TRURO – It used to be a given Progressive Conservatives would occupy Colchester County’s seats in the provincial legislature after each election.
© Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
PC party leader Jamie Baillie talks with workers at Kohler Windows Monday in Debert. The Truro native was on the campaign trail in Colchester County preparing for the provincial election on Oct. 8. His party is trying to win back the three Colchester County ridings, which were once dominated by the Progressive Conservatives.
Not so anymore.
Central Nova Scotia’s residents sent the PC party a message in 2009 by putting the New Democrats in power and painting the once true blue ridings of Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River and Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley in NDP orange.
It was a message read loud and clear.
“Politicians and our political system have been getting a pretty bad rap for the past 15 years,” Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River PC candidate Charles Cox said. “So I think people were registering their disappointment with the way things had been done in the past.”
Back in 2009, NDP candidate Lenore Zann received 48 per cent of the vote and wrestled Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River away from the PC party for the first time since Jamie Muir was first appointed MLA in 1998. Eleanor Norrie held the riding for the Liberals from 1993 to 1998 after Ron Giffin’s PC reign from 1978 to 1993.
Brooke Taylor was a Tory MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley from 1998 to 2009 when Gary Burrill garnered 48 per cent of the vote to take that riding.
Colchester North was the lone central Nova Scotian stronghold the Progressive Conservatives managed to hang onto in 2009 when Karen Casey won with 50 per cent of the vote. But she crossed the floor to the Liberal party in 2011. Before Casey, Bill Langille held the riding for the PCs from 1999 to 2006.
PC leader Jamie Baillie, a Truro native who was in Colchester County campaigning on Monday, said he feels both Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River and Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley can return to its status as a Progressive Conservative stronghold once again when voters go to the polls on Oct. 8.
“If you really want to change the culture of the way something is run, you have to change the people,” Baillie said. “And we have the right people plus the plan and the leader to turn our economy around.”
Baillie visited Stanfield’s on Monday with Cox before the pair met Colchester North candidate John K. MacDonald at Kohler Windows in Debert, where they spoke with about 40 employees about the party’s plan to help create jobs in rural Nova Scotia.
But Weldon Turner, a 70-year-old Truro resident, said he feels people in Colchester County may not necessarily be ready to return to tradition when they go to the polls.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “(Prime Minister Stephen) Harper has rubbed people the wrong way here so I think it’s going to be a toss up. I think the NDP might take it again. It’ll be interesting to see who does get in.”
MacDonald, however, said he feels voters are ready to come back to the Tories because he feels the party is ready to make the changes voters want to see.
“Voters ask, ‘Do I want to see change in government or do I want to see change in the direction of government?’” he said. “That’s why we’re very confident, in that we’re going into this election wanting to make serious change and I think the people of Colchester North understand that.”
Current MLA: Gary Burrill, NDP
Area: 3,060 square km
1993 – Brooke Taylor, PC
1998 – Brooke Taylor, PC
1999 – Brooke Taylor, PC
2003 – Brooke Taylor, PC
2006 – Brooke Taylor, PC
2009 – Gary Burrill, NDP
Current MLA: Karen Casey, Liberal
Area: 2,235 square km
1978 – William Campbell, PC
1981 – Ed Lorraine, Liberal
1984 – Jack Coupar, PC
1988 – Ed Lorraine, Liberal
1999 – Bill Langille, PC
2006 – Karen Casey, PC
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River
Current MLA: Lenore Zann, NDP
Area: 56 square km
1978 – Ron Giffin, PC
1993 – Eleanor Norrie, Liberal
1998 – Jamie Muir, PC
2009 – Lenore Zann, NDP