Perkins set to take on MP role as Jordan exits

A male and female politician stand in front of a table with a microphone with a Canada flag behind them
Rick Perkins and Bernadette Jordan at candidates debate Sept. 7, 2021. Photo by Ed Halverson.
Ed Halverson - QCCR/CJQC - LiverpoolNS | 22-09-2021
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Just 24 hours after the results of the election, the outgoing and incoming MPs are both upbeat about the result.

Conservative Rick Perkins defeated two-term Liberal incumbent Bernadette Jordan to take the riding of South Shore St. Margaret’s by a 2,000 vote margin.

Perkins ran in 2019 and says the experience helped as constituents recognized him when he came to their door.

“Well, there’s no question that this time I was much better known. Knocking on 15,000 doors in 2019 and then continuing my relationship with many of the people in the riding, the fisherman and the businesses that employ most of us in the riding, has made it easier in this campaign,” said Perkins. “When I went door to door, people recognized me and remembered me.”

Perkins says he had a sense people were looking for change when he was on the doorsteps.

“The three biggest issues I got at the door was Justin Trudeau fatigue, health care and a view that people wanted a change in who their actual member of parliament was,” said Perkins.

For her part, Jordan acknowledges her role as fisheries minister contributed to the voter dissatisfaction in the riding.

“I think that it’s been a tough year and a half as the fisheries minister. Obviously, the fisheries issue was a big concern for a lot of people and it translated to votes,” said Jordan. “It’s always tough being the fisheries minister because nobody really likes the person who makes the rules.”

Jordan says plans to enjoy the first stretch of time off she’s had in six years as she plans her next move.

“Community has always been extremely important to me and just because I’m not the elected official it does not mean that I will not be involved in my community. I will still be. I’m just trying to figure out in what capacity now,” said Jordan.

The outgoing minister also acknowledged her staff of five in Bridgewater and 18 in her ministerial office will now be looking for work.

“They’re all going to be fine because they’re all very smart and very capable people but it’s still really hard to see,” said Jordan. “They’ve been an amazing team that have supported me through a lot and it’s hard for people who have put their heart and soul into everything for six years to now be in a position where they are looking for something else.”

Reflecting on her time in office, Jordan is proud of many accomplishments including: enshrining owner/operator into law, the removal of the Cormorant from the LaHave River and being instrumental in establishing a law to remove derelict vessels from waterways across the country.

But most of all, it’s the constituency work that Jordan will remember most.

“The individual people who have come into our office for help, who have had problems navigating the government system or who have challenges and we’ve been able to help them with whatever they’re dealing with. Often times, people forget that’s one of the main jobs of an MP is to help their constituents,” said Jordan.

Perkins plans to make constituent concerns the focus of his mandate.

To that end, he will set up his primary office in Bridgewater and open another office in Shelburne to ensure people can access their MP.

Perkins says he’s keen to get going and won’t take for granted the faith placed in him by the people of South Shore-St.Margaret’s.

“It’s overwhelming and humbling at the same time. As many of your listeners would know, I was the candidate in 2019 and the result was a little different than this one,” said Perkins. “It was exciting to see the results [Monday] night and now the work begins.”

Twitter: @edwardhalverson

To listen to the broadcast of this story, press play below.