“I am deeply concerned about the way the other two major parties have undermined the very foundations of this province,” said NDP candidate for the Guysborough – Eastern Shore – Tracadie riding Marney Simmons when asked why she decided to throw her hat into the ring this election season.
Simmons is not new to the political arena. A resident of Mulgrave, she served as mayor of the town from 2008 to 2012. In 2011 she ran as the federal NDP candidate in the Cape Breton – Canso riding. She told The Journal, “Having given a try at the other two levels of government, I think at this point – that the provincial level is where I see my skills, knowledge and abilities being most useful.”
She chose to run on the NDP ticket because she believes in the values and principles of the party and in leader Gary Burrill. “He has priorities in the right place. He cares about everyday people like you and me. He wants to make life better for people.”
When asked to outline key issues in the riding, Simmons pointed to the intertwined issues of health care and seniors’ needs. “The senior population is going to grow over the next decade as all of the baby boomers are entering their senior years in the next decade.” More medical support is needed including doctors, nurse practitioners and nursing home beds, she added.
“I know the sad story of a couple who had been married for 50 or 60 years – and they both required nursing home care. One was sent to Sydney and one to the Valley due to availability of beds. It’s a cruel thing to do when older people want to be in their communities near family and friends-- to move them away from everything and everybody that is familiar and even separate them from each other; that is the cruelest thing that I have ever heard.”
On Monday, NDP Leader Burrill announced a platform that includes six to eight years of deficit spending. When asked to comment on fiscal matters, Simmons said, “This balanced budget-- people could justifiably ask what does that even mean when in the last three years seniors and children’s education have suffered. The Liberal government has made dozens of cuts to everything and suddenly just before an election there are millions and millions of dollars available for all kinds of things that nobody expected.
“The Liberal government, and the Conservatives to some extent, consider all of these these provincial issues as commodities. They seem to forget that these so-called commodities are thinking, living people. These are peoples’ lives we are dealing with here. And you can’t make cuts to the point where people suffer in order to suddenly announce ‘We have a balanced budget,’...The NDP, on the other hand, realizes how much all these platform commitments are going to cost and we are not afraid to go into a deficit situation. Most people think deficit is a bad word but it is simply a tool in the structure of all economics.”
Along with the NDP’s plan to invest in the people of the province, Simmons also wanted to highlight the party’s action on equality. “I’d like all of the voters to know that of the candidates running for the NDP in this election, 45 per cent are women. I think that is an excellent sign-- it’s another step towards equality.”
When people head to the polls later this month, Simmons says she wants them to know this about her as a person and a candidate. “I speak from the heart and I speak only the truth. And I too will do everything in my power to honour the commitments I am making in the NDP platform.”