Andrew Black wins Tantramar mayoralty

Andrew Black

Sackville’s Deputy Mayor Andrew Black has been elected Mayor of the new Town of Tantramar according to results posted tonight by Elections NB.

He will preside over a council that includes four current Sackville councillors and the Mayor of Dorchester.

The three other councillors will be newcomers Josh Goguen in Ward 3 (Sackville), Barry Hicks in Ward 2 (West Sackville) and Greg Martin who was acclaimed in Ward 5 (Point de Bute).

The results in Ward 3, the former Town of Sackville, show that voters have chosen the three Sackville councillors in the running as well as Josh Goguen.

In Ward 1, Dorchester Mayor Debbie Wiggins-Colwell defeated Deputy Mayor Robert Corkerton.

In Ward 4 (Midgic/Upper Sackville), Sackville councillor Matt Estabrooks defeated his council colleague Sabine Dietz.

In Ward 2 (Westcock/Wood Point/Rockport), Barry Hicks defeated three rivals.

Tantramar Town Council will officially take office on January 1st.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 6 Comments

Ward 4 candidate Sabine Dietz says ‘it’s absolutely crucial’ who gets elected mayor

Ward 4 candidate Sabine Dietz

Sabine Dietz says she decided to run as a Tantramar council candidate in Ward 4 after Andrew Black announced he would be running to become mayor of the new town.

“I decided that yes, I can imagine working with Andrew to make this work for all of the community,” she said during an interview last week.

“It’s absolutely crucial who gets elected mayor,” she adds, noting that whoever is elected mayor will have a seat on the board of a newly strengthened regional service commission.

“There are going to be all sorts of committees and the mayor will essentially determine who sits on those committees to make sure our Tantramar interests are represented and defended,” she said.

“That’s why it’s absolutely crucial who gets elected — someone who understands the role of the regional service commission, who can ask the questions that are needed and who can make a stand,” Dietz says.

Dietz, who is currently serving as a Sackville councillor, is running against her council colleague Matt Estabrooks for the Ward 4 seat.

Estabrooks declined an interview request from Warktimes saying in an e-mail, “I have chosen to use my own social media and good old fashioned face to face conversations to communicate my positioning in Ward 4 issues.”

For her part, Dietz says she has knocked on almost all of the doors in Ward 4 which includes Pond Shore Road, Upper Sackville and the Midgic area.

“I know there’s about 660 voters in the area and I estimate about 300 houses, or units I should say, because some of them are apartments,” she says.

“In some cases, just a flyer in the mailbox, if there was nobody home, but I’ve visited all but a handful.”

Ward 4 issues

Dietz says residents are concerned about tax increases especially since property assessments have risen so steeply and they’re also worried about the services they’ll receive from the new town.

“There are these questions about, what does it mean for me?” she says, adding that snow clearing and road maintenance are big concerns even though the province will continue to provide those services in the outlying areas for the next year or two.

She notes that people on Pond Shore, who were within Sackville’s town limits, continue to worry about speeding as well as ATVs on the road.

“There was also something very curious that I noticed,” she says.

“Part of it was a quiet excitement that folks in outlying areas can now vote, but on the other hand, there was the total opposite, ‘This is stupid, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.'”

Dietz says it will be important to try to reconcile the interests of the residents along Pond Shore, Mount View, Church Street and Station Road, who were part of Sackville, with those in the rural areas.

She also noticed that younger people have been moving in, attracted to the area because of lower housing costs, but also affected by the steep rise in property assessments.

“It’s interesting, it’s different, Ward 4 feels almost more like a provincial riding where you get the same kind of broad range of interests and  differences in what people think.”

Dietz says that if elected, she will continue to work on climate change issues even though next year’s budget is still uncertain and no one knows, for example, whether the province has made any provision for the climate-change co-ordinator position that Sackville requested.

New layer of government

Sabine Dietz

Dietz points out that the provincial government has downloaded some of its responsibilities to the newly strengthened regional service commissions that will oversee regional economic, social and community development as well as tourism and recreation.

“I feel we’re on the brink of losing some of our own capability of addressing issues locally and moving them to an unelected body which is not what we want,” she says.

She notes that the province will pay the added costs next year, but in 2024, “believe me, we will be paying.”

Dietz fears that decision-making power will shift to the regional service commission.

“It’s in the opposite direction to where we need to go,” she says.

“We need to make our communities stronger, take ownership over all of those files that are important to us like housing, health care, social development, economic development, tourism, climate change — all of those really need to be embedded in the community and what is happening is some of those things that make us stronger and more resilient are being taken away from us.”

Dietz says that since Tantramar’s mayor will sit on the board of the regional service commission, it’s crucial to elect someone who understands the issues and can defend the town’s interests.

“We’ve got communities such as Dieppe and Moncton in there, they have a way stronger voice, but only in theory. If you’ve got a good mayor, the mayor will be able to stand up in this forum,” she adds.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 11 Comments

UPDATED: Tantramar Mayoralty candidate Bonnie Swift deletes hundreds of right-wing tweets

Swift tweet endorses 2008 statement from Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre questioning compensation for residential school abuses

Sackville Mayoralty candidate Bonnie Swift has deleted hundreds of tweets from her Twitter account that express strong right-wing views including support for the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels; visceral hatred of Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberals as well as opposition to women’s abortion rights and campaigns for racial justice.

Many of Swift’s tweets were replies to Trudeau including to his tweet on June 6th saying the prime minister was meeting with Ottawa high school students to discuss “climate change, gender equality, democracy, leadership, and other topics these young people are passionate about.”

“Topics no one cares about,” Swift replied. “Cost of living, cost of housing, inflation rates on food and gas, improving healthcare, decreased standards of living for families because they can’t afford to live here. The level of detachment this government shows for basic human needs is appalling.”

In reply to a tweet about the possible loss of abortion rights in the U.S., Swift wrote on May 5th: “And if abortions is illegal it does not impact me in anyway….I just don’t care…it’s not 1950 use birth control, tons of options”.

When Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted on May 3rd that Canadian women who care about “a woman’s right to choose need to be active, vigilant and speak out,” Swift replied: “As a Canadian woman I don’t care about this crap. I care that about all the women and single moms that can no longer afford to live in this country because of the inflation your irresponsible government created”.

CTV News tweeted on May 3 that Freeland was “deeply troubled” that the U.S. Supreme Court was considering overturning the abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade.

