Published on September 24, 2013
Kings West candidates gathered to draw for spots prior to the start of a forum at West Kings High School Sept. 23. From left are Green Barbara Lake, PC Jody Frowley and Liberal Leo Glavine. – John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
Published on September 24, 2013
NDP Bob Landry responds to a question during the Kings West forum. – John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
By Nancy Kelly
Candidates running for the provincial seat of Kings West got their chance to speak to the issues of the day at a forum co-hosted Sept. 23 by the Kings County Advertiser and Register and the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce at West Kings High School.
Liberal incumbent Leo Glavine, Progressive Conservative Jody Frowley, NDP Bob Landry and Green Party Barbara Lake - whose nomination papers had just been submitted earlier in the day - all attended the forum, offering their personal views and party platforms on a number of issues.
On the matter of delivering high-speed Internet to all areas of Nova Scotia, the candidates representing the three main parties were in agreement.
Landry who tackled the question first, acknowledged there have been “technical and geographical problems” that have hampered the effort to get high-speed to all homes that want it. Citing cable as a possible option, he was confident the problems would “be solved.”
For Glavine, the high-speed issue has reared itself on many occasions during his time in office.
“This was one of my real frustrations as an MLA,” he said, adding he advocates changing the contract with Eastlink, originally signed by the previous PC government and changed by the NDP government, in order “to service the thousands of people who still don’t have high speed.” Changes to the contract could include a provision for direct satellite to homes, he said.
Frowley recognized “as competitors in a global marketplace,” high-speed Internet for all Nova Scotians needs to be a priority. He recounted meeting a constituent in the East Dalhousie area who may leave the province because of the lack of high-speed service.
“It’s such a shame to lose people because of it.”
Only Lake, who struggles with health issues, which she contends are the direct result of exposure to wi-fi and cell phone microwave radiation, had a divergent view. She made her position clear at the outset of the session when she asked that all cell phones be turned off, not just turned on silent mode.
“It affects my health,” explained Lake, when one audience member challenged her request. The audience member chose to leave the forum rather than turn off her phone.
"I think we already have what we need. Perhaps we need to establish different types of service for different uses. I think we need to look at what we have and make it work better for us,” Lake said on the high-speed issue.
“We don’t need anything that creates more banging and clanging in our bodies,” she added, while holding aloft a picture depicting cellular activity.
The candidates also had an opportunity to weigh in on ways to improve acute and long-term care services in Nova Scotia.
Lake consulted Green Party material in order to offer up the party’s position.
“Let me look that one up,” she said, eventually finding no specifics in the material.
“But I think there are too many sick people because the environment is so polluted. We need to look at the root causes of illness,” she said.
During his turn to respond, Landry disagreed with the premise that health care in Nova Scotia is “in a mess.”
“I don’t think our health care system is in a mess,” said Landry, who said he received excellent care in the past year for health issues. He believes the system could benefit from more long-term care beds.
Glavine pointed to improvements in home health care, licensing small homes and care facilities and getting more doctors into the system as keys to making improvements to health care.
“I don’t want to be part of a government that simply invests more in bricks and mortar,” he said.
Frowley said the PC plan to improve health services calls for expanding the caregiver program, creating a rural medicine program and designating arthritis as a chronic disease. The party also advocates reducing the number of district health authorities to three from the current nine.
Among other issues tackled by the candidates at the forum were taxation, fracking, regional enterprise networks, Nova Scotia’s declining population and extending the vote to 16-year-olds.
Read a live blog from the event HERE.