progressive alternatives to alternating between Conservative and Liberal governments.”

Ron Aiken said that after talking to Mitton about her positions on various issues, he concluded that the Green Party covers most of the things he believes in.

“First and foremost, the environment,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time, but we have to move away from the oil economy to a more sustainable one.”

Aiken said he also likes the Green Party’s grassroots approach, consulting with people rather than dictating to them as other politicians and bureaucrats do.

“I tend to vote for people over policy,” he added, “and Megan’s a person of very good character that I think is well worth supporting.”

Former NDP stalwarts

Dave Bailie said he voted NDP for years and worked to elect Bob Hall, but feels now that Megan Mitton and the Greens are in a better position to win the riding and make change.

“I talked to David Coon at a meeting in Moncton and I asked him, ‘How is New Brunswick going to get rid of the Irving influence?”’ Bailie said, “and he told me, ‘Vote more Greens in.'”

He added that he also likes Green policies and federal leader Elizabeth May.

Former Town Councillor Virgil Hammock, who like Bill Evans once ran for the NDP, said it’s his second time working with Megan Mitton and the Greens.

“I was impressed with her last time and I thought that the Greens match me better than the NDP,” Hammock said, adding that although he supported the NDP for decades, he found the party too dogmatic.

“When I ran, I couldn’t get them to listen to what I wanted to say, they were trying to tell me what to say,” Hammock said.

He added that many people think the Greens are only concerned about the environment, but the party champions many issues including health, the economy and forestry.

“I was very impressed in the last four years with David Coon’s performance in the legislature,” Hammock said, pointing out that in the last election, the Greens won more votes in Memramcook-Tantramar than the NDP.

” I would like to see us in the legislature at least with the balance of power,” he said. “That would be very nice.”

For earlier coverage of Mitton’s nomination meeting, click here.

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8 Responses to Deputy Green leader says Mitton can win riding, just as Bob Hall did in ’82

  1. Shawn Mesheau says:

    Our municipal elected officials should show some restraint and be none too partisan in their approach. Disappointed to see this type of public support in our deputy mayor.
    Coming from councillor Evans as he is likely a disgruntled former NDP candidate and member I am not surprised.
    In fact where councillor Evans has likely offended voters on his positions on municipal decisions and calling out folks who disagree with him example (NIMBY) comment he may have hurt Ms. Mitton’s bid for the job.
    As for winning the riding, you cannot look to the history of ’82 as the make up of this riding has changed and the balance of power sits in Memramcook.
    They carried the outcome of the last election where as the remaining parts of the riding split the vote allowing a victory to the candidate of choice by voters in the Memramcook area.
    This will be the case again in September.

    • ADB says:

      “Our municipal elected officials should show some restraint and be none too partisan in their approach”
      Why Shawn?
      I don’t think there are any rules against municipal councillors supporting party politicians at the provincial or federal level. Just look at Toronto with the Ford (PC) family or Olivia Chow (NDP), and mayor Savage (Lib) of Halifax. Happens everywhere all the time and is perfectly legal and accepted.

      • Shawn Mesheau says:

        Not sure who you are ADB? Most of us use our names here so we know who we are communicating with. Maybe Mr. Wark can make this a requirement.
        Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Example the legalization of cannabis. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it acceptable by all. Alcohol just because it’s legal doesn’t make it acceptable by all.
        Tobacco is another one. I’m sure the list could go on and on.
        I would hope our municipal politicians would be focusing efforts on growing our economy to pay for all the parks etc they are approving. Guess they figure their time is better spent patting each other on the back. The Deputy Mayor and councilor Evans must feel their endorsements will carry a lot of votes her way.
        For those who already support Ms Mitton and these 2 councilors they may think this is a positive thing.
        I’m an undecided voter and seeing the Deputy Mayors performance this term and Councilor Evans in generating economic initiatives for our town I am concerned a vote for this Green Party Candidtae may mean the same approach.

    • ADB says:

      Maybe you should run for council. You could concentrate on getting things done and growing the economy instead of wasting time supporting a friend and co-worker who is running for office.


      • Shawn Mesheau says:

        Hi Alan, not sure what you are referencing here.
        I sat Council from 1998-2004 and again from 2012-2016.
        I chose not to offer again.
        I’m not aware of any of my coworkers running for office or any of my friends.

  2. Rima Azar says:

    Without having your political municipal expertise, I agree with you Mr. Mesheau. I had the same reaction when I read this article: I wondered if, in this story, our Deputy Mayor was wearing his personal hat (which would be rather odd) or his municipal hat (which would be partisan, even if he just meant to be friendly). As far as Councillor Evans is concerned, I am not too sure what sort of hat he would be wearing. Regardless, their solidarity with Councillor Mitton may indeed harm her campaign more than anything else, I am afraid like you.

    Now, since I am just a citizen, I can allow myself to be partisan or not :), I will say: Contrary to what Dr. Aiken said about the merit of voting *for people not policy*, I will say: We have to be careful here, as voters. Policy or ideology (even if it looks ideal on papers but, applied, it would be bound to fail) or dogma (as a collective cult of some sort) can be dangerous if we only think of nice people to vote for and NOT what they stand (or do not stand) for.

    • Rima Azar says:

      After reading the communication between ADB and Mr. Mesheau (+ doing a quick search on NB and ON because this has been given as an example), I would like to reply to my own comment above, if I may :). Partisan politics is not illegal indeed. It may just be a case of bad taste in the mouth. Others would call it public support.

  3. Louis says:

    I just spilled my tea, laughing so hard at reading Bill Evans “I like her progressive views.”

    From what I’ve personally seen of Bill Evans (and many of you know that that’s quite a lot), I’ve concluded that he’s the farthest thing from “progressive” in the true sense of the word. He says all the “left things” that you’d expect to hear from a failed NDP candidate, I’ll grant him that, but when it’s time for talk to switch to action, “old boy reactionary” is how I’d label his political style.

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