GUYSBOROUGH – After a hard-fought battle, long election night and narrow loss, Rob Wolf had no plans to apply for a recount of last Tuesday’s vote in Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie. But this past weekend supporters asked him ‘why not?’ and the Progressive Conservative candidate, who came up 71 votes short against Liberal incumbent Lloyd Hines, has decided to do his “due diligence” and applied for the recount by the 5 p.m., June 5 deadline.
“We’re just making sure we’re dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s,” Wolf told The Journal Monday, adding that he is not expecting a change in the result. Wolf noted that there were many rejected ballots in the riding, as was also the case in 2013.
Looking back on the campaign, Wolf said going into the final weekend he knew the result would be very tight. “I had a feeling it was going to be closer than a lot of people would have expected,” he said. “Honestly I thought it could go either way.”
Although very disappointed with the result, Wolf said he respects the voters’ decision and is grateful for the work of his campaign team.
“I was working hard to get to as many places as I could,” he said. “I heard from many people that there was an appetite for change.”
Provincially, Wolf said he thinks Nova Scotians sent a message that they weren’t happy with “how things were being handled.” He said particularly when it came to health care, education and roads, many people were looking for change.
Hines is pleased to have been given a second term.
“I’m very grateful that voters have sent me back,” Hines told The Journal during an interview Sunday. Running on a theme of “experience gets results”, this was Hines’ 13th election, following a long career in municipal politics before winning the provincial vote in 2013.
“I’ve been through the process many, many times,” he said, calling this one “lucky 13.”
Hines said starting with the results of the first poll, he knew it would be a long evening last Tuesday. “I’m just glad we came out on top.”
Much has been said about the low voter turnout in the 2017 election, at a rate of 53.88 per cent provincially and 59.05 per cent locally. The turnout in Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie was near the top in 2013, at 72 per cent. Hines said he is concerned over a reduction in the number of polls and voting locations since 2007. He said some people in this riding had to drive 30 km to vote.
Another factor this time around was the Liberal government’s tough stand on public sector salaries. “Our position with regards to public sector wage increases was responded to with fury by the people who were affected,” he said. Hines said difficult decisions had to be made in order for the government to bring in two balanced budgets, and be forecasting four more.
“The only way we can balance the budget is through cost management. Sixty per cent of our total budget is in public sector wages.”
He said it was “quite an accomplishment” for the Stephen MacNeil Liberals to be the first government in 30 years to win back-to-back majorities in Nova Scotia.
Hines said he is excited for what is on the horizon in Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie, pointing to a new school planned for Sheet Harbour and the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex now under construction in Guysborough. He says he’s also excited about the prospects for economic development projects, noting that final construction decisions will be made for a number of major projects in the next four years. “And I’m on the side of making them happen.”