The Grapevine on Government Special Provincial Election Questionnaire: CHERYL BURBIDGE
By Emily Leeson & Emily Kathan
We asked a series of questions to all the candidates from Hants West, Kings North, Kings South, Kings West, and Annapolis. We’ve printed a selection of these questions and answers in The Grapevine. Leading up to the election on May 30, we’ll be sharing online the entire questionnaire as completed by each candidate who took the time to do so.
The answers below were provided by: Cheryl Burbidge, NDP Candidate for Kings West
GV (The Grapevine): What strategies are being used by your campaign to engage potential voters, particularly in demographics with typically low voter turnout? Do you have specific strategies for engaging with youth?
The NDP has always emphasized direct contact with voters through foot and phone canvassing, and in recent years, we have employed social media as another way of reaching and hearing from voters. I have found a way to connect with youth and others is to meet them where they are at—whether that is online, on the doorsteps, or at community events.
GV: What do you think might present barriers to higher voter turnout? What is your campaign doing to overcome those barriers?
Many voters are disillusioned by a system that seems geared towards keeping the traditional parties and their friends in power. We often hear comments on the doorsteps like “all politicians are the same and “nothing’s going to change.” The NDP is committed to renewing our democracy by giving people something positive to vote for—a plan for social investment that will improve people’s qualify of life, reduce inequality and protect the environment. For those who feel they have never had a voice in Nova Scotia politics, we are listening to their stories and offering to be that voice.
GV: What’s the most interesting question a constituent has asked you as you’ve been campaigning door to door?
Why would you even want to do this, (run for MLA) they are all crooks!
GV: How does your daily life differ now that the election has been called?
It has been so hectic, but interesting. I didn’t know what to expect when going door to door asking questions. It has been quite an experience.
GV: Describe the way you see the relationship between MLAs and the municipal units within their electoral districts. How would you work with towns and counties to further mutual interests?
Strong municipalities are part of the NDP’s vision for a thriving, inclusive society. We see municipal governments as key partners in fostering the conditions for Nova Scotians to have a good life—a healthy environment, affordable housing, opportunities for work and education, good schools and hospitals, and care for our most vulnerable citizens. As the local MLA I will work to strengthen this partnership so that together we can address the current challenges and opportunities facing our communities.
GV: The Valley has a vibrant and growing creative economy. What policies and strategies do you propose to support and expand the arts community at the provincial level?
The NDP believes that we need a government that is willing to invest in the creative and cultural economies, ensuring there are good, local jobs in film and television production, theatre performances, publishing, museums, heritage sites, and community festivals. An NDP government will re-instate the Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit, which was cut by the McNeil government in 2015, and restore other financing and development programs for filmmakers. We will work with the arts community to rebuild a strong and vibrant creative economy here at home.
GV: What are you doing to support and attract young families living and working in rural Nova Scotia?
According to Statistics Canada, youth employment is down 10 per cent in Nova Scotia since 2015. My son has been unemployed for the last five months. He just this week, got a job packing lobsters for market. An NDP government will eliminate tuition fees at the Nova Scotia Community College. We will introduce a $15 minimum wage, which will disproportionately benefit young workers. We will invest in our creative economy, ensuring there are good jobs in the arts. These investments will help ensure that young people have the opportunities they need to stay and build a life here at home.
GV: Will you have time to attend Apple Blossom Festival events this year? What’s your favourite event?
When my children were home, we always enjoyed the fireworks. The past number of years I have been working in the ER during Apple Blossom, this year as well. Although I am doing night shift Saturday, I plan to take in the parade.