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.
“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.