The NDP candidate in Kent South is criticizing his party’s shale gas policy for not going far enough to protect landowners, saying he would not have run in the election had the full platform been available earlier.
Paul Musgrave is running in the southeastern riding that covers many picturesque communities that are built around the Northumberland Strait and scenic waterways, such as the Bouctouche River.
Musgrave does not hide the fact that he entered the election so he could lend his voice to the movement against the shale gas industry.
The NDP seemed the logical landing place for him, he said, because of its history on issues that he agreed with, such as the environment and social justice.
‘I wouldn’t have run. I don’t want to let people down now, but I didn’t understand the platform. These people have good intentions, but it is not explicit enough, it is not clear enough.’
– NDP candidate Paul Musgrave
Musgrave initially found himself embracing the campaign themes of ending corporate welfare and stopping political interference in government contracts. But he said he became “very uncomfortable” when the party’s full platform was released publicly.
“Frankly, when I signed on, I didn’t understand the fracking policy,” Musgrave said.
For someone who got into the election, so he could speak out on the possibility of a shale gas industry in the province, the daylight he sees between his personal opinions and the party he is running for, is a problem. Had he known the full policy, the small business owner from Saint-Paul said his decision to enter the race would have been very different.
“I wouldn’t have run. I don’t want to let people down now, but I didn’t understand the platform,” he said.
“These people have good intentions, but it is not explicit enough, it is not clear enough.”
NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said on Thursday that he is not aware of any concerns about his party’s platform from his candidate.
“This is the first I’ve heard of this,” Cardy said.
“Our platform is a very sensible platform that deals with making sure that we say no to the shale gas industry, suspend the licences on the first day and then set up a Human Health and Environment Agency to make sure that any industrial developments in this province are in the interest of the people of this province.”
Musgrave is running in a riding that would likely be difficult for the NDP to win in most elections.
He is running against Progressive Conservative Claude Williams, who has represented Kent South since 2001. The new Kent South riding also takes in parts of the former Kent riding, which was held by Liberal Leader Brian Gallant until the legislature was dissolved.
Specific concerns about the platform
NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said it is “ludicrous” to think his party is pro-shale gas. (CBC)
Musgrave raises several specific concerns with the NDP’s platform.
Cardy is proposing to create an independent Human Health and Environmental Protection Agency that will review all resource programs in the province.
Musgrave said he raised his concerns that this agency could be taken over by political interests if the agency and the appointment of its members weren’t fully kept away from politicians. The NDP candidate said scientists and not politicians need to be selecting this panel.
Cardy said on Thursday the province’s chief scientist would be appointed by the government and then that person would be responsible for appointing the rest of the members of the agency.
The NDP leader said it is “ludicrous” to think the NDP platform could be considered pro-