Liberal opposition leader, Dwight Ball, was in Port aux Basques last week discussing the responsibility of the provincial government.
© Chantelle MacIsaac photo
Dwight Ball speaks to a group in Port aux Basques during a chamber of commerce luncheon held on Jan. 28.
“An effective, responsible government starts with management,” said Ball.
The luncheon held on Jan. 28, and hosted by the Port aux Basques and Area Chamber of Commerce took place at the Hotel Port aux Basques and had approximately 40 people in attendance.
Ball spoke about integrity.
After congratulating and speaking about the importance of the business community he said all businesses face challenges, and all are handled with integrity.
“Your word and a handshake still means something in our province today,” said Ball.
He said integrity was something he has always used; with his personal life, his business life, and now with his political life.
“People in this province are feeling as though the government is not listening to them anymore,” he said. “We, as the Liberal party, can assure you that we are listening.”
Ball said that the common thing he hears across the province is that voters do not feel in touch with their elected officials.
“People around the province want a change,” he said. “Everyone cares about their futures and want a say in how this province is run.”
He said that in fact, most of us all want the same things such as health care, employment opportunities, safe and reliable roads, and more, said Ball.
The current opposition leader said the main focus in their upcoming campaign strategy will be the repealing of Bill 29.
He said the bill does nothing to foster growth within this province.
Access to information should not be something people have to pay for, it should be made public, he said.
“There’s a huge disconnect between the people and the current government of this province,” said Ball.
He said that is not how politics and running a province should be.
“A great political party will have a focused leader and a great team behind them,” said Ball. “And that leader should not lose sight of their purpose.”
He also said that no leader should ever profess to have all the answers.
The province will be facing an election soon, and Ball said within the next few months, political parties will be starting their campaigns.
Ball said that he has been engaged by listening to the people of this province and referred back to a saying he once heard: You should listen with the intent of understanding, not with replying.
“I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves for the people of this province,” said Ball. “We will work hard to gain their confidence.”
Ball then stayed for a question and answer period, during which some people asked some difficult questions.
The first was directed at the responsibility of the recent discovery of the provinces water bomber being left out in the cold while political figures used the warmth of the hangar for their own personal use.
“Shouldn’t they be regarded the same as political figures that write checks for their own use?” asked Greg Sheaves.
Ball said that was a new way of looking at things. He said first he wants to know who gave them the permission to use that building.
He said jeopardizing the provinces fire fighting equipment is illegal, and for many reasons is wrong.
He said he would expect to at least see some consequences for these people’s actions.
A second question regarding diminishing health care services on the south west coast was also asked by Cory Munden.
Ball started by saying this province is large geographically.
“The truth is, not everyone will have health care 15 minutes away,” said Ball.
We have to look at spreading out health care services, he said. We should expect primary levels of care, look at having community services, increasing homecare programs and make more use out of technology.
Ball said he knows himself of families that travel across the province to see a health care professional for a five-minute appointment.
Ball admitted this province is not the best in our health care system.
He said different models of health care need to be looked at.
An example he gave was increasing medical technologies, which could prevent the need to travel across the island for reasons such as updates on progress.