Swift replied: “”I am deeply trouble by Freeland …She’s a hideous human being,” adding later: “I can’t stand Freeland. Rather be run through a wood chipper than have her as my PM. I am women but she disgust me”.

In reply to a tweet on April 26th that the “biggest threat to Canadian healthcare is Conservative politicians who want to erode universality by introducing more privatization so they can eventually open the country to American HMOs who are slavering at Canada as a virgin market,” Swift replied: “Can’t happen soon enough. I was very ill had to fly to the US for treatment as the wait times for specialist here are way too long….Give us some other options because we need them”.

In a tweet on April 30th, Swift referred to the CBC as “Trudeau’s propaganda TV station.”

On April 25th, a tweet from American economist Robert Reich caught Swift’s attention.

Reich wrote: “A handful of billionaires now have unprecedented control over banking, the food we eat, the health care we can access and, now, the information we receive. This is what oligarchy looks like.”

Swift replied: “Shut up please…We couldn’t live without these people and the technologies and jobs that they have created. They are doing more to advance society that you ever will.”

On April 28th, a tweet from British journalist Laurie Penny provoked another acerbic reply from Swift.

Penny wrote: “Like many writers who aren’t straight, white, wealthy men, I’ve spent my whole career being trolled, threatened, flamed, defamed, iced out and lied about by EXACTLY the same people who claim to be all about ‘protecting free speech’ until a single woman actually speaks her mind.”

Swift replied: “I really think most people don’t care about what you have to say. They are just not that interested in this stuff. At least the white, wealthy men are creating technologies that are advancing society. The only reason you have these platforms to whine on is because they made them.”

On May 14th, Swift again defended the American rich against the prospect of President Biden raising their taxes.

“That rich are 70% of the tax base they are what’s holding the country up, they also create most of the jobs. Tax them anymore they’ll leave then we are screwed the jobs are gone,” Swift wrote.

Swift’s admiration for Elon Musk was a recurring theme in her tweets. His promise to reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account drew her praise.

Here is a statement e-mailed to Warktimes by Bonnie Swift at 4:09 p.m Wednesday, Nov. 23rd:

My husband deactivated my Twitter account when I was out today campaigning in Midgic, due to the online harassment coming from the comments on my sites and he was worried about my safety. There was lots of personal stuff on there. By the time I was contacted by Bruce Wark, I was unable to go back and see when the comments were made or confirm if the context was accurate. So when Bruce said I deleted it that was not true. He also asked me to confirm some of the stuff yet he posted it without me having a chance to respond.

My responses, such as my comment under the Poilievre meme where I was quoted as saying “everyone could learn the value of hard work” was missing. There were other lines missing, so I do believe some if these tweets are out of context, but how can I confirm this? I can’t.

Since I began running for mayor, I have received steady harassment and stalking online but it’s not going to break me. I’ve always been a strong woman and I will see this election out to the end.

If I was truly concerned about my social media, I would have deleted my accounts long before I ran for local office. I chose not to delete them because I live my life as an open book with nothing to hide.

The Twitter content posted was taken from a small window of my life. There was tons of Twitter content not included, like when I was a green party supporter for 10 years, or my animal welfare posts and my volunteering for wildlife conservation. What was posted, if even accurate, was a very limited reflection of me as a whole person.

I have views reflecting both left and right for the most part. I am a social liberal but a fiscal conservative. I am non partisan, having voted Green, Liberal and Conservative, it varies every year. I consider myself politically fluid across the political spectrum.

I have just as many left sided views as right but none of those were ever posted. I have to question why I am singled out to be investigated in the campaign. Whatever happens, I could author a book about women like me, who don’t fit into the Sackville status quo. I feel like the next Rima Azar. The poor women’s career was almost destroyed by cancel culture. I don’t care about the outcome of this campaign. I ran because many concerned citizens asked me to and they still want me to. I really don’t care if I win or lose. They think I do but I don’t, that’s what they don’t get.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 50 Comments

Where do Tantramar municipal candidates stand on revealing campaign donations and spending?

Tantramar mayoralty candidates Bonnie Swift, Shawn Mesheau & Andrew Black

The Tantramar mayoralty candidates outlined differing positions on revealing campaign donations and their total campaign spending when they responded to questions from Warktimes e-mailed to them on November 15.

The candidates were asked if, after the election, they would commit (1) to publishing the names of campaign donors (2) revealing the amount of money or the value of services that each donor contributed and, (3) publishing the total amount of their campaign spending.

Bonnie Swift reaffirmed her commitment “to publish my donors’ names and what they gave me. However, if a donor didn’t want their name published, I would protect their privacy.” She added that she will reveal her total campaign spending.

Shawn Mesheau responded with a message signed by a member of his campaign team that read:

“Candidate Mesheau is following all of the rules as set out under the elections act for municipal elections. There are no rules requiring candidates to keep track of contributions or expenditures related to their campaign. Candidates are not required to file a financial return at the conclusion of the election. It is our understanding that by the time of the 2026 municipal elections the provincial government has indicated that they will be addressing these requirements. Candidate Mesheau will be reviewing the campaign finances with his team at the end of the campaign and will share appropriate information through social media platforms in keeping with the municipal elections act requirements.”

Andrew Black responded: “Yes to all three questions!”

Council candidates

Ward 1 candidate Robert Corkerton answered yes to all three questions: “I will make that commitment without issue,” he wrote.

Debbie Wiggins-Colwell, who is also running in Ward 1, wrote: “Had one private donation for one hundred dollars. My own funding was Advocate Printing nine hundred, eighty-five dollars and fifty-five cents and postal cost eighty-nine dollars and seventy cents. Total of one thousand, seventy-five and twenty-five cents. The private donation was used for rent for meet and greet.”

Ward 2 candidates Natalie Donaher, Wendy Epworth, Barry Hicks and Kevin Scott said they would reveal donors, donations and total spending.

Ward 3 candidates Allison Butcher, Alice Cotton, Josh Goguen, Sahitya Pendurthi and Michael Tower pledged full disclosure.

Bruce Phinney wrote: “I have no money donations, just verbal support. I spent no money on my campaign. I had signs left over from the last two elections.”

Virgil Hammock sent this answer: “Of course, yes to all questions. But the real answer is that I have zero donations and I have spent zero dollars running for council. I have done everything online by myself. I will not accept any donations between now and the election. Nothing is needed.”

Warktimes did not receive a response from Ward 3 candidates Charles Harvey and Sana Mohamad.

