Just what is going on in the Nova Scotia election anyway?

Sep 13th, 2013 | By | Category: In Brief

From the Halifax Chronicle Herald, September 11. The dialogue here is between Conservative leader Jamie Baillie (left in all four frames) and current NDP Premier Darrell Dexter (right in first two frames).

In theory the Nova Scotia provincial election this coming Tuesday, October 8 will be a test of the province’s first New Democrat government under Darrell Dexter.

Dexter’s governing New Democrats were elected on June 9, 2009. By all traditional measures this was a massive breakthrough — the first ever NDP provincial government in Atlantic Canada, a region that had previously seemed immune to the Canadian “social democratic” disease (or something at least closer to nirvana, depending on your own exact views).

NDP leader, Premier Darrell Dexter.

From the time of their election to the fall of 2012 the Dexter New Democrats generally led in most Nova Scotia opinion polls. Since the fall of 2012 they have fallen from grace in this quarter.

You might say that this just shows the Dexter NDP has finally proved too radical for the more congenitally conservative traditional Nova Scotia majority. Yet the lead in Nova Scotia opinion polls since the fall of 2012 has not gone to the provincial Conservatives under Jamie Baillie, but to the Liberals under Stephen McNeil.

On one view of things the McNeil Liberals are likely enough to win at least a minority government on October 8. But, given the anomalies and sometimes strange political arithmetic of the current first-past-the-post electoral system, which still prevails in Nova Scotia as in the rest of the country, there also seems a chance the Dexter New Democrats will hang onto at least a minority government in the 52-seat provincial legislature.

Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie.

Moreover, if the New Democrats are in fact doomed it is arguable enough that this will be because (in an effort to appeal to traditional values in Atlantic Canada’s most populous province?), the Dexter New Democrats have proved much more traditionally conservative than new and radical. This is in fact the theme of a nice editorial cartoon in the Halifax Chronicle Herald for the fateful day of September 11, in 2013. And our compliments (and gratitude) to our Atlantic Canada correspondent in Kentville, NS for bringing this cartoon to our attention. Even in Canada the world nowadays (it sometimes seems all too clear) is a very complicated place! (“Let us go then, you and I,/ When the evening is spread out against the sky … Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’/Let us go and make our visit.”)

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