Miramichi voters see familiar candidates in new riding

Three former Miramichi MLAs will be fighting for one seat in the northern city on Sept. 22, as familiar faces square off in a new riding.

Tory Robert Trevors, Liberal Bill Fraser and Independent Michael Malley have all been MLAs

Three former Miramichi MLAs will be fighting for one seat in the northern city on Sept. 22, as familiar faces square off in a new riding.

New Brunswick cut the number of ridings to 49 in 2014, from 55 in 2010, which means voters will be casting their ballots in ridings that look very different from what they may remember.

In Miramichi, the new riding map is causing an interesting race as the ridings of Miramichi Centre and Miramichi-Bay du Vin have merged.

Liberal Bill Fraser, who was elected in the former riding of Miramichi-Bay du Vin in 2006 and 2010, said the merged riding is creating a lot of confusion among voters.

“Some people, their reaction is, especially in the new part of my riding is, well, ‘Why are you at my door?’ And then I have to explain how the boundaries have changed,” Fraser said.

“For the most part, people are happy with it, especially the city riding of Miramichi because it unites our two communities together.”

Miramichi is the largest city in northern New Brunswick. In the 1990s, the city was created by the merger of Chatham and Newcastle, along with several other smaller villages.

There has been a long-standing rivalry between the communities.

Progressive Conservative Robert Trevors, who was elected in Miramichi Centre in the 2010 election, said people still identify with their old communities.

“My wife is from what we call the old town of Chatham ... and I'm from the old town of Newcastle,” he said.

While there is a new riding, the ballot will also have some old faces.

Michael (Tanker) Malley, the former Progressive Conservative MLA from Miramichi-Bay du Vin, will be attempting a political comeback.

Malley, who was defeated in 2006 by Fraser, is running as an independent candidate.

When announcing his candidacy in May, he said voters wanted more independent voices in the legislature.

But the former MLA said he understands how hard it will be to win as an independent candidate.

“Well you know the old saying, never let them see you sweat? All I can do is to go door-to-door and talk about the people, talk about the issues,” he said.

Also in the running for the riding is NDP candidate Roger Vautour and Green Party candidate Patty Deitch.