Ward 4 candidate Sabine Dietz responded that she has not had any campaign donations, but did have door-knocking help and will reveal total campaign spending.

Matt Estabrooks, who is also running in Ward 4, wrote: “I am able to provide the answers to your questions now.  1. No donors to my campaign. 2. No donors and therefore no funding or in kind services received for my campaign. 3. $245 of personal funds spent at Payzant Home Hardware on exterior paint and one sheet of 3/4” plywood. To hand paint and construct my one election sign installed on my own property. That is the extent of my personal spending on this election.”

For CBC reporting on the lack of municipal spending disclosure laws in New Brunswick, click here and here.

Posted in Town of Sackville, Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 13 Comments

Tantramar mayoralty candidates won’t say no to hefty pay hikes

Tantramar Mayoralty candidates Shawn Mesheau (L) Bonnie Swift and Andrew Black at MASU all-candidates forum

Mount Allison students tossed the three Tantramar mayoralty candidates a financial hot-potato on Monday during an all-candidates forum organized by MASU, the university’s students’ union.

Candidates Andrew Black, Shawn Mesheau and Bonnie Swift were asked if they supported new municipal salary levels that would triple the pay that members of Sackville Town Council are now receiving.

Table: Salary comparisons

Black’s response

“Wow” replied Andrew Black with a chuckle.

“I’ve been on council for six years now and in that time, I think it’s been five times that the issue of remuneration has come before council,” he said.

“Every time it came before council it was defeated and the reason for that is because the argument was that it shouldn’t be about money, it should be about doing something for your community.”

Andrew Black at MASU all-candidates forum

Black said there was another side to that coin.

“We need to have some form of remuneration so that you could do the job effectively and also have more people be interested in running — it’s a lot of work being on council.”

He pointed out that the new salary levels came from the province through the transition facilitator as part of municipal reform.

Black indicated that he didn’t necessarily approve of the huge pay increase, but noted the new salaries did not include the health, dental and life insurance benefits that members of Sackville Town Council now receive.

“So really in the end, it’s about a 50% increase,” he concluded.

Mesheau’s response

Shawn Mesheau explained that the province provided the transition advisory committee with salary templates including one from New Brunswick’s Association of Francophone Municipalities.

“What was decided upon was to look at that template from the Francophone Association and look at different areas — population, tax base, [government] services that are being provided,” he said, adding that the advisory committee told the province it would be an opportunity to set a level playing field for all municipalities.

Shawn Mesheau at MASU all-candidates forum

“It’s something that councils won’t touch with a 10-foot pole,” Mesheau said as the audience laughed, adding that pay levels reflect the amount of time members of council put in.

“As the current sitting mayor, I can put 25 to 30 hours very easily into a week on top of my part-time job.”

He said that although the province did not end up providing consistent pay levels for all municipalities, this is what’s in place for Tantramar.

“Let’s hope it’s satisfactory in order to move us forward,” he concluded.

Swift’s response

Bonnie Swift said that although she was not familiar with the process for deciding on the pay increases, she had thoughts about them.

Bonnie Swift at MASU all-candidates forum

“I was talking to a young man who’s working two part-time jobs supporting a family and he said, ‘I would love to run for municipal government, but I would have to give up one of my part-time jobs,'” Swift said, adding that for people living paycheque to paycheque adequate compensation is crucial.

Without it, she said, the municipality would be shutting out large numbers of people from participating in local politics.

“There are a lot of things to consider,” she said.

“We want to draw everybody in who wants to run for a council position or a mayoral position, but they have to be able to do that and live, so that’s really important,” Swift concluded.

Current Sackville benefits package

Note: Sackville Treasurer and Acting CAO Michael Beal supplied the following information about the benefits package that members of Sackville Town Council are now receiving:

Members of council are currently eligible to join the town’s health plan. Benefits for each sub-group in our plan varies and each of those costs varies as well.

The subgroup that covers the mayor and councillors includes life insurance up to age 65, health (which covers prescription drugs and other services, i.e. physio) and also dental.  For councillors over 65 , their life insurance benefit is reduced and if they are over 75, it is eliminated.

The current overall cost for a member of council who is less than 65 and on the plan with full coverage, would be $560.26 or $6,723.12 per year. This is the 2022 rate for this subgroup and rates are adjusted annually based on many factors.

Posted in Town of Sackville, Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 6 Comments

Ward 4 council candidates clash over EV charging station in downtown Sackville

Table shows that the cost of downtown EV charger has increased by $18,282.52 since June when Sackville Town Council approved installing it subject to obtaining financial support from NB Power and the province

Sackville councillors Matt Estabrooks and Sabine Dietz, who are both running for the single Tantramar council seat in Ward 4, came out on opposite sides Tuesday night as council voted to spend $72,567.89 to install an electric vehicle charger in the downtown parking lot beside the Post Office.

“I do appreciate and recognize the positive environmental optics of installing electric vehicle chargers generally, but it’s the struggle with the use of public money to fund this required infrastructure,” Estabrooks said as he explained why he would be voting against a motion to install the charger.

He also voted against the project in June when council first approved it subject to obtaining financial support from NB Power and New Brunswick’s Regional Development Corporation (RDC).

Acting CAO Michael Beal said that since June, costs had risen by more than $18,000 and that the local contractor, Tantramar Electric, had submitted a revised quote to cover the higher cost of materials.

“We all know what inflation has done,” Beal explained “and the contractor of course could not hold his price for the nearly six months it took [to obtain funding].”

He pointed out that even with the increased cost, the project is well below the $108,000 set aside for it in this year’s capital budget.

Subsidizing NB Power

Coun. Matt Estabrooks participated in the council meeting via an online hook-up

In arguing against the EV charger, Estabrooks suggested that Sackville taxpayers were subsidizing NB Power.

“The end result of this project will be Flo, a division of NB Power, operating and selling electricity to users via a charger that the town of Sackville purchased from them,” he said, adding that the town will also pay the cost of the needed electrical infrastructure.

“Is that a proper use of taxpayers’ money?”

Estabrooks added there are only about 20 electric vehicles in Sackville and if business owners are hoping the fast charger will bring more visitors to town, they should present numbers to demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the costs.

“I believe that alternatives to power our vehicles beyond fossil fuels must be found and supported, but that technology is changing very, very quickly and any specific type of car charger installed this year could be obsolete in a short while,” he said.

Councillor Bruce Phinney said he would also vote against installing an EV charger because of its cost.

