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Liberals big winners again in Nova Scotia

Liberal Bernadette Jordan talks to supporter Jack Logan after winning the South Shore-St. Margarets riding.
Liberal Bernadette Jordan talks to supporter Jack Logan after winning the South Shore-St. Margarets riding. - Ian Fairclough
HALIFAX, N.S. —

The Liberals lost their provincial stranglehold in Monday’s federal election but six incumbents were returned to the House of Commons, accompanied by several newcomers.

The Liberals had won all 11 Nova Scotia seats in the 2015 election en route to sweeping all 32 Atlantic ridings.

In South Shore-St. Margarets, Bernadette Jordan rolled to victory Monday night, leading runner-up Rick Perskins of the Conservatives by more than 3,000 votes within two hours of the polls closing.

“I'm relieved,” said Jordan of being declared elected. “ Happy. "It's a really good night."

 Jordan, Nova Scotia’s lone cabinet minister who held the rural economic development portfolio at the dissolution of Parliament, said she knocked on lots of doors during the campaign to make sure her message got out, and thinks the Liberal platform resonated with people in the riding.

“I’m really looking forward to what the next four years bring,” Jordan said. “We have a lot to do.”
Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House at dissolution, easily retained the Halifax West seat that he’s held since 2000. Regan held a whopping lead of nearly 7,000 votes over Jacob Wilson of the New Democrats at press time.

It also appeared that Andy Fillmore would hang on to his Halifax seat. Fillmore held a 2,000-vote advantage over nearest rival, Christine Saulnier of the NDP. 

Incumbent Sean Fraser of the Liberals was leading handily in Central Nova, forcing country crooner George Canyon, a former Pictou County native who was parachuted in to contest the riding, to sing the blues on election night.

“I want to congratulate all the candidates, and we need to encourage each other to step up to serve our nation in this capacity,” Canyon said.

“I would specifically like to congratulate Sean Fraser (and) thank him for his four years of service. He’s a good young man and I encourage him to represent the people of Central Nova in the next four years.”

Darren Fisher, another Liberal incumbent in the Dartmouth-Cole Harbour riding, was another big winner on the night, polling a nearly 6,000-vote lead over Emma Norton of the New Democrats.

In the Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook riding, Liberal incumbent Darrell Samson also scored a huge victory, running more than 6,000 votes ahead of New Democrat Matt Strickland.

In Kings-Hants, neophyte Kody Blois, a Belnan native, appeared on his way to victory over Martha MacQuarrie of the Conservatives and Stephen Schneider of the New Democrats.

“It’s looking good,” said Blois, a young lawyer who recently passed the bar. “Things are definitely going in the right direction. It’s a little surreal yet, it’s not all sinking in. You’re watching six months of hard work play out on the screen.”

The seat had been held by Conservative-turned-Liberal Scott Brison, who retired in January.

Conservative Chris d’Entremont, broke the Liberal string in the riding of West Nova, where he was leading over Liberal Jason Deveau by 1,500 votes. D’Entremont had been the provincial MLA for the riding of Argyle-Barrington before winning the federal nomination in West Nova.

Lenore Zann, the former NDP MLA for the Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon-River riding, moved over to the Liberals to contest the federal Cumberland-Colchester riding. With 137 of 222 polls reporting, Zann held a slim 190-vote lead over Scott Armstrong of the Conservatives, who had held the seat before losing to Conservative-turned—Liberal Bill Casey in 2015.

In Cape Breton, the ridings of Cape Breton-Canso and Sydney-Victoria were too close to call at press time. No matter who ends up being elected in Cape Breton-Canso, change was guaranteed. It was the first time since 2000 that Rodger Cuzner’s name wasn’t on the ballot.

“Someone to change our economy and just make it better,” Gabby D’amico of Halifax said of the potential for change. “Make a better Canada to live in. I just want to be a part of the change.”

The two front-runners to fill the Cape Breton-Canso seat were Cuzner’s Liberal successor, Mike Kelloway, a special project administrator at the local Nova Scotia Community College campus and co-founder of the community development group Bay it Forward, and Alfie MacLeod, the longtime provincial MLA who often serves as auctioneer at community events.

Kelloway held a nearly 700-vote edge with 148 of 216 polls heard from. 

The Sydney-Victoria riding had flipped back and forth between Liberal Jaime Battiste and Conversation Eddie Orrell in the early counting. Battiste led Orrell, another former MLA, by 33 votes with 167 of 196 polls reported.

“I think that this election was closer perhaps than people thought it would be initially, and there’s no question that it did become very competitive and at times candidates were quite critical of each other,” said Margaret Brigley, a Halifax-based partner at Narrative Research Associates. “But certainly, it’s been one that has been a very competitive showing.”

With files from Ian Fairclough, Erin Pottie, Ellery Platts, Olivia Malley

LIVE ELECTION RESULTS


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