With P.E.I. election a week away, many Islanders say they want government to 'work with us'
With the provincial election just a week away, many residents of Prince Edward Island are calling on the next government to work with them -- not against them.
As the rain poured down on an island potato farm, it was a stark reminder of what it was like last October at the height of the harvest.
“It was almost a biblical year,” said farmer Bryan Maynard. “Nobody had seen it before. Almost 7,000 acres were left in the ground.”
Maynard, well-known for Farm Boys Inc., says he doesn't believe people quite understand how detrimental last year was -- and will be -- on some farmers.
“People are going to have that hangover from the 2018 crop for quite some time, and I would hope that whatever government is formed here realizes that it's time to start working towards fixing that hangover,” Maynard said.
The ruling Liberal party's slogan this campaign is “P.E.I. is working.”
It’s a nod to the relatively strong economic times on the island, according to political scientist Don Desserud of the University of Prince Edward Island.
“They've not done a bad job in terms of managing the economy,” Desserud said. “The economy is doing very well.”
But not everyone agrees it's working. Maynard says there's some mistrust of government no matter the political stripe.
His wish for whoever forms the next government?
“I would really like to work hand in hand, side by side with them,” Maynard said. “Sometimes, as farmers here on the island, we feel like the government's over-regulating things and maybe dictating to us how they would like us to farm.”
Terry Curley is the co-owner Monaghan Farms Ltd. in Summerfield.
“I think there's a lot of good things that the agriculture community's doing,” Curley said. “Whether it be environment or pesticide reduction, all that. It's hard to get that message out.”
Curley is a sixth-generation farmer who is hoping the next government considers that and listens to the facts.
“Base your decisions on science, don't base it on political plus or minus decisions,” Curley said. “I think that's the biggest thing that a lot of people are frustrated with.”
Along the island's north shore, at the French River South wharf, you'll find lobster fisherman Lucas Blackett. His season starts in two weeks.
He's not even 25 yet, but this will be his seventh season as a licence holder.
He says so long as he can fish, life is pretty good, but he says, things need to be done to strengthen the industry's future.
“There's a pile of harbours around here that need a lot of work, like our wharf, prime example,” Blackett said. “Right outside this door is just, well it’s falling apart -- and this isn't the only one. There's a lot; there needs to be some serious money put into infrastructure for sure.”
Maynard sums up his wish for the next premier.
“I’m just really hopeful that whoever takes office is willing to work together with us as Islanders, not just farmers, but Islanders in general,” he said.
That’s because the work itself on land or sea continues no matter who is in power.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.