KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember that between 2013 and 2017 Joanne Bernard was the MLA for Dartmouth North.
Many people on income assistance, including myself, lost respect for her within weeks of her getting appointed as the Minister of Community Services.
Joanne Bernard is now considering taking a run at becoming the leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.
Since this came out on CBC news, I have spoken with people who live in Dartmouth North who told me “Joanne better be prepared that people in her former Dartmouth North riding are not going to re-elect her.
These people have said to me, “Kendall, in the days of Joanne Bernard being our MLA she has given us reason not to trust her.”
Within the past couple of days I met with a group of income assistance recipients who do not want to talk on the record.
I should mention with COVID-19 still being around this meeting took place sitting outside in a park and with practising social distancing.
Anyway, they told me they lost all respect for her as well during her time as minister of Community Services. Many income assistance recipients were offended by comments she made during that period of time that showed her true colours.
Specific comments that was made to me were as follows:
“Kendall, Joanne Bernard was on welfare herself at one time, but she sure did not behave like she was at one time on welfare while serving as Minister of Community Services.”
“We saw she was not in favour of increasing the allowances and she moved as slow as cold molasses in changing the policies.”
“Also, Joanne Bernard made media comments that offended income assistance recipients.”
Then this group raised the question: “How can Joanne Benard be the leader of the Liberal party and the premier when she has shown she cannot be a good minister of Community Services? Where will Joanne Benard stand on other issues such as health and wellness if she becomes the leader?”
When you are an MLA, you are supposed to help people and Joanne Bernard has shown no interest in helping.
It is the belief of myself and others in the community that Joanne Bernard should just stick to private life. The current MLA for Dartmouth North is doing a great job in her community and with helping people.
If Joanne Bernard becomes the next leader of the liberals and the premier some people believe that the province will even be in worse shape then the whole time Stephen McNeil was premier.
So let’s hope that someone other than Joanne Bernard becomes the new leader of the provincial liberal party.
Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.
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