True blue

Jason Malloy
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Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley voters embrace Tories once again

True blue

TRURO - Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley's rebellious side was short lived.
Voters sent lifelong Tory Scott Armstrong to Ottawa with a commanding victory in yesterday's byelection. The Conservatives or Progressive Conservatives have won 16 of the past 18 elections in the riding.
"I want to welcome the Conservative Party back home," Armstrong told party faithful in Truro last night after supporters cheered his name and piped him into the golf club.
"Regardless of whatever political affiliation or who they chose to support, we are one riding, we are one population, we're going to move this riding forward together in a positive direction."
A year ago, a large portion of staunch Tory supporters, including Armstrong, supported Independent Bill Casey and voted against the Conservatives. With Casey off the ballot, many of the Casey votes returned to the Conservative fold.
It was what many considered the "big unknown" heading into yesterday's vote.
"I think the riding really wanted to move on," Armstrong said.
And that showed early on as the polls were phoned in to Conservative headquarters. The first nine all voted Conservative and many had Armstrong well ahead. Before 10 p.m., Armstrong was declared the winner.
The 43-year-old educator, basketball coach and community volunteer worked his first political campaign in 1972 as a six-year-old, going door-to-door working with Bob Coates and federal leader Robert Stanfield.
More recently, Armstrong has helped everyone from Bill Casey to Bill Langille and Karen Casey get elected.
"I am glad to see he's won with all the work he's done in the past," said Onslow's Stan Hampton. "I am a little surprised ... I thought it would be a little closer."
Langille was elected in the provincial riding of Colchester North with Armstrong's assistance.
"If energy was the sole criteria for winning an election, he'd win hands down," Langille said as he watched the poll-by-poll numbers come in at the former Willow Street elementary school.
"Traditionally, byelections don't favour the government side but every once and a while you break with tradition."
Armstrong thanked his fellow candidates for running a clean and cordial campaign and said he is looking forward to getting to work to get projects done for communities across the region.
While other candidates, media and community members raised the rift between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the riding, Armstrong continually said it was time to move forward.
"We have been through a lot," Armstrong said, but "we're a strong Conservative riding."

Results from Monday's federal byelection in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley (percentage of vote in brackets, all 245 polls reporting):
Scott Armstrong, Conservative -- 11,167 (45.8)
Mark Austin, NDP -- 6,267 (25.7)
Jim Burrows, Liberal -- 5,193 (21.3)
Jason Blanch, Green -- 807 (3.3)
Jim Hnatiuk, Christian Heritage -- 776 (3.2)
Kate Graves, Independent -- 149 (0.6)

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, Conservative Party, Armstrong's

Geographic location: Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Truro, Ottawa Colchester North Willow Street

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Recent comments

  • Another 2 Cents
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    amherstguy, you are right, we could attribute their lack of voting to being lazy, or perhaps Dee has it right.

    Either way, I voted, so I get to complain.

    And because we live in the country we do, we all have the right to complain even if some may not have voted.

    But I digress...

  • Another 2 Cents
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Always Remember,

    Are you telling us that voter turnout is so low because of 18 year olds failing to vote?

    We're getting tired of that arguement too.

    I agree that many younger adults have other things on their mind, (bigger things than Apple Iphones by the way) but that does not cover the 65% of eligible voters who didn't vote.

    I spoke to 4 of my neighbours today, all who didn't vote, all older than 18, and about a dozen co-workers (professionals) who didn't vote either (all much older that 18).

    I can have a more intellectually stimulating coversation with a high school student than I could with the average person on todays politics or other social mattes.

  • amherstguy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Those people, including the professionals , as you call them 2 cents, should be to embarrassed to admit that they were too lazy to get off their as*es to go out and vote..... And I bet that they will be the first people complaining about our representation. Too lazy to vote, then keep your mouths shut when things don't go as you want.

  • stir the pot
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    how sweet it is to be blue like you. tory blue that is.

    go gettem Scott.

  • Robert
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Moriarty from Amherst, NS writes: ..............*Rebellious side*?

    Perhaps your story should be about how Scott won 45% of a 35% turnout and if he was any kind of a person should publically acknowledge the illegitimacy of last night's results.

    Voter turnout below 50.1% should automatically result in a re-polling

    Would you be saying the same thing if the NDP had won? Doubtful...

  • Moriarty
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    ..............*Rebellious side*?

    Perhaps your story should be about how Scott won 45% of a 35% turnout and if he was any kind of a person should publically acknowledge the illegitimacy of last night's results.

    Voter turnout below 50.1% should automatically result in a re-polling.

