New Brunswick

Green Party hopes to cultivate Kent North, stronghold for the Liberals in last 2 elections

The Green Party is hoping to secure the riding of Kent North which the Liberals won in 2010 and 2014.

Richibucto area riding needs to keep farms strong, candidate says

Green Party candidate Kevin Arseneau says his party could take Kent North this election after a second-place finish in 2014. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

The Green Party is hoping to take the riding of Kent North surrounding​ Richibucto, a reliable Liberal riding during recent elections.

The Liberals won by a landslide in 2014, when Bertrand LeBlanc earned more than 4,000 votes and secured the riding for the Liberals for a second term. But Green candidate Rebeka Frazer-Chiasson took second place with more than 1,700 votes. 

Now Green party candidate Kevin Arseneau wants to take first place.

Green party versus Liberal

Arseneau said he's been knocking on doors and is consistently hearing that people are fed up with the two parties that usually control the province and are looking for another option.

The organic farmer from Rogersville said he believes the riding needs a strong voice for rural economic development and he also wants to revitalize family farms in the area.

"We have to stop seeing rural development as one-size-fits-all," he said. "Kent North will thrive when we start looking at economic development in a different way for every community that's part of the riding.

 "I think we have to trust the people on the ground," said Arseneau.

 
The Liberal candidate won Kent North by a large margin in 2014.

 "I feel confident, but obviously the real test will be Sept. 24," he said. "We've never been this close to winning."

But Liberal candidate Emery Comeau said he is confident he'll be able to secure the riding much like past Liberal candidates. ​Comeau was the assistant to former MLA Bertrand LeBlanc and stepped forward when LeBlanc decided not to seek re-election.

Comeau agrees that rural economic development is a key concern for voters, along with the condition of local roads.

 "They're concerned about the finances of province, health care and education," he said. "We have an aging population and we're losing our youth."

"Road were the most common thing talked about," said Comeau.

The government under Brian Gallant has made progress keeping young people in the region, he added.

"The platform that Brian has, I find it's all there," he said.

"We're very confident, but we don't take anything for granted," he said. "I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, meeting people, but I feel good where I am."

NDP candidate says he won't win

New Democratic Party​ candidate Neil Gardner, a professor with St. Thomas University, also says that bringing back youth is a big issue for Kent North and can be done through economic development.

He said while it's not likely the NDP will win the riding he noted that the party's 2014 candidate, Allan Marsh, secured 13 per cent of the vote.

Gardner believes transparency about government subsidies to corporations is also an important issue.

"It's time New Brunswickers took the province back from the corporation," he said. "We shouldn't be a company province anymore."

Roger Richard said he's hoping to get a few votes as the independent candidate, but isn't doing any campaigning to get them.

He decided to run as an independent after the Green Party decided to support smart meters.

"Either you are for the environment or you are not and that's why." 

Richard said he doesn't think any of the parties have a strong enough voice when it comes to protecting the environment.

Katie Robertson is running in Kent North for the Progressive Conservative Party and Roger Richard is running as an Independent.

Voters go to the polls on Sept. 24.


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