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Paul Musgrave earns clarification over NDP shale gas policy

Paul Musgrave says NDP Leader Dominic Cardy issued him a written statement, assuring him the party takes concerns over the shale gas industry seriously, hours after the Kent South candidate said he regretted running for the party.

Dominic Cardy's statement came hours after his Kent South candidate voiced concerns about the party

Paul Musgrove said NDP Leader Dominic Cardy sent him a personal statement that clarified the party's position on the shale gas industry. (Daniel McHardie/CBC)

Paul Musgrave says NDP Leader Dominic Cardy issued him a written statement, assuring him the party takes concerns over the shale gas industry seriously, hours after the Kent South candidate said he regretted running for the party.

"The NDP leadership has provided clarification, explaining certain details that are not explicit in the platform. This has assured me that Dominic Cardy and the NDP are committed to a science-based resource development decision process, free from political interference," Musgrave said in a statement issued on Friday morning.

"And he has expressed a commitment to fairly compensate any local residents who would end up having to endure the consequences of fracking, including any reduction in their property value."

Musgrave is a small business owner in the southeastern community of Saint Paul.

He entered the election campaign so he could voice his opposition to the shale gas industry.

Musgrave said in an interview Thursday that the NDP platform was not clear enough in its opposition to the shale gas industry.

He had two main problems with the NDP platform commitments on shale gas.

The candidate said the party’s promise to set up an independent Human Health and Environmental Protection Agency that will review all resource programs in the province could be subject to political considerations unless politicians were totally bypassed in selecting this panel.

Further, he said he wanted to know how an NDP government would compensate homeowners for any losses associated with the development of the shale gas industry.

Musgrave released a three-paragraph statement sent to him by Cardy, where the NDP leader outlined how the party’s platform would meet the candidate’s concerns.

Cardy said a chief provincial scientist would be responsible for appointing members to the new agency. The selection process for the chief provincial scientist would be based on merit, Cardy added.

The NDP also tried to reassure Musgrave that the agency could also look after his other concerns regarding compensation for homeowners.

While no other specifics were mentioned in the statement from Cardy, Musgrave said he was "pleased to reaffirm [his] support for" Cardy.

Musgrave is running against Progressive Conservative Claude Williams, who has represented Kent South since 2001, Liberal Benoit Bourque, the Green Party’s Tina Beers and Joël MacIntosh for the People's Alliance of New Brunswick.