Yarmouth candidates woo wary voters

The six people vying to replace Richard Hurlburt as MLA for Yarmouth have another few days to try to win over voters.

The six people vying to replace Richard Hurlburt as MLA for Yarmouth have another few days to try to win over voters.

A byelection is scheduled for Tuesday.

But voters like Pam Churchill say they're struggling to decide what to do following Hurlburt's resignation in a spending scandal.

"My husband tells me I'm naïve, but I like to think that there are still honest people around, and those are the people that I would want to vote for," said Churchill.

Hurlburt, the longtime Progressive Conservative MLA for Yarmouth, quit on Feb. 9 after it became known that he spent $8,000 of taxpayers' money on a generator installed in his garage.

The generator was on a list of MLA expense claims deemed excessive or inappropriate by Nova Scotia's auditor general.

Chester Allen said he'll likely vote Liberal this time.

"I really am Conservative," Allen said, "but this year I've changed."

Anyone but NDP

Mike McClelland said he's still deciding what to do. But he's certain he won't vote for the New Democrat in the race.

McClelland is one of many voters in the area who are outraged that the NDP government ended a subsidy for the high-speed ferry to New England.

"I haven't made up my mind one way or another who it is I would vote for," he said. "I know I'm definitely not going NDP. I think there's a definite problem there with their feeling about southwest Nova Scotia."

Liberal candidate Zach Churchill is trying to capitalize on that. He said Yarmouth needs to send a message to Dexter.

"We have been hurt here in Yarmouth by this NDP government and it's time for the hurting to stop and I believe the Liberal party is going to be in a position to help do that," said Churchill.

Charles Crosby, a former mayor of Yarmouth, is running for the Tories. Like Churchill, he's trying to tap into anti-NDP sentiment.

He pointed out that the NDP government recently announced $3 million for a new indoor soccer facility in Halifax.

"We wanted $3 million to keep this town alive. Never had no money to do that," said Crosby.

Voice heard

NDP candidate Deveau counters that criticism with a well-worn message of his own.

"Whether people like the NDP or dislike the NDP, Yarmouth has the opportunity to have their MLA sitting at the government table where the decisions are made," said Deveau.

There are three other candidates: Independent Belle Hatfield, the Green's John Percy and Jonathan Dean for the fledgling Atlantica party.

When it comes time vote, Ian White said he'll go with the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation.

"In my life I've voted for many different parties depending where I was living and what they were saying."

Voters in the electoral district of Glace Bay also head to the polls on Tuesday. That seat has been vacant since Dave Wilson resigned in March.