Across the Big Land, there are big campaign issues

Jacob Barker/CBC

There's about 1,200 kilometres separating the ends of the land-based Labrador campaign trail — also known as the Trans-Labrador Highway — running through three of the four districts between Labrador City and L'Anse-au-Clair.

But for leaders in the spread-out region, some of the election issues are the same.

"The list is long," said Wabush mayor Ron Barron about what he wants to see candidates talk about over the coming weeks. 

He says housing for seniors is becoming a more prevalent issue, and so is health care.

Barron wants whichever party takes power to bring in a new medical travel system, specific to Labrador. 

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"There's literally people here that have spent every bit of life savings that they had," Barron said about travelling outside of the area for specialized treatment not available in Labrador West. 

"We're supposed to have a free health-care system," he said. "It's not too free for the people here in Labrador, when they gotta spend every cent they have to try to get medical treatment. And even just travel in general. To fly in this province is astronomical."

The isolated area of the province relies heavily on just a few transportation networks, including the single highway, and Barron says roads and other infrastructure are other big issues. 

None of the parties have committed to driving their election bus up to Labrador.

Southern waste solutions

In L'Anse-au-Clair, at the other end of the road, mayor Chad Letto echoes the sentiment. 

He says finishing highway paving in the south is a priority, and so is continuing the conversation about building a road into Nunatsiavut, on Labrador's north coast — accessible now only by plane, and a coastal ferry in the summertime. 

Like in the west, health care and supports for an aging population are important, said Letto, along with jobs "like nursing or doctors or the like, [which] helps sustain a small community in these regions."

But he also wants to know what government will do about Muskrat Falls power bypassing the whole area. 

Jacob Barker/CBC

"They told us they would look at a renewable energy source for our area, and more power, which would help create businesses and the like," he said. 

He also wants a solution to the landfill problem, which has seen southern Labrador struggle with an overflowing dump for years. 

Meanwhile, back in Labrador West, Barron says waste is on his mind as well. 

They're waiting on approval for a new wastewater treatment plant, and Barron says it was looking good, but wonders what effect an election will have. 

"We have to do this," he said. "By law, this treatment plant that we are hoping to get the money for, that has to continue. Otherwise we still have raw sewage going into fresh water, and that's a no-no."

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