“Actually $72,000 to me is ridiculous to take taxpayers’ money for the benefit of approximately 20 people,” he said.

 Need for leadership 

Councillor Sabine Dietz said she hardly knew where to start in answering Estabrooks and Phinney’s “misconceptions about electric vehicles.”

“I’m a bit appalled,” she said and offered to sit down with them along with the town’s climate change co-ordinator to clarify things.

“It shows to me that Councillor Estabrooks and Councillor Phinney do not quite follow world events around climate change, around where electrification of our transportation system is actually going,” Dietz said, adding that the issue is not a long-term one, but much more immediate given federal policies and strategies.

(The federal government is pushing for half of all passenger cars sold in Canada to be zero emission vehicles by 2030 and is requiring a complete phase-out of fossil fuel burning cars by 2035. Meantime, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association says Canada needs to be building millions of EV charging stations. For more details, click here.)

Coun. Sabine Dietz

“Why should Sackville invest in something that currently is very expensive?” Dietz asked.

“As individuals, as communities and as governments, there have to be leaders and there have to be people out front to make it possible for others to follow suit,” she said.

“This is one of those cases.”

Dietz said that voting against the EV charger makes no sense.

“If council votes this down right now, this would be an absolute embarrassment,” she said, “after showing off that we’re such a climate-ready and climate-aware community in everything that we do.”

The vote to approve the EV charging station was 5-2 with Estabrooks and Phinney voting against it. (Councillor Ken Hicks was absent.)

To listen to the eight minute debate and vote, click on the media player below:

Posted in Town of Sackville, Town of Tantramar | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Tantramar all-candidates forum hears campaign pitches from mayoralty and council contenders

About 120 people attending Saturday’s all-candidates forum in Middle Sackville heard a wide range of views on the role the municipal council should play in shaping the future for the new Town of Tantramar.

“We are setting the foundation for the generations to come. How exciting is that!” declared mayoralty candidate Shawn Mesheau.

“Our population will be 9,100 and our tax base $1 billion.”

Ward 5 Councillor Greg Martin

Mesheau’s view that the new mayor and council “must create the mechanism that brings our communities together with one vision” seemed to be widely shared among the 15 council candidates who attended the forum along with Greg Martin, who has already been acclaimed in Ward 5 (Point de Bute/Aulac) because no one ran against him.

“I am the first elected council member of Tantramar,” Martin said.

“I’ll tell you, my mother would be very, very proud,” he added as the audience laughed.

He said there will need to be “a team mentality” on the new council.

Mayoralty candidate Bonnie Swift promised to bring more transparency and openness to municipal government.

She also spoke directly to residents of the rural wards.

“You now have a candidate that understands your concerns,” she said.

“You know why? Because I grew up in one and I know a lot of you are struggling and worried about having proper representation. If I am your mayor, you will not have to worry about that. I will be there for you.”

Mayoralty candidate Andrew Black came with written answers to key questions.

When asked about the shortage of affordable housing, for example, he promised to push for “a full housing needs assessment in our new expanded boundaries so we have solid and accurate data to start with.”

Black also pledged that he would create a mayor’s round table on housing to bring groups working on the issue together and said he would take steps to investigate and potentially set up a housing authority in Tantramar.

For a transcript of the mayoralty candidates’ opening statements, click here.

Ward 3 (Sackville)

Four of the nine candidates for Ward 3 (Sackville) Photo: Peter Stephenson

Council candidates for the populous Ward 3 (Sackville) shared a variety of opinions and ideas.

Allison Butcher, who has been a Sackville councillor since 2016, said she originally ran “to give back to the community that I love so much, and was quite surprised to discover that I actually got a lot of satisfaction and joy from working at the municipal level.”

She added she would like to continue working for the new Town of Tantramar.

To read Butcher’s two-minute opening statement, click here.

Alice Cotton, who has lived in Sackville for nearly 30 years, said she decided to run for office because of the lack of affordable housing.

“We must work with the new housing hub and groups like Acorn to find solutions,” she added.

“A working group from council needs to be tasked with coming up with creative housing solutions, working on zoning bylaws and partnering with local concerned citizens and organizations.”

To read Cotton’s opening statement, click here.

Josh Goguen, who works for Moneris, has lived in Sackville for 16 years and is heavily involved as a leader in the Scouts.

“The reason I’m running is just to give a new perspective on town council,” he said.

“If elected, I’ll definitely work hard on representing everybody not just from Ward 3, but from every single other word, because this is not just a ward issue, it’s a whole Tantramar Council issue.”

To read Goguen’s opening statement, click here.

Virgil Hammock, who served on Sackville Town Council for 13 years as well as four years on the Southeast Regional Health Authority and seven years on the planning commission, said he’s running because he’s angry that the province imposed municipal amalgamation without any mandate from the people affected by it.

“The Town of Sackville and the Village of Dorchester have histories that go back to the mid-18th century and are going to be erased and replaced with Tantramar,” he added.


Hammock also criticized the ward system.

“It’s going to be hard for newly elected Tantramar councillors to get your heads around the idea they need to represent the entire community and not just your wards.”

T0 read Hammock’s opening statement, click here.

Charlie Harvey delivered this short opening statement:

“Good evening, my name is Charlie Harvey. I’m running for council in Ward 3. If elected, I pledge to be receptive to the citizens of Tantramar and bring worthy concerns and suggestions to council for consideration. On council, I will vote as I believe is in the best interests of Tantramar. Thank you.”

Sahitya Pendurthi said she and her husband moved to Sackville last year and while the town is still new for her, “it’s still as dear as it is for all of you.”

She added she wanted to run for town council to give back to the community that has accepted her as its own.

“Everybody is so loving and kind, but is also so troubled in this little paradise of ours,” Pendurthi said.

She urged everyone to vote as a way of preserving Canada’s democracy.

To read her opening statement, click here.

Ward 3 candidates Bruce Phinney (L) and Michael Tower

Bruce Phinney, who has served continuously on Sackville Town Council for the last 18 years, said councillors who are elected are going to have to learn from the people in the five Tantramar wards.

“As much as I know Wood Point and Rockport, I know nothing really,” he added.

“I know people, but I need to know what their needs and concerns are.”

Phinney said he’s open to listening to people and hoped voters would re-elect him on November 28th.

“I enjoy this job immensely and I work for you, not for anybody else.”

To read Phinney opening statement, click here.

