Mike Kelloway

PORT HAWKESBURY: A new representative has been chosen to carry the Liberal banner for Cape Breton-Canso in the upcoming federal election.

Mike Kelloway, who was born and raised in Glace Bay and currently lives in Sydney River, received the nomination last Thursday evening after a close race with Petit de Grat resident Matt Haley.

“I want to acknowledge Rodger [Cuzner] for his nearly 20-years of service, the sacrifices he and his family have made, and the work he’s done for all of us,” Kelloway said. “Rodger has been known for his ability to work across party lines on important issues, he brought humanity to Parliament in a unique Cape Breton-Canso fashion and we’ll always be grateful for his work.”

Kelloway replaces longtime Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner, following his two-decade stint on Parliament Hill.

“I will do all in my power to make sure there’s a Liberal representing the people in Cape Breton-Canso in the next federal election,” Cuzner said.

The 63-year-old Cuzner noted that Cape Breton-Canso is a large riding geographically and it requires someone with a lot of energy as members sit 135 days a year in the house, the riding consists of four provincial ridings and parts of four other ridings, there are 54 volunteer fire departments, as well as 18 legions, along with seven municipal councils.

In Kelloway’s role as the Nova Scotia Community College community innovation lead for Cape Breton and Northeast Nova Scotia, he never forgets that every action he takes, every program he oversees must help in some way the communities he serves.

Since May 1, Kelloway has visited with nearly 30 communities from Chéticamp, to Waycobah, to Table Head, and Canso.

“The beating heart of this entire riding lies in the character of the people,” Kelloway stated. “While each of these places faces real and difficult challenges, I found that each one of these communities contains the solutions to these challenges,” he explained. “Solutions are within them, within their people, within their elders, within their traditions, in their youth and the creativity they posses, in their histories and certainly in their resiliency.”

Kelloway believes the time is right for him to run for office because he wants children in Potlotek and Port Hood to have the same opportunities as children in Toronto and Vancouver.

“I also believe we must help sustain our traditional industries, especially when decisions in Ottawa directly affect their way of life, and affect enormous contributions these people make to their local economy,” he said. “I also believe that government agencies should streamline their services, so people can spend more time with their customers and less time with bureaucrats and I believe that begins with me.”

Kelloway wants to help people see what 21st century entrepreneurialism can look like and is looking forward to comparing the Liberals to the Conservatives, which he sees as progressive policies that are designed to help people, versus ideas that are not as progressive, and a little bit archaic.

Kelloway will continue with the slogan that he’s used from day one, that it starts with the community and he wants to be an MP that is intimately connected with each of the communities in the riding.

Cape Breton-Canso needs someone with youth, vitality, energy and enthusiasm, and Cuzner added that’s exactly what they have with Kelloway.