Progressive Conservatives in Memramcook-Tantramar have officially nominated 52-year-old Carole Duguay to run as their candidate in the September 14th New Brunswick election.
Duguay accepted the nomination today in Memramcook after pledging to fight to maintain full services at the Sackville Memorial Hospital and preserve the historic character of the Memramcook Institute.
During an interview after the meeting, Duguay said she’s the best candidate to defend both causes.
“Premier Higgs is most likely going to win this election,” she said, adding that she wants to be the voice within government speaking up for people’s main priorities.
“People are saying Blaine Higgs is going in again,” Duguay repeated. “If they (voters) want to have their priorities listened to and they want a voice at the table, they need to vote for the Progressive Conservatives.”
She said she realizes that Memramcook-Tantramar is normally a Liberal riding that happens to have elected Megan Mitton of the Green Party in the last election.
“She is a wonderful representative,” Duguay said, “but unfortunately, being on the wrong side, the wrong party, you do not have the same voice at the table (and) I want to be that voice.”
The PC candidate and her father Fortunat Duguay, who is serving as her campaign manager, both spoke about riding with Premier Higgs on his campaign bus last Wednesday as it travelled from Memramcook to Patterson’s restaurant in Sackville.
They say that when Higgs was asked in Sackville about his support for the overnight closure of the hospital’s emergency room, he responded with an apology.
“I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” Fortunat Duguay quoted Higgs as saying.
“That takes a strong person to do that,” Duguay added.
For her part, Carole Duguay said she asked Higgs on the bus about the government’s plan to sell the Memramcook Institute, site of the first Acadian university and a centre of Francophone history and culture.
She said the Conservative leader told her there would be a clause in any potential sale agreement requiring a purchaser to respect and maintain the historical integrity and heritage value of the building including the chapel that survived when the original Collège Saint-Joseph burned in 1933.
Duguay says the building, which has sat empty since 2016, needs to have a purpose, one that respects its heritage value and that would be one of her main priorities if she’s elected to sit with the PCs in the legislature.
Duguay adds that she would also fight for improvements in mental health services, home health care and long-term care for the elderly.
She told her nomination meeting that her status as a retired person with two grown-up daughters gives her an opportunity to work full-time on behalf of constituents.
After practising family law for six years, Duguay spent an additional 21 years working as an investigations analyst for the federal prison system.
She explained that her job involved supervising and analyzing investigations into the circumstances around such incidents as breaches of security inside penitentiaries or violations of parole outside them.