Michael Tower said his long experience and dedication to his work on Sackville Town Council would be an asset to Tantramar’s new council.

“I understand how council works and I acknowledge that things can be better and must be better,” he added.

“Being an open-minded and approachable person, I listen to what people have to say in meetings and casual conversations,” he added.

“I believe to get the best results, we must work collaboratively.”

Tower ended his opening statement with this advice:

“When you get your ballot, please review the list of candidates and vote from the bottom up.”

To read Tower’s opening statement, click here.

Note:  Ward 3 candidate Sana Mohamad was not able to attend the all-candidates forum.

Ward 4 (Upper Sackville, Midgic)

Sabine Dietz, who has served on Sackville Town Council for a year and a half, said councillors need to be active on many fronts.

“When I was elected last year, I was clearly running on climate change making this community be more aware of climate change and incorporating climate change into all the decisions that council would make,” she said.

“I soon realized that councillors cannot be a one-issue person.”

She added that councillors have to be active on issues such as health care and housing even though issues such as these are not in municipal jurisdiction.

Dietz said it’s really important for municipal councils to advocate on behalf of health care, for example, with the provincial government.

(Dietz herself served on the Rural Health Action Group, a volunteer committee that worked for the restoration of full services at Sackville Memorial Hospital.)

She warned that Tantramar councillors will also need “to make our stand with the Regional Service Commission, who will impose many more mandates on us than we currently have.”

To read Dietz’s opening statement, click here.

Matt Estabrooks said he was proud to be running as councillor for Ward 4.

“What a wonderful community we live in. We should be so very thankful that we live in a democracy where all people have a voice,” he added.

“This local government reform process has strengthened that for us, giving a voice to all members of Tantramar, giving a voice to some that did not have one before,” he said, referring to the local service districts that did not elect local councils.

Estabrooks said that he alone supported municipal amalgamation.

“I was on an island. I like to think a beautiful island. But nonetheless, I was the lone councillor on that island. On an island choosing positive change, positive change based on a collaborative way forward for our region,” he added.

“The relationships between our communities have been damaged over the last year by some outspoken people, and we now have the task ahead of us to repair them.”

He ended his opening statement by saying he is “ready and willing” to do the job of bringing “all the communities in new Tantramar together through collaboration.”

To read Estabrooks’s opening statement, click here.

Wards 1 and 2

Candidates for Ward 1 (Dorchester & vicinity) and Ward 2 (West Sackville/Rockport) participated in the all-candidates forum.

For a complete report on the candidates in Ward 1 including what they said at the all-candidates forum, click here.

For a report on the candidates in Ward 2 and their contributions at the all-candidates forum, click here.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 1 Comment

UPDATED: Taxes a big issue in Tantramar Ward 2, candidates say

Note: This report ends with updated information based on the all-candidates forum held on Saturday, November 12th at the Church by the Lake in Middle Sackville.

Candidates in the new Town of Tantramar’s Ward 2 agree that anticipated property tax increases are a big issue in the area that includes communities such as Frosty Hollow, Westcock, Wood Point and Rockport.

“Everyone that I have spoken with, it’s the first thing out of their mouths,” says candidate Wendy Epworth.

“It’s an issue for everybody — it was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about amalgamation.”

“A lot of people live outside of the limits of a town because of the relief that they get from taxes,” Epworth says, adding that increased taxes would only add to an already rising cost of living.

“I think we’d be naive to think that our taxes are not going to go up,” says candidate Kevin Scott, who notes that for him and many others who live in Ward 2, this year’s property assessments have already increased.

“My understanding is that there won’t be much of a change in the property tax rate in 2023,” he says, adding that the increase would probably come the year after.

“People are having a hard time surviving the way it is right now with the high inflation and I don’t see any benefit to start overtaxing people to the point where we can’t live our lives,” Scott says.

Candidate Natalie Donaher says she’s also hearing from residents concerned about likely tax increases coupled with what she calls the “double whammy” of rising assessments.

“People are saying, ‘Don’t have our taxes go up, we’ve chosen a rural area that is affordable for a reason, we have family ties here, we want our children to be able to come back or stay in the area if they are moving out of the house,'” she says, adding that affordable housing is also an issue for older people who want to stay in their homes and people on social assistance.

All three candidates pledge they would speak up vigorously on behalf of residents when Tantramar Town Council sets tax rates to ensure that property taxes reflect the levels of municipal services that people in Ward 2 are actually receiving.

Barry Hicks, who is also a candidate in Ward 2, declined to speak with Warktimes saying he would make his public comments at Saturday’s all-candidates forum in Middle Sackville.

The three candidates, who did agree to be interviewed, talked about other main issues and why they are running.

Natalie Donaher

Ward 2 candidate Natalie Donaher on the Mt. A. campus where she works as a technician/lab instructor in the department of chemistry & biochemistry

Natalie Donaher says she decided to run for Tantramar Town Council after serving on the local service district advisory council that reported to provincial bureaucrats in Fredericton.

Donaher and the four other members of the council resigned in January 2021 over the lack of provincial response to a number of issues including damages to wells and houses caused by quarry blasting in Westcock and British Settlement.

To read a report on their resignations, click here.

“We didn’t have very much decision-making power, we didn’t have any funding or any budget that we had any control over,” she says, adding that she decided to run for a council seat as someone who has “a record of service to the community.”

Donaher says that as a councillor, she would gather data about the damages caused by quarry blasting to use in her advocacy on behalf of the community and to ensure there is enforcement of provincial regulations governing any expansion of the quarries.

Donaher is also concerned about stopped CN trains blocking emergency access via Rte. 935 to the communities in West Sackville and south on the loop down to Rockport.

“We haven’t had too, too many instances of  that,” she says, but adds that as an elected councillor, she would take steps to safeguard public safety.

“My main efforts would be put into formalizing a community communications structure so that when there are issues arising, there is a clear set of people who can be contacted to get the ball rolling to understand why this is occurring and how to mitigate it.”

Aside from trains blocking the road, she says that people in the area worry that the province isn’t maintaining the new aboiteaux at Carters Brook adequately to prevent flooding of Rte. 935.

Donaher, who grew up in Moncton, has lived for 18 years in the Sackville area. She and her husband, who is a carpenter by trade, are restoring “a beautiful old home on the Bay of Fundy” in the Wood Point area.

To view her campaign website, click here.

