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Mike Savage and Robert Chisholm face off 

Dartmouth-Cole Harbour riding is most interesting local race.

The Dartmouth-Cole Harbour riding is the site of one of the federal election’s true heavyweight bouts, with incumbent Liberal Mike Savage looking to fend off a challenge from the NDP’s Robert Chisholm.

click to enlarge Robert Chisholm
  • Robert Chisholm
Both bring significant star power to the competition. Savage has served in Parliament since 2004, is currently vice-chair of the standing committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and is the son of former Dartmouth mayor and Nova Scotia premier John Savage. Chisholm is no slouch either, a former provincial NDP leader who transformed the party into a serious player in the late 1990s.

Chisholm, who left politics in 2003, says he was inspired to re-enter the fray by the devolving tone of federal politics and the apathy this has created in voters. “I don’t feel like I can sit by and add to that kind of cynicism by complaining about it and not stepping up and doing something about it,” Chisholm says.

click to enlarge Mike Savage
  • Mike Savage
For those voters who feel the best thing to do is defeat the Harper Conservatives at any cost---including a “strategic” Liberal vote---Chisholm has a message. “I don’t think things have been any better under the Liberals than they are under the Conservatives,” he says. “The Liberals are nicer, maybe, but I don’t think their policies are that much different.”

Savage, meanwhile, says he’s happy to stand on his record as an active Parliamentary debater and a voice for poverty reduction. He also thinks the voter perception of the Darrell Dexter government will hinder Chisholm.

“The provincial NDP government has disappointed some traditional NDP supporters,” Savage says. “As a government, it’s a lot more difficult to promise things than when you’re not in government, and that helps (the Liberals).”

A riding that typically goes red or orange will send either Savage or Chisholm to Ottawa. Regardless, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour will have an experienced voice in Parliament.

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