And they're off.
After months of speculation, Premier Darrell Dexter finally dropped the election writ Sept. 7 , prompting the political frenzy that we all must now endure until Oct. 8.
From photo ops at local events to mud-slinging on the campaign trail, incumbent politicians looking to be returned to the legislature, and candidates hoping to dethrone the elected officials, are out in full force seeking your vote.
While we all know apathy runs rampant when it comes to politics, you, dear readers, truly are in a position to shape the next provincial government. You can give the current government another chance, or you can shake things up and elect a fresh face into power. The choice is yours to make.
The next few weeks are crucial for politicians as they seek to secure your vote. When they come knocking on your door, glad-handing at events, or otherwise soliciting for your vote, ask them what they can do for you. Ask them about the issues that concern you. Does the treatment of fracking wastewater rank high on your list? How about the lack of job creation in rural areas? Now's the time to put the politicians on the hot seat and see where they stand.
In an effort to keep you informed about local politics, the Journal interviewed Hants West candidates Chuck Porter (incumbent Progressive Conservative MLA), Claude O'Hara (Liberal challenger) and Brian Stephens (NDP challenger). We also interviewed party leaders Jamie Baillie and Stephen MacNeil. (As of press time, the premier was not available to meet with the editorial staff.)
We asked them the same questions, in the same order, and gave them no advance knowledge of what was to be asked.
We asked them topical questions about local issues (like how they could get involved with solving the financial dispute between the Windsor Fire Department and Municipality of West Hants) to overall provincial governance.
As an added bonus to our readers, we videotaped their responses and will be posting the full answers to each question on our website. The highlights of the interviews will appear in the print version of the Journal over the next two weeks.
During this election campaign, we will once again embrace social media, frequently posting photos and updates from events, public forums and other functions as they happen. Our Facebook and Twitter sites will serve as a springboard for discussion as will our special election section that can be found on our new and improved website.
Come election night, be sure to tune in to our website for live coverage of the election and weigh in with your thoughts. (More details on how to participate will be provided as election day nears.)
It's time to take an interest in what the party platforms are, and in what your local candidate is willing to do for the constituency. Remember, your vote does matter so ask the tough questions, read and watch our election coverage, and get informed.