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Argyle-Barrington provincial byelection campaign underway

Voters in Argyle Barrington will be going to the polls on Sept. 3
Voters in Argyle Barrington will be going to the polls on Sept. 3 - contributed

By KATHY JOHNSON
TRI-COUNTY VANGUARD
Voters in the Argyle Barrington constituency will have four candidates to choose from when they go to the polls in the Sept. 3 byelection. 
On the ballot are Charlene I. LeBlanc, Nova Scotia Liberal Party; Colton F. LeBlanc, Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia; Adam RandallL, Green Party of Nova Scotia; and Robin C. Smith, Nova Scotia New Democratic Party.
The byelection was necessitated with the resignation of Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont who has stepped away from provincial politics to run as the Conservative candidate for West Nova in this fall’s federal election. D’Entremont had been an MLA since 2003.
The Argyle-Barrington byelection is one of three being held in the province on Sept. 3. Northside-Westmount and Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg are the two districts. 
Prior to election day, eligible voters from the three districts can vote at any advance poll location or at the returning office in any electoral district in which a byelection is currently being held, says Election Nova Scotia. “This means eligible voters from Argyle-Barrington could vote in the other two districts in advance of election day. If they vote in another district a ballot with the Argyle-Barrington candidates will be provided to them,” said Naomi Shelton, Elections Nova Scotia spokesperson. 
On election day, voters must vote at their assigned voting location or the returning office in their electoral district.
The Argyle-Barrington Returning Office is located t 342 Chemin de la Pointe, Tusket. The returning office is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays. On Thursday, Aug. 29 and Friday, Aug. 30, the returning office will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On election day, Sept. 3, the returning office will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Advance polls in the Argyle-Barrington electoral will be held from Saturday, Aug. 24 to Saturday, Aug. 31, except Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Island & Barrington Passage Fire Hall, 1081 Highway 330, Centreville.
All registered eligible voters will receive a personal Voter Information Card (VIC) in the mail outlining the different options to cast their vote. Eligible voters can be added to the voters list during the byelections when they vote.
There is also an option to vote by write-in ballot. The write-in ballot application can be downloaded from the Elections Nova Scotia website or can be obtained by calling Elections Nova Scotia at 1-800-565-1504. The deadline to submit a write-in ballot application for the byelection by mail is Saturday, Aug. 24 by 6 p.m.
To be eligible to vote in these byelections, you must be 18 years of age or older on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, a Canadian citizen, have lived in Nova Scotia since Feb. 2, 2019, and reside in one of the electoral districts of Argyle-Barrington, Northside-Westmount, or Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

MEET THE CANDIDATES

 Liberal candidate Charlene LeBlanc 

“Chris (d’Entremont) was in opposition for so long. I want to help the community with pressing issues but if we have continued opposition representation in the House of Assembly, things will stay the same. That’s why I’m running. To get things done.”

A native of West Pubnico, Charlene LeBlanc has owned and operated a residential care facility for 32 years and has been the community development officer for the Municipality of Argyle since 2014.  

LeBlanc sees access to primary health care as the biggest issue facing constituents.  

“We need doctors. We need specialists. We need ambulances. In Pubnico, the ambulance base is unstaffed a lot of the time” citing a recent accident where there was 25-minute wait for an ambulance after the 911 call was made. “That’s not acceptable.”

The frequent closures of the Roseway Hospital ER are also of concern, where that facility is used by constituents in Argyle-Barrington. “We should have walk-in clinics, the doctors should be paid more. We need to do a better job at retaining them. This is a nice place to live but we have been doing a bad job recruiting and retaining them. We have to fix that.”

The backlog of patients waiting in hospital wings for long term nursing care beds is another concern. “Residential care facilities are underutilized. I actually have an empty bed right now,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc also feels the current home-care system is not working and is just a band-aid solution for helping seniors remain in their homes. 

Economic development is also on LeBlanc’s radar. 

“We are the region that has the most businesses and tourist attractions per capita in the province. A lot of small businesses are coming up which is great. It makes us very attractive”, however, some are having a hard time running a home base business because of poor internet and phone services in areas of the constituency such as Woods Harbour.

“I don’t want Argyle-Barrington to be the dusty corner of the province. That’s why I want to be with the Liberal government. I want Argyle-Barrington to be a destination, not a dusty corner. We deserve the ferry and deserve as much as anybody else.”

LeBlanc has been a passionate volunteer with community organizations and has served in a variety of roles over the years. She has served on the board of directors of the Argyle Chamber of Commerce, DeLaTour Cooperative, Yarmouth Regional Business Corporation, and YACRO.  She coordinated a team of 267 volunteers for the 2016 West Pubnico Legion Chase the Ace, helping to raise more than $650,000.

"I’m like a dog with a bone,” she said. “If I believe in you and what you are doing, I never give up. I’m persistent, I love to make people happy and find solutions.”

