The Progressive-Conservative party’s Etienne Gaudet is the only first-time candidate in the Memramcook-Tantramar election. After growing up in the Memramcook Valley and studying police science at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont., Gaudet joined the Canadian Armed Forces, becoming a military police member and serving 21 years. Gaudet then retired and returned home to take over his family’s fruit and vegetable farm before he was selected to represent the PC party in this election.
The Argosy spoke with Gaudet over the phone. When asked about his duty as an MLA, Gaudet said, “Students and people in general need to have a connection with their representatives.” He referenced a concern a student voiced about not being qualifying for the SEED program at last week’s debate, saying, “I hope that they could reach out to me if I’m the MLA and say what went wrong, what can I do differently or is there a program that I wasn’t aware of. There’s a lot on the Internet to help people out but there’s no substitute for talking to a human being.”
Gaudet said he chose to run with the PC party in particular because “My values and belief in what role the government should have in our lives is better reflected in the PC party than in any of the other parties. It’s never a perfect fit, I don’t care what anyone tells you. If you choose an existing political party, there will always be sacrifices and areas where you differ from the political party. That’s the case for every candidate who runs for a political party.”
In terms of what his party has to offer students, Gaudet said, “We’re going to revisit the idea of the student tax credit that the Liberals did away with.” PC leader Blaine Higgs also announced last week that he if elected his party can eliminate the province’s budget deficit two years from now without cutting health or education.
Speaking directly to the students, Gaudet said, “I hope they recognize that when the Liberal government says free tuition, that is not free tuition. I’m hoping that they’re not sucked into believing that free is actually accurate – it’s not. Someone is paying. As a society, someone is paying.”
As part of our coverage of the lead-up to New Brunswick’s 39th general election, the Argosy profiled all four candidates for the Memramcook-Tantramar riding.
The general election will take place on Sept. 24.
Out-of-province students can register to vote as long as they provide evidence of their New Brunswick residence, such as a Sackville apartment lease.