Wendy Epworth

Wendy Epworth at the Sackville Public Library

Wendy Epworth says that owning a small business in downtown Sackville made her aware of what was happening in local politics and even though Mel’s Tearoom has since closed, she continues to be interested in municipal affairs, especially since people in Ward 2 will now have a voice and a vote.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity for me to champion a few ideas around climate change mitigation or economic development and to ensure that people out in my area get some additional services for the additional taxes we know are coming with amalgamation,” she says.

Epworth, who has lived in Frosty Hollow for about 20 years and who grew up in Middle Sackville, explains that the biggest climate change issue in Ward 2 is the threat of flooding at Highway 106 and Rte. 935 that could cut off emergency services to the people in West Sackville.

While she acknowledges that the province has installed new aboiteaux in the Carters Brook area, she feels the new flood control structures won’t be effective in light of the increasing frequency of extreme weather.

She says her career as a biologist working on preserving endangered Atlantic salmon in the Bay of Fundy for the Fort Folly First Nation has taught her how easily silting can plug up flood control structures.

“The waters in the Upper Bay of Fundy are incredibly laden with silt, 30,000 milligrams per litre of silt, and so, when that water comes in on high tide and hits a barrier, all of that sediment just falls right out of suspension and the silt just builds up on the tidal side of the gates,” she says.

“If you want them to work properly, you either need to continually be removing that silt or ideally, you put in a bridge.”

Epworth says that as councillor, she would push the province to conduct regular maintenance of the aboiteaux.

“I would also want to look at some alternate routes to get people access to emergency services,” she adds.

“The Old Frosty Hollow road comes out by St. Ann’s Church and it is a driveable road,” she explains.

“In terms of upgrading that road or phased re-commissioning of that road so that emergency vehicles can get into West Sackville, I seriously think that’s something  that should be looked at.”

To view Wendy Epworth’s campaign website, click here.

Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott after a radio interview at CHMA

“I’m not afraid to speak up when I believe something is right or wrong,” says Kevin Scott, who adds that he grew up in a local service district in the Baie Verte area and saw the challenges his parents faced in getting things like the street lights that “made a big difference.”

Scott says now that people in the West Sackville LSD finally have a voice, he wants to be the councillor who speaks up for them.

“Now we will have a voice that people can hear on a monthly or bi-weekly basis depending on when the meetings are,” he says.

“We will have a voice on council and they will know what’s going on in our ward and what our issues are.”

Scott says, for one thing, the new aboiteaux at Carters Brook “haven’t been tested yet” and he’s afraid flooding will still block the roads.

“Being a voice for Ward 2, we want to make sure that if anything happens like that, that we can still get in and out, that we can get fire and ambulance service or police service still get to us if we need help.”

He adds that residents he’s spoken to have said the Old Frosty Hollow road should be rebuilt and made accessible year-round as an alternate route.

As for the damages caused by quarry blasting, he says while the old quarries have been grandfathered in, he promises to oppose any new ones.

“I will fight hard if elected, to make sure there are no more rock quarries going into our area.”

Scott’s record of speaking up includes his efforts to expose the bullying, harassment and favouritism at Sackville Fire & Rescue that had led about 17 volunteer firefighters to resign over a five-year period.

Those efforts forced the town to hire a consulting firm to conduct a workplace assessment and recommend changes.

Scott, who now volunteers at the Point de Bute fire department, says that Sackville firefighters he’s talked to say some of those recommendations have been or are being implemented.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that will continue to happen,” he says.

“If elected, I will certainly do my best to ensure that continues to move forward.”

To read Kevin Scott’s campaign brochure, click here.

All-candidates forum

Three of the four candidates running for the single council seat in Ward 2 participated in the all-candidates forum held on Saturday, November 12th in Middle Sackville.

Kevin Scott was unable to attend.

The other candidates gave two-minute opening statements

To read a transcript of Natalie Donaher’s, click here.

To read what Wendy Epworth had to say, click here.

To read Barry Hicks’s opening statement, click here.

Posted in Town of Sackville, Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 2 Comments

Liberals pledge support for Sackville hospital as town council hears of progress in hiring more staff

NB Liberal leader Susan Holt outside the Mt. A. library

Provincial Liberal leader Susan Holt says she supports decentralization of health care so that communities such as Sackville have more say in how local clinics and hospitals are run.

“There’s far, far too many decisions that are being made in one office in Fredericton and those decisions aren’t in touch with what’s happening on the ground,” Holt says.

“These one-size-fits-no-one policies mean that New Brunswickers aren’t getting good and relevant care at the community level.”

Holt, who was elected Liberal leader in August, made her comments as she visited Sackville on Wednesday as part of a provincial tour to learn about local issues and priorities.

“I think we need to create structures that empower local people to make decisions that affect their local services including hospitals,” she said during an interview with Warktimes.

She promised that a Liberal government would make money available to finance local decision making.

Rural Health Action Group

Holt’s comments came the day after Sackville Town Council heard a presentation from the Rural Health Action Group, a volunteer committee that has been working on restoring full services at Sackville Memorial including a 24-hour emergency room and acute-care beds for local patients.

At present, the ER operates from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. because of staffing shortages.

Co-chair John Higham addressing Sackville town council on Tuesday. Co-chair Pat Estabrooks sits on the left behind him

John Higham, co-chair of the action group, presented figures showing progress in hiring additional staff.

“We basically have pretty well all the nurses that are necessary and we do have all the LPNs [Licensed Practical Nurses] that are necessary for all of the services we had previously,” he said.

“What we do not have is enough physicians, enough family physicians and enough ER physicians and we don’t have any team health approaches as yet,” he added.

Information that the Rural Health Action Group gave to members of Sackville Town Council

Higham said next steps should include coming up with a structure such as a local committee that would have a direct voice in decisions made by the Horizon Health Network.

“I see it working from the community up,” he said, adding that perhaps the head of the local committee could sit on the Horizon board.

Local operating rooms

Councillor Bill Evans

Councillor Bill Evans agreed.

“There needs to be more community involvement,” he said after pointing out that at the moment, the health authority is governed by the single trustee the Higgs government appointed after dismissing the Horizon board in July.

Evans pointed to Horizon’s decision to expand surgical services at smaller hospitals including Sackville Memorial.

From a Horizon news release on October 14th

Evans said Horizon may have convinced the provincial government that it’s cheaper to renovate the operating rooms in Sackville instead of building new ones in Moncton.

“They’ve committed to spend $2 million and they would not have done that in 2020 when they were talking about closing the hospital,” he added.

