One of the benefits of having elected a majority government in Nova Scotia last year is that we can expect a few more years before we have to go to the polls again.
That being said, the results of two recent byelections can tell us at least a couple things about where we could be headed with our next makeup in the legislature.
As expected, Nova Scotians are not happy with Darrell Dexter and the NDP government, and it is Stephen McNeil’s Liberals that are set to benefit, not the Progressive Conservatives.
Liberal Geoff MacLellan easily took the Glace Bay riding that was opened up with the abrupt resignation of Dave Wilson earlier this year. While Wilson got caught up in the MLA spending scandal, he was arguably the least scandalized of those named, and the Liberals thereby paid a small price. The island has always proven to be somewhat of a safe haven for the Liberals.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the province, Liberal Zach Churchill captured the Yarmouth riding that was opened by the resignation of Richard Hurlburt. The PC loss showed the party has not quite recovered from Hurlburt’s expense claims, while the dismal showing of NDP candidate John Deveau, who garnered only 534 votes, prove that it might be a long while before people in that neck of the woods forget the government’s decision to stop subsidizing the CAT.
Yes, it’s early to even think about what the next government will look like, as a lot could happen in the next 3-4 years. The Tories have yet to even name a long-term leader, so it’s premature to count them out of any race, and a continued economic recovery could see Dexter regain some popularity before he has to face the electorate again.
But chalk this up for a victory for McNeil, whose job should be safe for another kick at the can.