By Andrew Macdonald
Depending on what politico you believe on the South Shore, the current 22-kilometre twinning of Hwy. 103 from Tantallon to Hubbards has either been the result of efforts by Bernadette Jordan, in her time as South Shore MP, or the $65 million project was produced by Peter MacKay while he was in the Stephen Harper government.
Jordan’s backers contend it was her alone who got the Justin Trudeau government behind the important twinning of the province’s most lethal highway on which 26 folk have died in auto accidents since 2009.
Media reports note that on July 25, 2017, Jordan, and then federal minister Scott Brison, and Nova Scotia Highways Minister Lloyd Hines announced the federal government and the province were giving the twinning $65 million.
In the current election campaign, Jordan’s Tory opponent, Rick Perkins contends MacKay and Harper paved the way for the project. Last week, after Jordan and the provincial government announced a $40 million roundabout in Bridgewater, Perkins issued a news release that suggested that Jordan did not live up a 2015 campaign promise to get Ottawa funds for the twinning of Hwy. 103,
But, while I can find media reports on the Jordan announcement on July 25, 2017, I can find no media reports noting MacKay announced the twinning despite the assertions from Perkins,
It would seem to me, in the lack of any evidence, that Perkins is wrong to attack Jordan on what he calls “another broken promise” because funding was only announced by Jordan, who has been Nova Scotia’s representative in the Trudeau cabinet.
In Perkins’ news release, he said the roundabout announced for Bridgewater “is nothing more than a desperate attempt on the eve of an election to distract from Liberal failures for our region.
“In 2015, Bernadette promised to work to get Liberal infrastructure money for twinning of Hwy. 103 and promised the removal of derelict vessels in Bridgewater. The vessels are still there and instead of a highway twinning, we get an exit in Bridgewater.”
Perkins also quoted from a 2015 interview I conducted with Jordan who was then running for office:
“In an interview with The Macdonald Notebook in the 2015 election as Liberal party candidate, Bernadette Jordan said in reference to the 103, “I am ready to work collaboratively with the province to leverage the funds committed by the Liberal party for significant infrastructure.”
But as I can find no Peter MacKay-Stephen Harper funding announcement for the current twinning now underway, it appears Perkins is spinning the 103 twinning.
But he is right to note the 103 is a deathtrap highway.
“According to the Nova Scotia government highway twinning study done by the department of transportation and infrastructure renewal, the corridor between Hwy. 103 exit 5 and exit 12 had the highest amount of traffic collisions in the province with an average of almost 70 per year,” says the Perkins release.
“The new interchange may increase the developable industrial land, but it does nothing to relieve the traffic and safety issues of this highway.
“Bernadette Jordan still has not gotten the job done as our MP. This is unacceptable and our community expects better from our local Member of Parliament who was elected to fight for our needs. People are tired of the Liberal government and MP Jordan making promises simply to try and fool voters,” he asserted
“This promise is more of the same from Bernadette: she promised the highway twinning and we got a single exit; she promised the removal of derelict vessels, and we got another study,” concluded Perkins.