“That’s a huge shift in direction at the very top and I think your group can take…credit for having persuaded them of it,” Evans told Higham.

To read the background document from the Rural Health Action Group, click here.

Posted in Health care, New Brunswick politics, Town of Sackville | Tagged , | 1 Comment

UPDATED: Goodbye Dorchester Village, Hello Ward 1: hope & dismay

Shep, the giant Dorchester sandpiper once stood tall in the village square, but alas, no more. Photo: Tourism New Brunswick

With the Village of Dorchester about to disappear, local candidates for the new Tantramar town council are talking fondly of Shep, the sandpiper statue that once stood as a symbol of village identity.

“Shep’s been gone now for a couple of years,” says Deputy Mayor Robert Corkerton, one of two candidates competing for the single seat in Ward 1 that includes Dorchester and surrounding communities.

“It got to the point where Shep was rotten right through,” he says, adding that the village council has explored various options for replacing Shep.

“People come to Dorchester to see the sandpipers when the birds are here, but also to stop and see Shep, the same as the lobster out in Shediac,” he says.

“He’s been there for 20 years and people want him back.”

Dorchester’s Mayor Debbie Wiggins-Colwell, who is also running for the Ward 1 seat on Tantramar council, says she’s been talking with the sculptor who created the original, wooden Shep as well as artists in Calgary who work with more durable materials.

“I’m looking at two options, either the Calgary group that would do it in fibreglass or we’re looking at bronze, the same as [George] Stanley is in Sackville,” she says.

“I’m hoping maybe the bronze will be our option, but that’s something we have to work towards,” Wiggins-Colwell adds.

Both candidates suggest they would take up the need for a new Shep at Tantramar town council after it takes office on January 1st.

They say the sandpiper statue is crucial not only for Dorchester’s sense of itself, but also for its ongoing appeal to tourists who flock to the Nature Conservancy’s shorebird reserve at nearby Johnson’s Mills to witness the birds’ annual August migration.

Identity loss

But even as the candidates talk about the symbolic and practical need to restore Sandpiper Shep, voters in the village and the small communities around it, worry that Dorchester is about to be lose its identity anyway as the village is swallowed up by the larger and richer town of Sackville.

“I’ve actually heard it said from people in Sackville, when the amalgamation process started, that ‘We don’t want Dorchester,'” says Neil Harris, a retired salesman who returned home to the village three years ago after a 48-year absence.

“My concern is that some people in Sackville are just going to sweep us aside,” he says.

Former Dorchester Mayor Wayne Feindel

Harris’s concern is shared by Wayne Feindel who served for more than 30 years on the village council — his last three terms as Dorchester’s mayor.

“This community will not be run and looked after the way it is now,” he says.

“Dorchester is a tightly run organization [and] with no money, they’ve done miraculous things,” Feindel says.

“There’s no way this bigger group will be able to run this community as well as it was done even with more money to the people who are running and to the mayor, a nice little bribe to try to get people involved, but you have to have something deeper than that if you’re going to run for your community,” he says.

(Feindel’s “nice little bribe” refers to the tripling of salaries for elected representatives on Tantramar’s new council.)

As Sackville becomes the “centre of gravity” in the new municipality, he says the focus will inevitably shift to it.

“A town with so many resources, with doctors and lawyers and people in every field and stores and all that, they have no sense of anything beyond Sackville and I don’t see that changing overnight.”

When combined with the growth of centralized bureaucracy in an expanded Southeast Regional Service Commission and with only one representative on council, Feindel foresees the disappearance of volunteers rooted in the local community.

“The volunteers are just not going to be here, like with the Sandpiper Festival and stuff like that,” he says.

Dorchester will become “a soulless place,” he predicts.

Hope for a bright future

Debbie Wiggins-Colwell with Preston, her canine companion

But Tantramar Ward 1 candidate Debbie Wiggins-Colwell says that Dorchester getting swallowed up by Sackville isn’t a worry for her, at least not yet.

“I don’t look at it that way, you know,” she says, adding that all parts of Tantramar can collaborate and work together.

“That’s how I’m looking at it, going into it,” she says.

“Now maybe you ask me this at the end of three years, it might be entirely different, but right now, that’s how I look at it.”

Wiggins-Colwell says she foresees a future in which natural beauty and community-run events like the Shiretown and Sandpiper Festivals combine to bring the citizens of Tantramar together.

“I mean we’re not even 13 kilometres from Sackville,” she says, adding that the round trip on Rte. 935 from Dorchester to Rockport and Wood Point is stunningly beautiful.

“That’s my happy place,” she says. “I love it.”

Cross promotion is key

Robert Corkerton descending Shep’s new stairs

Candidate Robert Corkerton is also hopeful as he points out that the village has already built a solid set of stairs and railings in anticipation of Shep’s return along with crowds of tourists eager to pose for photos on the newly built platform beside him.

He says his 16 years on the village council would help guide his efforts to help promote the many attractions in the new town including the Nature Conservancy shorebird reserve, Sackville’s Waterfowl Park and Farmers Market, Fort Beauséjour as well as the ice cream and other attractions at Trueman’s Blueberry Farm.

“We have such an opportunity to say, ‘What do we have? How can we promote this? Where are our air B&Bs, where are our hotels and motels and what can we do to cross-promote everything?’

“What can we do to bring people here to Tantramar?” he asks. “How can we make it a destination spot, so people will want to come in and spend their money here?”

‘Losing out’

With election day only three weeks away, it remains to be seen which of the two hopeful candidate messages will resonate most with voters in Dorchester and its surrounding communities.

Aaron Stright, who recently returned to the Dorchester area after 10 years away working as a welder in Alberta, says he’s not optimistic at all because Sackville will be the centre of the new town.

“Most of the people in Sackville don’t seem to have Dorchester’s interests in mind,” he says.

“We’re stuck out on the side and nobody really wants to think about us and now they’re going to be controlling more of what goes on here,” he adds.

“A lot of people are worried about losing out because Sackville’s going to get more than we do.”

All-candidates forum

Both Robert Corkerton and Debbie Wiggins-Colwell appeared at the all-candidates forum held on Saturday, November 12 in Middle Sackville.

