For once, we can’t say a federal election provided no surprises. The polls were varied and hard to read going in to the May 2 vote, but few outside Tory circles were predicting a majority government for Stephen Harper.
Going into the campaign, even fewer were expecting Jack Layton’s NDP to win 100 seats, and even the most pessimistic of Liberals would have laughed at the suggestion of the once-mighty Big Red Machine cut down to 34 seats, with not even leader Michael Ignatieff holding his. No one expected the Bloc Quebecois to be wiped off the map, and not many were giving Green Party leader Elizabeth May a chance of breaking through.
Here in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, things changed very little, as Conservative incumbent Scott Armstrong cruised to victory with more than 50 per cent of the vote. Aside from a slight increase in support for Green candidate Jason Blanch, Armstrong’s opposing candidates saw no gains.
What this tells us is that, like Bill Casey and Robert Coates before him, Armstrong will have this job as long as he wants it. With his low-key personality and political experience, Armstrong is not likely to find himself embroiled in any major scandals, and under the tightly managed ship of Stephen Harper, the Conservative brand will remain strong for years to come.
Will being part of a majority government make it easier for Armstrong to get things done for this riding? Possibly, but one would struggle to come up with any local projects that hampered him in the previous minority setting. He will continue on the backbench in a caucus much more crowded than before.
For two years, Armstrong has done his job with quiet competence, and his constituents will expect more of the same from him for the next mandate.