Nova Scotia voters give Liberals a majority government

Stephen McNeil will form new government; NDP's Darrell Dexter loses his own riding.

PREMIER-DESIGNATE STEPHEN MCNEIL
Premier-designate Stephen McNeil
Voters have given the Nova Scotia Liberal Party a majority government, sending the NDP packing. With leader Stephen McNeil at the helm, the Liberals took 33 seats. Jamie Baillie’s Progressive Conservative Party won 11 seats and status as the official opposition in the new government. The Darrell Dexter-led NDP is left with just seven seats.

After decades of slowly growing the party during the tenure of successive scandal-ridden Liberal and PC governments, Dexter had brought the NDP into a majority government in 2009. But that steady progress was wiped away in an instant Tuesday. The NDP lost even in its traditional stronghold in HRM, barely eking out victory in just two ridings: Maureen MacDonald won in Halifax Needham, and Dave Wilson took Sackville-Cobequid. The NDP’s defeat was so complete that Dexter lost his own Cole Harbour-Portland Valley riding to a relatively unknown, Liberal Tony Ince.

Other Liberal victories in the urban area include Labi Kousoulis in Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, Joachim Stroink in Halifax Chebucto, Lena Diab in Halifax Armdale, Patricia Arab in Fairview-Clayton Park, Diana Whalen in Clayton Park West, Kelly Regain in Bedford, Joanne Bernard in Dartmouth North, Andrew Younger in Dartmouth East, Allan Rowe in Dartmouth South and Joyce Treen in Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

McNeil’s campaign faulted the NDP government for the Muskrat Falls power deal, and promised to open the electrical market to competition. It’s unclear how exactly McNeil will make good on that pledge. He also said he’ll consolidate the health boards in the province.

Mostly, though, the election appears more as an NDP loss than a Liberal victory. The NDP were perhaps overly messaged, relying on PR campaigns like Ships Start Here that bred cynicism in voters, and too focused on a moderate course that lost its base.

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