It was greatly disappointing to see Premier Higgs recent comments in the media where he describes MLAs as “Achilles heels”, and “barriers” to the implementation of the agenda of the premier and his small circle of advisors. To me this shows a shocking disregard for how a democracy should work, and an even more disturbing contempt for those of us fortunate enough to have been elected to represent the interests of our constituents.
As the elected member for Carleton-Victoria, I work closely with our municipalities, our community leaders and all the people of my riding on a daily basis, from Juniper to Centreville to Aroostook to Riley Brook. My job is to give them a voice in the Legislative Assembly, and ensure that they have a representative who will work hand-in-hand with them to improve their lives. I think it’s an MLA’s responsibility to support local businesses, advance economic development opportunities and ensure that people have access to the jobs and services they need and deserve. In my largely rural riding things like roads, health care and education are top concerns for the people who live here and those are the things I’m elected to fight for on their behalf.
It appears Premier Higgs has no time for these concerns. He doesn’t want MLAs to challenge his agenda (which is not friendly to rural New Brunswick), and that includes the MLAs of his own party. He wants MLAs to follow like sheep instead of raising the legitimate concerns of their constituents. It’s ironic that in the past he criticized governments for centralized decision-making. This has become exponentially worse under our current premier who now openly admits he’s really not that interested in hearing what others have to say.
So what message is the Premier sending to the people of Shediac Bay-Dieppe and St. Croix, who will soon be asked to choose a representative in a byelection. He is basically saying that if they elect a Conservative MLA, the Premier doesn’t plan to listen to that MLA. Their voices would not be heard in a Higgs government.
My constituents elect me to speak on their behalf and I am proud to do so. That should be the role of any MLA. That doesn’t change whether you’re in government or opposition. It is unfortunate that Premier Higgs doesn’t like MLAs, even those in his own party, representing the interests of their respective areas. His attitude is a sad reflection on how our premier views democracy and how a government of elected representatives should work.
MLA for Carleton-Victoria