Jake Stewart hotly denies receiving invitation to June 7 fracking information session in Boiestown
By Cheryl Norrad
In telephone and email responses to The Purple Violet Press on Monday, Southwest Miramichi MLA Jake Stewart angrily stated he has no record of being invited by organizers to the public information session on hydro-fracking that took place June 7 in Boiestown.
"I was not invited...they lied; they're not credible," said Stewart.
Stewart added the D-Day trip to France was scheduled 4 months in advance and in that time he didn't receive anything about the meeting in Boiestown. Furthermore, Stewart said if his government email address received an invitation between June 3 and twelfth while he was in France, an 'out of country' notification would've instantly bounced back to the sender indicating his whereabouts with his secretary's contact information.
Given the historical significance of D-Day, Stewart was perplexed at why anyone would object to his paying respects to the sacrifices of the North Shore Regiment, the only bilingual regiment in the war.
"...Honoring our bravest individuals is something I was proud to take part in...I find it hard to believe that my being in France was not understood...," he said.
Stewart said he'd attended information meetings in the past with Southwestern Energy, but not all of them due to a busy schedule.
"I don't have to be at every meeting because I'm not the expert...I have no time for that," he said.
Stewart also found it confusing as to why anyone would question where he stands on an issue involving clean water in the province since he worked as an advocate for safe drinking water in the Blackville area before becoming an MLA.
"My record on green issues and safe drinking water should speak for itself," he said.
Stewart said people in the riding shouldn't be surprised at the presence of the shale gas industry in the area since it was part of the Conservative campaign platform.
"We campaigned on a platform including shale gas...people were aware of it and still voted the government in," Stewart said.
Most important to Stewart are the roughly three hundred constituents that contact him regularly looking for work. The shale gas industry will bring much needed jobs to an area that has long suffered the effects of unemployment. The economic benefits derived from the industry being in the area will help Stewart in his fight to get jobs for these people.
"I didn't get elected by being a wimp," said Stewart.
In response to Stewart's explanation for his absence, organizers of the June 7 meeting in Boiestown informed The Purple Violet Press they worked in concert with Mary Delavalette, part of a citizen group in Doaktown, who notified Stewart previous to his departure for France in letters by regular mail, not email, that meetings were taking place in the area.
"I mailed letters informing him, but he didn't respond," said Delavalette.
As for Stewart stating he'd attended meetings in the past with Southwestern Energy representatives, citizen groups aren't aware of him being at any in the Southwest Miramichi region so far. However, Stewart told The Purple Violet Press he is interested in attending the Southwestern Energy presentation in Boiestown on Wednesday, June 15 from 1 to 3 pm.