Wednesday, July 28, 2021

July 28 2021

And they’re off

As the first shoe to fall in what we expect will be a summer of multiple elections, in Nova Scotia at least, the provincial campaign is up and running.

In addition to the Liberals offering a new leader and premier for the voters to consider, we have also seen changes locally to the ridings in our coverage area. The former riding of Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie has been replaced by Guysborough-Tracadie. The net result is that the Halifax County portion of the former riding is now part of the expanded riding of Eastern Shore.

Guysborough-Tracadie will include all of Guysborough County, as well as eastern Antigonish County – from East Tracadie to Auld’s Cove. Whereas Eastern Shore will remain within Halifax Regional Municipality but be expanded from Lawrencetown in the west, and then eastward to the Halifax-Guysborough County line.

The major parties have lined up their local candidates. In Guysborough-Tracadie, incumbent MLA Lloyd Hines will defend his seat for the Liberals against Greg Morrow of the PC Party and Matt Stickland for the NDP.

In Eastern Shore, another Liberal incumbent, Kevin Murphy, will go up against Kent Smith of the PC Party and Dierdre Dwyer for the NDP.

Since both ridings will include a different voting pool, it will be interesting to see how the final results turn out. If the 2017 election result is any indication, it would appear that, given his 500-vote margin, Murphy has a bit more wiggle room to defend his seat in the newly configured Eastern Shore riding than Hines does in Guysborough-Tracadie.

Many of our readers will remember the nail-biter in 2017 between Mr. Hines and PC candidate Rob Wolf in Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie. It was late night before Hines emerged victorious by 71 votes (2565 to 2494). If we subtract the Halifax County votes from that tally, Hines’s margin of victory would have been relatively unchanged at 67 votes. Which is all to say that there is no reason to believe that the 2021 election in Guysborough-Tracadie won’t be every bit as exciting as 2017 was in Guysborough-Sheet Harbour-Tracadie.

While the local campaigns will be ones to watch, many provincial elections are referendums in some way shape or form on the parties and leaders. As the new premier and leader, the task for Iain Rankin will be to show that while asking for voters’ support after multiple terms in office, he represents stability in government as we emerge from the pandemic. This while offering his vision for the province that he can contrast with former premier Stephen McNeil. Rankin’s focus and aggressive targets on the environment is an example of that.

For Tim Houston and the Tories, we expect they will be making the case for change. Early days, the PCs have been going hard on the challenges in the healthcare system, especially in rural Nova Scotia and have offered some interesting policy ideas.

The NDP under Gary Burrill will also focus on healthcare and the environment as important issues, along with increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

We are sure that there will be lots for voters to chew on between now and election day on August 17.

We say good luck to all the candidates. We also say “stay safe” and extend our wishes of good health to the candidates, their volunteers and the many folks who will be working the polls and returning offices for Elections Nova Scotia.