ANTIGONISH: The new PC candidate for Antigonish in the upcoming provincial election says she can offer a unique perspective to the role of MLA.
Currently the CEO of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home, Michelle Thompson has been a registered nurse for the past 29-years, climbing the ranks after starting her career on the frontlines as a care provider.
“I’ve always been involved and interested in the well being of my community through volunteerism and through my involvement personally and professionally,” Thompson told The Reporter. “I felt the role of MLA really provides me an opportunity to extend that interest and advocacy and that support for my community, so I felt the timing was right.”
Thompson indicated she was extremely grateful to those who supported her and her campaign team.
“I would like to acknowledge the other folks, all very accomplished within our community, so it was a real privilege for me to be able to run alongside those folks, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”
In addition to being the CEO for the region’s largest employer, the mother of three also teaches nursing part-time and is a part-time therapist for a non-profit organization.
The Cloverville resident also has extensive community involvement including being a past board member of the Antigonish Celtics Soccer Club, the Port Hawkesbury Antigonish Swim Team, L’Arche, and Arts Health Antigonish – AHA!
As president of the Continuing Care Association of Nova Scotia, Thompson represents more than 50 nursing homes and residential care facilities across the province.
“Michelle Thompson’s extensive knowledge of our health care system and incredible compassion for her community will make her a remarkable MLA,” PC Leader Tim Houston said in a media release. “I can’t wait to work with her. She will be a real asset as a member of our PC government.”
Thompson said she feels the PC Party and Houston have strong policies that “are more than soundbites” and are “offering real solutions.” She thinks will support key election issues, particularly around health care, highlighting Houston’s plans for mental health, senior’s health and a system overhaul in general.
“I feel that my skills and abilities would lend themselves nicely to those plans,” Thompson said. “So I’m anxious to contribute to make positive changes, but I’m very interested in representing people locally, and hearing what their concerns are locally, and doing my best to represent them well in Halifax.”
As for campaigning, the political newcomer advised they would be watching the restrictions very closely, making sure they’re aligned with all public health measures, and suggested social media and having an online presence would play an important role.
“So it’s really important I have this additional time, before the election is dropped, to get out, call people, and contact them; hopefully there will be some door knocking, hopefully there will be ability to meet people face to face,” Thompson said, “But certainly in this nomination process we had to really each out to people one on one.”
Thompson has always been interested in primary care provider access and making sure individuals have the care they require in their own communities, as much as possible, noting it’s important to protect health care in local communities.
“There’s nobody that’s not touched by senior health, there’s nobody who’s not touched by mental health,” Thompson said. “Those are key priorities I’m hoping to contribute to.”
There’s not much in terms of what Antigonish lacks, but she believes there are some real opportunities to leverage the small business community, as well as an opportunity to welcome newcomers to the area.
“I do think we need to improve infrastructure around internet access and cell coverage because I think it’s really important, and the pandemic has taught us we need to be able to pivot and businesses need to be able to run from homes,” Thompson added. “We also need to be prepared to educate and connect people virtual. I think those are some key issues that we face in this area particularly.”