Nova Scotia ACORN Members Rally in Opposition to Joanne Bernard's Candidacy

Posted May 21, 2016

Members and supporters of Nova Scotia ACORN came together for a rally on Wednesday May 18th, to voice our opposition to the candidacy of Joanne Bernard in Dartmouth North.  Joanne Bernard is the incumbent Liberal MLA for Dartmouth North, and is also the Minister in charge of the Department of Community Services (DCS), which oversees both social assistance and public housing.
 
As Minister, Bernard has overseen a freeze to income assistance rates, and staffing cuts at the DCS. Since Bernard has become Minister, many ACORN members have also had their cheques cut, often having their allowances for transportation, cell phones, and medically-required special diets cut off.  
 
In the past, Dartmouth ACORN members have repeatedly requested meetings with Joanne Bernard - in some cases regarding pest control and maintenance problems in Metro Housing, in others around cuts to disability and income assistance - and she has consistently refused to meet with us. Her staff have even locked the doors on individual residents because they were wearing ACORN buttons or shirts. In general, it seems that she has no interest in hearing from low income constituents. 
 
"It's been very frustrating. The Liberal Government only cares about private businesses and wealthy individuals," said Jonethan Brigley, the Chair of Dartmouth ACORN. "We're reasonable people, we're open to making compromises and we simply wanted to sit down and have a conversation. We want to make her aware of specific issues and work towards a solution. But she's treated us as though we're an angry mob. So at this point our message is this: Joanne Bernard does not represent us, doesn't listen to us, and we want her out." 
 
The action was led by ACORN members, but several local residents - previously unaware of ACORN, but frustrated with Bernard - joined our ranks and lifted our spirits. We're proud to have community support, and we're determined to keep fighting.