Ive never done this before. I’m not a political animal even though I keenly follow politics. Perhaps what I mean to say is that I have never subscribed to the kind of political tribalism that dictates I must support candidate ‘x’ because they fly a flag of a particular color. I don’t have much patience with a mindset that states unequivocally, ‘My party is always right, and everyone else is the enemy.’ I have voted for both major parties federally and provincially and have always based my decision on the quality of the candidate and the particular policy needs of the day.
This is why I have, for the first time in my life, decided to register as a card carrying delegate to a political party in order to be able to vote for Mel Norton for leader of the provincial PC party. My personal admiration for Mel, combined with my firm belief in his abilities to negotiate positive changes for our province, requires that I offer my full support. It also requires that I encourage anyone who reads this to seriously consider joining me.
I have worked with Mel Norton on several committees over the years and have seen first hand his ability to lead. I observed Mel Norton as he took over the mayor’s chair in Saint John and was able to find consensus on many issues which had led previous councils into conflict among themselves and with other municipalities. I’ve watched Mel Norton build a team and manage his bid for the leadership, and I have come to admire his vision for our province.
I believe that our province needs to change. Resistance to change over the past few years has allowed minor problems to spiral out of control. I believe that we have to stop clinging to the past. There is no future in that. We need to stop allowing good ideas to fall victim to ideologically driven notions of perfection. In an era of limited resources we need to find compromise….not conflict. I believe that Mel Norton can encourage the kind of provincial dialogue required for our province to move forward.
My concerns are extremely personal. I’m 53 years old and have reached a stage in life where, barring catastrophe, I’ll probably be ok. My concern is for my two children, William and Alexander. I would prefer to live, knowing that New Brunswick holds a future for them….that they wont be forced to move away like so many other aspiring young people. I want to know that our province is attractive to ambitious forward-thinking people, and not just peopled by those who lacked the ambition or the resources to move on.
The multi-generational story of my family is one that many share and one which points to the massive challenge facing our province. On my father’s side, my great grandfather moved here from Lebanon in the late 19th century. All his children, including my grandfather, stayed in the region. My father, and all his siblings made a life in New Brunswick. On my mother’s side, she is the only one of her siblings who made a life in New Brunswick. My parents had four sons. Three of those sons made a life in New Brunswick. One moved elsewhere for opportunities. My parents have eight grand-children…..six of them no longer live in New Brunswick. Only two of those grand-children (my two sons) reside here and they currently have no choice due to their youth. Four generations ago, my entire immediate family lived in New Brunswick. At the current rate, we are one generation away from being gone.
This is a trend I see in many families, and I hope to see this trend reversed. My hope is that my children will travel and further their education and then, inspired by the opportunities available to them in their home province, they will gladly return to it and make their lives here.
Will any individual have all the answers? Of course not. However, I have looked at all of the candidates for leadership and, while many are credible serious candidates, I have looked at Mel Norton’s campaign and I feel that he is the person best able to build the kind of provincial consensus required to make a meaningful change in our province..
Because I care about the future. Because I care about the role my children will play in that future. I’m supporting Mel Norton. the deadline for delegates to sign up is tomorrow . Please join me.