Green Party candidate pledges to walk across South Shore riding
Richard Biggar says he can't afford campaign signs but wants people to know who he is
The Green Party candidate running in South Shore-St. Margaret's is trying to get his name out there one step at a time, literally.
Richard Biggar is planning to walk across South Shore-St Margaret's, a riding that stretches from the edge of Halifax to close to Yarmouth and covers about 8,200 square kilometres.
"I want to get an understanding of the diversity of the riding and how different it is from one end to the other," he said.
"A lot of it is the most rural Nova Scotia you can get. I want to get out there and meet the people in a more traditional way."
Conservative Richard Clark, New Democrat Alex Godbold and Liberal Bernadette Jordan are also running for the seat held by long-time Conservative MP Gerald Keddy.
36 kilometres down
So far, Biggar has walked about 36 kilometres in two days and hopes to crisscross the riding in the next couple of weeks.
Biggar, who used to be in the Canadian Forces, says walking along the South Shore has been more leisurely than any military training he completed when he was younger. So far he says comfortable shoes are helping, as is the absence of a heavy pack.
He says he knows the distance won't necessarily translate into votes, but he says he can't afford to compete with spending in many conventional campaigns.
"I hate the notion of signs everywhere, I think it's a poor way to spend taxpayers' money. I wouldn't even buy into the signs if I had the money to. But the signs do a good job to bringing attention to a candidate's name and I'm not able to do this so maybe by doing this people are going to see me walking," he says.
Biggar also hopes his walk will draw attention to his environmental concerns. He's worried development on the LaHave River could damage salmon stocks and he's opposed to a proposed asphalt plant in Tantallon.
He isn't the only Green Party candidate taking a literal hike. Across the country his sister, Elizabeth Biggar, is walking through her British Columbia riding of Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.
Richard Biggar made the commitment publicly during a debate last week and says he intends to stick to it, sore muscles or not.
"I said I'm going to finish it and I'm going to finish it, it's the most important thing I can do. I believe if a politician says he's going to do something, he should do it."
Biggar also says anyone in the community is invited to join him or flag him down to talk.
"Even if you don't want to elect a Green Party MP, even if you don't believe in the Green Party. Just come on out for a walk and a chat. I'd love to meet some people and find out more about their needs."