Nova Scotia

Oil field worker back from Alberta for N.S. election run

A Nova Scotia man has flown back from working in the oil fields of Alberta to campaign in the provincial election.

Benson Frail a candidate in South Shore riding

Alberta oil field worker Benson Frail said he's running for the Queens-Shelburne seat to shed light on the problem of out-migration. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia man has flown back from working in the oil fields of Alberta to campaign in the provincial election.    

Alberta oil field worker Benson Frail flew home from Fort McMurray on a red-eye flight Wednesday to begin campaigning as the Liberal candidate in the riding of Queens-Shelburne.

"Thats why I came back, so [Nova Scotians] don't have to go out west, so they don't have to leave their families and friends," he said during a stop at L&S Lumber in Caledonia.

Frail said he's driven by the impact of out-migration of Nova Scotians.

It’s an issue he has seen first hand during the eight years spent travelling back and forth from his home in Queens County to the oil fields of Alberta where he works as a heavy equipment instructor for Flint Energy.

"We pay a price. Talk to anyone who gets on that plane in Halifax and leaves for Western Canada, talk to them," he said.

The 50-year-old said more and more young people — and their families — aren't making the commute, but leaving permanently.

The impact on rural Nova Scotia is dire, he said.

"Each family that leaves results in a net loss of $70,000 to the local economy. You lose six families in Halifax and that's like losing a few blades of grass but in a place like Caledonia, its devastating," said Benson.

All of Nova Scotia's political parties say they want to stem out-migration.

The New Democrats promote government assistance to business. They spent tens of millions saving two of the province's three large paper mills during their stint in power.

The NDP have been criticised for that support by their opponents. Both have condemned an election-eve government loan made to a fish plant in the Queens-Shelburne riding.

The Progressive Conservatives said they will keep some assistance but lower taxes will make the province more attractive to business.

Frails' Liberals are promising targeted training, tax cuts and incentives as ways to keep jobs in the province.

Sterling Belliveau, who was the provincial fisheries minister at dissolution of the House of Assembly prior to the election call, is running for the NDP in the Queens-Shelburne riding.

The PC candidate for the riding is Bruce Inglis, a financial adviser, community volunteer and municipal councillor.