Dear Turnip,

It’s difficult to run in an election.  The days are long as you spend 8 to 12 hours each day going door to door and talking to residents.  The rest of your time is spent talking to the media, negotiating the inner workings of “the party,” and still trying to find time to eat, sleep and clear your head. I didn’t enter into politics lightly. It came after many years of considering the political state of affairs on our island, years of moving from party to party to try to find the best fit.  Finally, I decided to run for the NDP and my reasons for choosing this party were simple.  My personal views fit well with the social vision they put forth and they were very effective in opposition at creating real change and helping the people of this province and country.  So I put my name forth and was nominated.

I met a lot of people during my days canvassing.  A few had a profound impact on me.  One was a father in the Northend of Sydney.  I spoke with him on his back deck while his daughter played in the family pool.  He told me that he was extremely worried about the Tar Ponds clean-up.  He had received word that the air on one side of Intercolonial Street would be contaminated but that the side where he lived would be fine.  It didn’t add up to him.  He was scared and hopeless.  He felt trapped.  He couldn’t sell his house and he said that no one in power would listen.  I promised him that I was different and that our NDP government would be accountable.

Since that day, I’ve learned a great deal about our so-called democracy and our party politics.  I tried to get answers from the Tar Ponds Agency for the residents of the Northend.  I thought this would be a simple task.  Instead, I ran into walls at every turn. Questions were not answered, meetings were not attended by the agency and so much misinformation was given that I now have a hard time trusting anything that comes out of the agency.

The worst part? I tried to get new NDP minister, Bill Estabrooks, to meet with the residents.  That was in July.  I’m still waiting for a phone call from him.  I’ve received a reply to every other message I’ve sent to the new government and I like what they are doing.  However, this big mess is not sitting well.  The clean-up is paid for by tax payers.  It is our clean-up.  If residents have concerns and want to raise those concerns with elected officials, they should be able to do this.  In fact, the agency folks have an audience with the minister at any time.  The same courtesy should be extended to the residents who are concerned about their safety and the safety of their families.  It’s time that people demand that our government be given back to us and taken out of the hands of “the party.”  The work on the South Pond will be starting any day now.  I only hope that the agency is more diligent in doing the work than they are in listening to the residents.


Wayne MacKay

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