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||Green Party/Parti Vert:|
||Liberal Party/Parti libéral:|
Jean-Claude J.C. D'Amours
|Number of electors 2000|
(169/182 polls, 53076/56092 voters)
2000 Prediction/Complete Results
|I have been active politically in this riding for many years but this is the very first time in my adult life that I am not working for any candidate.|
The key reason is the elephant of an issue being ignored by all three (four if you count the Green Party which is not on anyone's radar here save as a protest vote and by those who are concerned about the Bennett issue in Belledune (the creation of a toxic waste incinerator to burn US sludge). That issue the the redistribution of this riding. People were upset when it was reconstituted as the Madawaska Restigouche riding. But when the latest round of electoral boundry changes took several villages out and put them in Miramichi, TWO hours away, thus slicing off a large part of Restigouche, many felt justafiably disenfranchised.
I live in Restigouche so therefore feel as though I will never again have a representative at the federal level who truly represents me!! It is a horrible feeling and in a riding with as many socio economic problems and little access to government services - in the way urban swellers are accustomed to access.
I have not hear from the Tory candidate at all. He has very few signs in the Restigouche part of the riding though has three headquaters, a waste of money considering how low his profile is here. He is also hampered by having served as an EA to former Mulroney era cabinet Minister Bernard Valcourt. Bernie was popular in Edmunston, where he lives but he is regarded here as "le pet de Mulroney", a status that drives voters to the Liberals or the NDP. He will also be hurt by a recent announcement by the provincial Tories that the entire hospital will be closed in Dalhousie, NB and beds lost in St. Quentin, both small communities. Nora Kelly, New Brunswick's Deputy Minister of Health once pointed out that hospital cutbacks tend to be more about jobs and economic development than health care. I agree with her but I am in the minority in this part of the riding. One wonders just what Bernard Lord was thinking or perhaps the better question is "does he really support his federal Leader?" Maybe he wants that position of Leader after all and he will get it by hook or by crook, lol Seriously, he is to be commended for finally taking action of New Brunswick's over hospitalization. Alas, it is a difficult concept to explain in an election. Try asking someone why they would prefer to have a doctor who performs a procedure 10 times a year to a specialist who does it 200 times do their emergemncy surgery. They respond, "but we need our hospital...."
The Liberals of course have made the issue too political and that is unfair to the voters and to those of us truly concerned with debating health care issues in a rational, thoughtful way. They stand to benefit from those who do show up on election day in Restigouche. Many will stay home and I predict a very low voter turnout for the Restigouche part of the riding. (Is this why the candidates are in hiding here?). There will also be spoiled ballots and protest votes. Some in the riding who understand that parties will look to see who voted in the handing out of jobs and grants use an expression that "I got my name crossed off the list". This means their name was crossed off the voters' list when they voted but in this election, they may have deliberately spoiled their ballots. They know how vicious the Liberals especially can be if you do not support them. The Conservatives could be but just have not fine tuned it yet.
I also had little success in meeting the other candidates. I emailed the Liberal to no avail and the NDP candidate's email bounced back so he is a non entity in cyberspace at least. The Green Party does not live in the riding.
And, speaking of that issue - where the candidates are from - all four are from Madawaska, originally at least though the Tory (can we still use that word?) has been working in Ottawa or somewhere in Ontario for a drug company and the Green Party candidate lives in Moncton. (At least when I googled her, she did. I have yet to recieve a response from her and here I considered voting for her because she was the only woman).
In his landmark book, "Politics in New Brunswick", which examined federal voting patterns in the province, Queens University political scientist Hugh Thorburn (and I loved your comments on the debate in your Globe and Mail Letter to the Editor Hugh!) noted that this riding is a swing riding. It may though now be more slanted to the Conservatives given the strong Tory tradition of Madawaska. When the provincial Tories had but six members in the Legislature, the party was known as the Bloc Madawaska. Now, that region has three provincial cabinet Ministers including powerhouse and Bernard Lord advisor Percy Mockler - who would have most certainly taken the riding had he been a candidate (Heck, even I might have voted for Percy!!) - and all three have excellent and effecient organizations. When Jean Dubé won the riding in 1997, he blew away the oppositon in some polls in Madawaska by 8-1. But his opponnent then was also from Restigouche and the fact he is a native o!
f Restigouche hindered him in 2000 when the Liberal candidate Dr. Jeannot Castonguay and he lost by more than 1200 votes.
(This does in part point out why those of us in Restigouche feel we may never have representation ever again!). Now, all four candidates are from Madawaska and at least two - Liberal and Tory - will split the vote. (It goes without saying a more clever Green or NDP Party would have fielded a candidate from Restigouche) there. How well they manage to do in Restigouche may then influence the final outcome.
The hospital closures, voting history and lack of a good organization by the PC's in Restigouche (The party was thrown together by a meeting that did not even bother to include key former members of the PC Party executive there and in Restigouche at least, is dominated by the Alliance part of the equation and they do not even have a scrutinner at the Advance Poll) give the edge to the Liberals. And that is even before one factors in the demographics of a riding that is 80 per cent Francophone. Even the majority of Tories voting for the merger in this riding, the aforementioned Mr. Mockler included, supported Belinda Stronach and were not all that favourably inclined toward Mr. Harper and his perceived anti official bilingualism views. (I note that this may in fact not be the case but it is what people believe here and sometimes sadly, perception trumps reality).
So, I have to say the riding is leaning toward the Liberal party. It is as they say, theirs to lose.
|Madawaska-Restigouche is a traditional liberal riding; it should go liberal again in June 2004, unless there is a strong conservative tide sweeping the country during the next three weeks.|
||Bear and Ape|
|Many uncertanties here. The PC's won here in '97 only to loose to the Liberals in 2000 (even a combined PC/CA vote would not have beaten the Liberals). The incumbant is not running again leaving this riding open. For now we feel the Liberals have the edge but we're not ready to make any calls as of yet.|
|I beleive this riding turned blue during the Mulroney years, but looking at it's past, this riding has a tendency to vote more with Quebec then it does with the rest of the maritimes. This is one of the ridings the Liberals will win by default.||