SYDNEY RIVER: Confirming his candidacy for the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Cape Breton-Canso, Alfie MacLeod says there are a number of things that need to be done in the communities across Cape Breton Island and he wants to take action.
“Some people get old and cranky, but I get old and invigorated by a new challenge,” MacLeod told The Reporter in a phone interview last week. “It’s a big task, it’s a very big task, but you know I’m excited about the task, and I’m looking forward to the task.”
Currently, MacLeod is the Progressive Conservative MLA for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, who back in the 2000 federal election ran against Rodger Cuzner, and is once again throwing his hat in the ring.
“I’m concerned where we are as a country when it comes to energy in the corridor – to make energy happen,” he said. “The government did away with the Energy East pipeline; I thought that was a bad decision and I think it hurt our area.”
MacLeod indicated he thinks he’s going to be able to bring a new type of representation brought to the table and wants to pay attention to the parts of the constituency that have felt forgotten.
“We need to make sure we stay in-tune with communities, and the issues that are going on in communities,” he said. “We need to build teams of people in different areas that we can rely on to relate information and get involved in what’s going on.”
On MacLeod’s list of concerns are; community centres, legions and halls, which most of the funding comes from the federal government; small craft harbours; how modern-day veterans are treated; and of course, healthcare.
MacLeod believes his political experience – which also entailed serving as Speaker of the House of Assembly – along with his life experience of working in a coal mine, looking after 1,500 sheep in the fields of Inverness County and receiving his high school education in Richmond County, are noteworthy for any propsective MP.
“It’s fair to say all of our municipal units on Cape Breton Island have seen significant changes in the last number of years, and there’s all types of new challenges in that – and what we need to do now is work together.”
With 16 volunteer fire departments in the riding, each unique in their own way and each of them having a different desire and need, what a politician has to remember, MacLeod said, it’s their job to deliver what the community wants, it’s not their job to tell the community what it needs.
“The challenges, at the end of the day, in Richmond County are no different than the challenges in Inverness or Guysborough counties,” he indicated. “When you speak with people they are concerned about healthcare, it’s one of their biggest priorities.”
MacLeod said he’s really excited about this opportunity to represent the people of Cape Breton-Canso in Ottawa, and he’s looking forward to getting around the riding, seeing people and meeting them to hear about their concerns.
“My family is excited about this opportunity, and my wife, is my secret weapon,” he said. “She’s a big part of everything I do and is very supportive of this venture, and nothing is more important than family.”