Here is Robert Corkerton’s two-minute opening statement:

I’m a resident of the current Village of Dorchester and have lived there for the past 20 years. I live there with my wife Lise and our four children. I’m originally from England and moved to Montreal when I was a young child. This is where I learned French and I’m fully bilingual. For the past 16 years, I’ve had the honour of being a member of the Council of the Village of Dorchester. Over that time, I’ve worked on different portfolios, and the constant being recreation programming and playing fields. I’ve served on the the board of Recreation New Brunswick as representing the village, a provincial NGO for the recreation in the province. I’m currently in my 20th year serving as a leader in Scouts Canada having held different positions throughout the years. I’m a volunteer with the Dorchester Food Bank and new as of this year, I’m also the director for the junior programs for the Moncton Black Tide Rugby Club. I’m looking to serve because I feel the experience on council and other boards and my understanding of governance workings will be an asset to help bring Tantramar into existence and set it on a good path for the future.

Here is Debbie Wiggins-Colwell’s opening statement:

I am the last mayor for the Village of Dorchester and first female mayor also. I’ve lived in Dorchester for over 50 years, raised three of my children there, had owned my own business and my husband and I opened a second business in the village square of Dorchester. I am now retired. I have many years of volunteering under my belt, most recently, including the founding board member of the Greater Dorchester Moving Forward and in 2017 was honoured by receiving the Molly Kool  Award for Outstanding Contributions by a woman in the southeast part of New Brunswick. And I am now ready to serve as first councillor for Ward 1.

To read Debbie Wiggins-Colwell’s campaign brochure, click here.

To read Robert Corkerton’s campaign brochure, click here.

To listen to Erica Butler’s CHMA interview with Debbie Wiggins-Colwell, click here.

To listen to Erica Butler’s CHMA interview with Robert Corkerton, click here.

Posted in Dorchester, Town of Tantramar | 8 Comments

Bonnie Swift promises as Tantramar mayor to end secrecy, promote citizen engagement

Tantramar mayoralty candidate Bonnie Swift

Bonnie Swift says she decided to run for mayor of the new town of Tantramar because she wants to end the secrecy that has prevailed in Sackville’s local government.

“Actually, it was the biggest thing that motivated me to run, get the information to the people,” she said yesterday during an interview with Warktimes.

“I want the public to know what their town is doing and how they’re managing everything inside that town.”

As one example of secrecy, Swift points to the $28,000 Montana report on how to end bullying, harassment and favouritism in the Sackville fire department that has never been released to the public.

“I want to see the Montana report, what I can see, what I’m allowed to legally see, I would want to see,” she says, adding that the town government has been too closed.

“I mean that report is probably under lock and key in some CAO desk somewhere,” she says.

“If something’s not functioning right or people are being harassed and abused, as a mayor, I would want to know about that.”

Swift also says firefighters need better protection as whistleblowers.

“Whistleblowers are very important to the functionality of everything,” she says, “and I really didn’t like the silencing of the fire department.”

Swift notes that under Sackville’s whistleblower policies, firefighters are expected to report their concerns to senior management even when those managers may be causing their problems.

“As Mayor no whistleblowers will ever be silenced,” Swift writes in her platform document entitled “Fighting for Open Government.”

‘Citizen engagement’

Bonnie Swift addressing Sackville council last June

Swift’s platform position on “citizen engagement” partly reflects the circumstances that led to her appearance before Sackville town council last June as a member of Concerned Citizens.

The 35-member group called unsuccessfully on council to re-open a zoning change clearing the way for the AIL plastic pipe plant on Walker Road.

Concerned Citizens pointed out that residents of the area were not notified about the development before council held a public hearing on the zoning change before finally approving it.

In her mayoralty platform, Swift writes it’s a good example of the municipality’s poor citizen engagement process.

“One of the largest developments, if not the largest development, is currently happening in our town, yet almost none of the citizens in the region knew about it until the massive 18-acre clear cut took place,” she writes.

During our interview, Swift criticized town council for failing to do any research in order to answer residents’ questions about the potential effects on groundwater, air emissions or traffic in the area.

“I think, because the council is the first line of defence, you can’t rely on other levels of government, it’s your responsibility to keep the community safe, to keep the environment safe and to take care of public welfare,” she says.

“So, if you are not doing that, you’re not representing the people.”

Swift promises that if she’s elected mayor, “these types of inadequate practices will stop” because “poor engagement creates a lot of distrust with both the Council and the developer.”


Swift points in her platform to what she calls the “double standard” on climate change.

In 2001, Sackville town council passed a bylaw banning any further fast-food drive-thrus next to the TransCanada highway, a ban that it re-affirmed in 2016.

“I don’t think it’s fair to prevent a small business from expanding or having a drive-thru due to idling cars if you are going to have large manufacturing facilities go in without questioning their environmental footprint,” she writes referring, for example, to greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacture of plastics.

“Nobody in our council ever asked what the climate footprint of the plastics plant would be,” she says.

“We should have fair processes that evaluate everything, everything should be put under a climate lens, big business, small business, whatever comes into town; if we’re going to have a climate lens for this, let’s put everybody under it fairly or nobody under it at all.”


Swift does not mention fracking for shale gas in her platform, but during our interview, she said that as an environmental engineer, she knows that the public has received a lot of misinformation about it over the years.

That’s why she paid for a full-page ad on fracking in the Sackville Tribune-Post in 2012.

“I believe people should know the truth,” she says. “I worked on 1,200 fracked wells in groundwater protection and so, I know the industry.”

Swift says the critics had never worked on even a single shale or natural gas well.

“So, I thought who better to get the actual good, bad and ugly out about this industry,” she explains.

“I wanted people to know what’s involved, what we do to protect the environment and what the real risks are…

“I’ve never had to remediate a site because of fracking, ever.”

Swift acknowledges that there are some risks to fracking, mostly because of surface contamination, but says industry practices have now minimized those risks.

“I certainly don’t believe you should be fracking in the middle of a town, but if there’s remote locations where they’re developing wells, you know, there’s a possibility then,” she says.

“Is fracking right for Sackville?” Swift asks. “I don’t know. If people don’t want it, they don’t want it, but they should know everything about it before they make that decision.”


Bonnie Swift visited her hometown of Dorchester on November 1st to talk to about 25 people who attended the Tuesday Neighbour Café at the Moving Forward Co-operative on Station Street.

“This is what a community should look like, I don’t want smaller communities like Dorchester to be ignored,” she said.

“I have an ear and as mayor, I would listen.”

Swift grew up in Dorchester, one of six children in a working class family.

To read more about her background as well as her position on issues such as the hospital and heath care crisis, affordable housing and climate change as outlined in her 10-page campaign platform document, click here.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 30 Comments