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Well said, Peter! And at the same time, Always Remember is right on the money. There is a great lack of enthusiasm for our ability to participate, and I wonder if it's just that too many people have lost faith in the process and feel that regardless of how they vote, or who wins, that nothing will change.

    The big question is how do you change that? How do restore the faith in democracy? How do you get people interested again?

  • Always
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I understand (and completely agree with) the argument that the vets sacrificed for freedom, etc. during war, but have to admit that argument grows tired every time there's an election called and voter turnout is bad. It's just a fact of life that you can't tell an 18 year-old kid that he should have voted because people fought and died nearly 100 years ago for his freedom. He's more interested in what Apple is coming out with for the new iPhone in time for Christmas to think about that fact.

  • amherstguy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    We were all waiting for your nutty comment Moriarty. Thanks for NOT disappointing us. We all look forward to your silliness and you certainly lived up to our expectations.

  • jubejube
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Finally Colchester Co has taken this seat. Too long in Cumberland.

    I hope Harper sticks this guy on the far back benches beside the dippers. Harper used Armstrong and vice versa....

  • Peter
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Ignorance & apathy are no excuse.
    If an 18 year old dosen't appreciate what
    a privilege it is to vote, then someone failed him/her somewhere along the way.
    BTW - to Dirk - since when is voting a waste of time?

  • Macho
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Reasons for the 35 per cent turnout (which is accurate -- 24,359 votes cast out of 68,118 eligible voters = 35.7 per cent turnout. I stand to be corrected on the eligible voter number, but 68,118 is in the ballpark):

    - Third provincial/federal election in barely a year means voter burnout.

    - Lack of a charismatic candidate to vote for. No Bill Caseys in this bunch.

    - Only a byelection, which means voters aren't caught up in the national picture and can't sense their vote might actually make a difference in who forms the government, so why bother.

    - People are creatures of habit, and since there wasn't any galvanizing issue like last year with voters siding with Casey over Harper, they returned to their traditional voting patterns.

    It was an uneventful campaign with a very predictable result. Here's hoping Armstrong can do some good in Ottawa.

  • sparky00
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I just hope that Harper doesn't take this as a sign to try to force an election to try to get his majority government that he so desperately wants.
    The low turn out is very disheartening as well.

  • Dee
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    No disrespect to anyone ... sometimes one just gets tired of the same old same old ... I chose not to vote this time ... not out of disrespect ... just tired of politics Congrats to the winners ... but it appears people are still reeling from the confusion and last years double decker elections!

  • jason
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    35% is a disgrace

  • Dirk
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Well after the provincial NDP tried to shaft the NSTU and upcoming CUPE / NSNU CBA, its no wonder the Tories got back in on the federal side. Glad I didnt waste my time voting.

  • Peter
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    35% turnout is a disgrace.
    Tomorrow we will assemble at the
    cenotaph to thank our veterans
    for what they have sacrificed & what they have done
    for us. Well one of the things they did for us was to
    fight & die for democracy you know, the right to vote.
    I wonder how it makes a veteran feel when he/she
    sees a voter turnout of 35%? Kind of slap
    in the face to our honored ones dont you think?

  • Vincent
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Great to see Scott Armstrong win the seat in yesterdays by election. Now he has the task to represent this vast riding
    in Ottawa and make good on his promises. For the haters on this post,
    good luck in your future endeavors.

    Scott make us proud that we voted for you. Thank you.

  • Janet
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I think I may just throw up! when is this party going to find a rock and crawl under it?? oh grandchildren may be grandparents by then :S

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Peter I totally agree with you that 35% is a ridiculous turnout. However that alone should not be considered a slap in the face to our vets. The people who did not vote did exercise their option as to whether they vote or not. Remember the vets did fight and die so people MUST vote... they fought for our RIGHT to vote. Vets everywhere thank you for giving Canadians this OPTION.
    Now back to the 35% number....not sure where that came from but just in case its accurate it should send a strong message to every politician out there. When voters look up and down the ballot they should see one candidate or party stand out far above the rest and that is who they vote for. It's really sad when people have so little faith in our political system that they would rather stay home than vote for any of the candidates. Politicians have...through their own untrustworthyness and frequent corruptness...caused this crisis. So many people have such disgust for all the federal parties they would rather sit and watch re-runs of the beachcombers or corination street than to vote. If Ottawa's politicians do not see that the voters are becoming totally disgusted and embarrassed of them then it will only get worse.
    PS I did vote but not because I wanted someone to win. In fact none of the candidates or parties impressed me in the slightest. I voted because I felt that if I didn't vote I would have no right to complain about their performance or lack thereof afterwards!!

  • Doug
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Mr. Armstrong, first, congrats and secondly, don't forget Cumberland. As you said, it's time to move on.

  • Another 2 Cents
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45