Last Kick at the Can

November 24, 2022

Virgil Hammock
Candidate Ward 3 Councillor
Tantramar Township 

Let’s be clear the work of council in its first term in this new town of Tantramar will be difficult. Amalgamation seldom, if ever, works. It is the bureaucrats answer for centralization and control. It did not work in Halifax or Toronto and more locally it did not work at our hospital. The Sackville Hospital started out with a purely local board then moved to a regional board, SERHA, and finally a provincial board, Horizon. Each time our service got worse. I know, as I served four years as an elected member of SERHA until I, and other elected members, got kicked out to make way for Horizon.

The whole idea of amalgamation is streamlining and cutting cost. It never does, but it does end up in the short order losing local jobs and less local control. Eventually bureaucratic jobs blossom at higher cost. Already in our amalgamation we will have a highly paid  unelected regional service commission that will stand in the way of our path to Fredericton and take over control of some of what should be done by council. We go into our new council with an appointed CAO rather than one that is hired, and perhaps fired, by council. This is a major problem. It means our council is controlled by Fredericton.

Of course, our new council and mayor will want to make things work. That is why it is important that they work to common goals through teamwork. Council is non-partisan and that is a good thing. It means councillors can disagree and still believe in the common good. This is why in this election I have not backed any candidate for major for council, but ran on what I believed would result in a better town. I might wish for certain people to win, but I leave that choice to the voter. Nothing would be worse than starting out a new term of council with bad feelings between its members.

I wish I could promise smooth sailing in the next few years or promise anything. I am just one person and town council are not ran by one person. Face the facts — down the road council will be blamed for everything that goes wrong despite if it was something that was not under its control. It has alway been thus, at least it was during my 13 years on council.

I do have a lot of experience in town government, the health sector, and planing. I realize that getting one’s ideas out there is difficult. Many people just go to the poll and vote with gut feelings and worse many people don’t vote at all. I do think that I would have something to add to this new council and new town. I will do it full-time.

I ask for your vote. Thank you.

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