PC Candidate Colton LeBlanc

My name is Colton LeBlanc and I’m a lifelong resident of Argyle-Barrington. I grew up in Quinan, N.S. and currently work as an advanced care paramedic in southwestern Nova Scotia. 
I received my primary care paramedic training at Medavie HealthEd and my advanced care paramedic certification at Holland College in PEI. Prior to this, I obtained a Bachelor of Science from Université Sainte-Anne in Church Point. 
People ask me why I am running for MLA. To those who know me, it comes as no surprise. For many years, I have had a passion for serving my community. I began volunteering at a young age where my interest for helping others flourished and later influenced my career decision of becoming a paramedic. I have always valued the importance of being involved in my community. 
I’m currently the president of a local art and cultural center in Tusket, a director of the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse and Université Sainte-Anne’s Alumni Association. I have worked as a substitute teacher in CSAP schools in the Argyle area. I’m also a volunteer firefighter and medical first responder and deliver medical first responder education workshops. I’m a member of our province’s Automated External Defibrillator Registry Advisory Committee.  
During the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned with the direction that our province is taking, particularly in regard to health, education, jobs and our economy. We need a change in leadership and develop a vision for our rural communities. People need a reason to stay here. We must foster a region where our youth are excited to settle down, find a good paying job and raise their families.
I believe that our health-care system is in crisis and I have witnessed it first-hand. I believe this is the number one issue not only in Argyle-Barrington, but in the province. We did not reach this crisis point overnight. It will take both time and a change in leadership for it to be resolved as there is no longer trust with Stephen MacNeil’s leadership.
I believe there should be more local input into decision-making, opposed to what now happens with one health authority. Local doctors, nurses and health-care professionals are better positioned to identify a problem and advocate for solutions as compared to someone who is far removed from the community. We need to improve recruitment and retention of our health-care professionals, especially doctors and specialists. Argyle-Barrington has a lot to offer and we need to do a better job promoting our area as a place to live and work. 
There is one common theme I have seen from this government – it is the lack of respect for our frontline workers. We saw it with teachers and we now see it with health-care professionals. We need a new direction in leadership for a positive change to occur and I want to be part of that change.
It would be my honour to be the next MLA for Argyle-Barrington and to be your strong, passionate voice in Halifax.

NDP Candidate Robin Smith

Robin Smith was born and raised on Cape Sable Island and Barrington Passage. He graduated from Barrington Municipal High School in 2008. After high school, he moved to Halifax where he earned a degree in political science from Saint Mary’s University. 
He currently lives and works in Halifax as a business consultant, helping small businesses throughout North America and has learned what it takes for small businesses to work and flourish in today's economy. 
“I’m thrilled to be running for Gary Burrill’s NDP,” says Smith. “Our communities need real action on access to health-care services, protection of the fisheries, and good jobs. When Sterling Belliveau represented our area, we had a real voice in Halifax. I want to continue the tradition of strong NDP representation for our communities.” 
As MLA for Argyle-Barrington, Smith said he will make sure that health care and the fisheries are a priority for government.
“Access to health care is clearly an important issue in Argyle-Barrington,” says Smith. “The Roseway Hospital ER is often closed, leaving people in this area with a lack of health care. The premier isn’t listening to local communities and won’t even acknowledge that there is a crisis in health care. We need a representative who’s going to hold this Liberal government accountable on health care.”
Climate change and the potential impact of offshore drilling on the fishery are also on Smith’s radar. 
“Fishing communities and those who live on the coast will be most impacted by the changes in our climate. Our government needs to be making the investments to ensure infrastructure can withstand the increasingly powerful storms and that people’s whose livelihoods depend on the sea have options. There are also major concerns in the community about the impacts of offshore drilling on the fishery. The first priority of any approach to managing offshore resources needs to be protecting the fisheries for future generations.” 
NDP Leader Gary Burrill says Smith would “be an excellent representative for the people of Argyle-Barrington. He understands the health-care crisis, and has first-hand experience with the fishery. The NDP is excited and enthusiastic about having someone like Robin to represent us in the byelection.”

Green Party Candidate Adam Randall 

Tusket businessman Adam Randall is the Nova Scotia Green Party candidate in the Sept. 3 Argyle-Barrington byelection. 
"I have always had an interest in politics because I think it is a very powerful way to create change and I think involvement in the political process gives us a better understanding of how governing bodies really work and what really influences elected officials," said Randall in a press release.
Randall is an award-winning businessman. He operates East Roofing and Tiny Home Makers.
Growing up In North Belleville, Randall attended Ecole Belleville, then went to SAR until the school boards separated and two new schools were built. He graduated from Drumlin Heights and was the grad president.  His dream job as a child was to be the gas attendant at the Tusket Ultramar and he was able to live his dream for three years during high school and the two following years after he graduated. He left the area from 2006 to 2015, earning his Red Seal in roofing but wanted to return to the area he loved to open his roofing service company.
Randall returned to the area three years ago with a clear vision. Start a premium roofing company, Start a tiny Home village. He acquired the Brooklyn trailer park one year after returning home and has done a great job cleaning up a run-down park, and creating more housing in the area. He represented Argyle on the board of directors for the Mariners center and organized a Terry fox run in 2018 in Tusket. 
Randall’s goals for Argyle Barrington are to place two new doctors in the offices where the currant MLA rents. One in Tusket, one in Barrington. Help build the net zero administration building in Tusket. Help move the Mariners Center expansion project forward, which Argyle is one-third of. Grow the green economy,  making it easier to use renewable energy. Help new entrepreneurs build their dreams. And build more cell phone towers, so people can communicate better.
Adam has an untouchable work ethic, his success comes from hard work, 15-hour days, seven-day weeks, a thirst for knowledge and continues improvement. He practices minimalism and has a low cost of living. He is not money driven but rather goal and relationship oriented. 
"I cannot think of a better candidate for MLA for that riding," says party leader Thomas Trappenberg. "I trust Adam's deep roots and personal involvement in the community, and his forward-thinking nature."

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