ANTIGONISH – Describing himself as a “simple country doctor,” John Hamilton says he was prompted to run in the federal election when he saw the impact the Conservative-led government was having on his patients.
He’s seen people make tough choices between paying for their medication and buying food, something he says has to stop.
Now the Liberal candidate for Central Nova, Hamilton says he’s concerned about the direction the Harper-led government was having on the area.
“There’s a significant lack of support for health care, veterans,” Hamilton said. “I’m a rural specialist, part of a group that’s in short supply, and we’re not being replaced. I’ll never be able to retire if the present situation continues on.”
Winning this election is an uphill battle, he acknowledges, particularly against Peter MacKay, who has held the seat for more than a decade. But it’s not an impossible task, he says.
“Peter MacKay did not win the popular vote the last election, and each election, there’s been a steady drop in the number of votes he’s received,” Hamilton said. “I think people perceive that it’s time for a change.”
Hamilton, who has family ties to both Pictou and Antigonish counties, says he believes his reputation as an ophthalmologist in the area for almost 30 years will only help his cause.
“In the eastern half of the county I’m very well known, possibly in Pictou County I’m a little less well-known, but for a while, I was the only ophthalmologist in eastern Nova Scotia, so I’m not an unknown coming onto the scene,” he said, adding that he’s not afraid of tough battles.
“There’s more glory in uphill battles.”
He’s also buoyed by the help of volunteers, who he says have come out in droves to answer the phones, hang signs and organize canvassing of the area, as well as offering support through fundraising.
“I’m so gratified by the number of people who have come forward to help,” he says, adding that his family has also thrown their support behind him, with his wife working on the fundraising end, his oldest son driving him around and his youngest son active in coming up with Hamilton’s strategy. His daughter, who is currently writing exams, will be helping out as well.
“I’m just focusing on meeting as many people as I can and letting the chips fall where they may.”
Name: Dr. John Hamilton
Family: Is married to Dr. Minola Amit and father of Allistair, Claire and David
Volunteer Experience: Board members of L’Arche in Antigonish for the past 15 years; involved with the Highland Society of Antigonish for the past 25 years; president and chair of Recovery House in Antigonish; board member of Festival Antigonish, to name a few.