Nova Scotia’s electorate spoke clearly: they wanted a clean slate. And so the province has a strong Liberal majority.
First of all, congratulations to the Liberals, to premier-designate Stephen McNeil and team for a successful campaign.
Also a welcome to winners of local ridings: Pat Dunn, Pictou Centre; Tim Houston, Pictou East; and Karla MacFarlane, Pictou West. They were up against formidable opponents. The incumbent NDP MLAs were well respected for work in their constituencies and went down mainly with the weight of the party loss.
It’s interesting to note that Pictou County voters – as the electorate decisively routed the NDP – didn’t go with the Liberal flow and, instead, returned to the political hue of their forefathers. But the three Conservatives elected locally have indicated that as a team they can provide a unified voice for the county.
As the Liberal government gets down to business, voters will as always be eager to track their progress versus their promises. Chief among them is greater investment in education; also the vow to end the monopoly wielded by Nova Scotia Power.
They will certainly have broad encouragement and support for both initiatives. It remains to be seen, however, just how much can be accomplished with, for example, education since revenues are severely limited – as the NDP tried to communicate. But we’ll hope a fresh set of eyes on the subject will yield improvements since education is a top priority.
This new government faces a strikingly similar threat as the NDP did upon coming to power. In 2009, the economy began to tank, largely driven by the bursting of the real estate bubble in the U.S. Now, in 2013, we risk fresh economic turmoil in the shutdown of U.S. government services and political standoff over its debt ceiling.
If recessionary trends return, the Liberals will meet a tough challenge. It’s a lesson to politicians and voters that there are no quick fixes, governing is a long-term job.