2013 Nova Scotia general election
The 2013 Nova Scotia general election (formally the 39th Nova Scotia general election), was held on October 8, 2013, to elect members to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.
The NDP, which had won power for the first time in 2009 under the leadership of Darrell Dexter was reduced to third place and became only the second one-term government in the province's history, and the first since 1882.
- June 24, 2009 – The New Democratic Party under Darrell Dexter win 31 out of 52 seats. The Progressive Conservatives are reduced to 10 seats and Rodney MacDonald announces that he will step down as leader. Karen Casey is named as interim leader.
- September 4, 2009 – Antigonish MLA Angus MacIsaac resigns his seat, citing family reasons.
- September 10, 2009 – Former Premier Rodney MacDonald resigns his Inverness seat in the legislature.
- October 20, 2009 – By-elections are held in Inverness and Antigonish. PC candidate Allan MacMaster and NDP candidate Maurice Smith are elected, respectively.
- February 9, 2010 – Richard Hurlburt resigns from the legislature following revelations that he had spent his constituency allowance on a generator and a 40" television, which together cost over $11,000.
- March 11, 2010 – Dave Wilson resigns from the legislature and is later charged and pleaded guilty.
- March 25, 2010 – Trevor Zinck is suspended from the NDP caucus over problems with his constituency expenses.
- June 22, 2010 – Two byelections are held to replace Hurlburt and Wilson in Yarmouth and Glace Bay, respectively. Zach Churchill is elected in Yarmouth and Geoff MacLellan is elected in Glace Bay.
- August 16, 2010 – Karen Casey announces her resignation as interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives.
- August 18, 2010 – Jamie Baillie is chosen as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.
- October 26, 2010 – Jamie Baillie wins a byelection and represents the constituency of Cumberland South.
- January 10, 2011 – PC MLA Karen Casey crosses the floor to join the Liberal caucus.
- February 14, 2011 – Trevor Zinck is announced as one of four people facing criminal charges in connection with the RCMP investigation into 2010s MLA expense scandal. Zinck is charged with fraud exceeding $5,000, breach of trust by a public officer, and 2 counts of theft over $5,000.
- March 25, 2011 – Cape Breton North PC MLA Cecil Clarke resigns his seat to run in the 2011 federal election.
- June 21, 2011 – PC candidate Eddie Orrell wins the by-election in Cape Breton North.
- April 19, 2012 – Former MLA Dave Wilson is sentenced to 9 months in jail and to a period of 18 months probation for his role in the expenses scandal.
- June 5, 2012 – The Atlantica Party is deregistered by Elections Nova Scotia.
- July 27, 2012 – Former MLA Richard Hurlburt is sentenced to 12 months of house arrest, followed by 12 months of probation for his role in the expenses scandal.
- September 25, 2012 – The Nova Scotia Electoral Boundaries Commission released their final report on riding redistribution, which recommends dropping one seat in the legislature.
- December 6, 2012 – The law to implement new electoral boundaries in the province was passed in the legislature.
- May 29, 2013 – Manning MacDonald resigns his seat in the legislature as MLA for Cape Breton South.
- June 19, 2013 – Trevor Zinck resigns his seat in the legislature after he pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust.
- September 7, 2013 – Premier Darrell Dexter calls a general election for October 8, 2013.
The election campaign began the week after Labour Day, when the Legislature would normally have been expected to return to work, had there been no election campaign.
As criticism or defence of government policy would dominate the agenda, and by convention electoral mandates are understood to last about four years, despite a lack of fixed election dates, the timing was not controversial.
Liberals emphasized Nova Scotia Power's (NSPI) dominance of power generation, and its ability to exclude alternatives through its near-monopoly ownership of the distribution network, covering 129/130 Nova Scotians.
They also promised to remove a conservation charge, named for demand response programs that never materialized (though many passive conservation programs run by Efficiency Nova Scotia did prove effective) – instead proposing that NSPI pay for it from its return.
Liberals and Conservatives criticized NSPI's unaccountable 9.2% guaranteed rate of return even for unwise investments.
Conservatives acknowledged that it was under pressure to meet a tough renewable standard (which they would relax) but also promised to freeze rates.
The NDP government continued to defend Muskrat Falls as the only viable alternative to replace coal-fired power, even though this project was before the Nova Scotia Utilities Review Board as of the election call, remained unchanged and this was reflected in their campaign materials – they criticized the Liberal plan as likely to lead to higher power rates.
The basis for these criticisms was unclear.
However, a similar attempt to open generation competition in New Brunswick failed, in part because New Brunswick Power retained monopoly control of the distribution and transmission network, which intimidates competitors and makes it easy in practice to exclude them.
Other issues in the campaign:
- A proposed passenger ferry from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine, re-instituting summer service that ran for decades until the 1990s, replacing a car-focused service that ran to Bar Harbor, Maine until the NDP government cancelled it. This was of particular interest to South Shore candidates, especially Yarmouth. Associated issues include the collapse of all public transit on the South Shore (with the withdrawal of TryTown from operating public buses from Yarmouth to Halifax) and a general lack of transport strategy, that could leave some of the 130,000 passengers per year stranded. It remained unclear as of election time whether an announced deal to resume service May 1, 2014, had held, and what other transport policy applied Darrell Dexter had referred to stories from Yarmouth about the impact of the loss of ferries a "mythology" which effectively made this a campaign issue before the campaign had begun.
Results by party
Results by region
|Party name||HRM||C.B.||Valley||S. Shore||Fundy||Central||Total|
|Parties winning seats in the legislature|
|New Democratic Party||Seats:||2||2||-||2||1||-||7|
|Parties not winning seats in the legislature|
- Vicki Conrad, Queens
- Howard Epstein, Halifax Chebucto
- Bill Estabrooks, Timberlea-Prospect
- Marilyn More, Dartmouth South-Portland Valley
- Michele Raymond, Halifax Atlantic
- Graham Steele, Halifax Fairview
Dartmouth/Cole Harbour/Eastern Shore
|Polling Firm||Last Day of Polling||Link||NDP||Liberal||PC||Green|
|Election 2013||October 8, 2013||26.84||45.71||26.31||0.85|
|Forum Research||October 7, 2013||26||48||23||3|
|Forum Research||October 6, 2013||28||47||23||2|
|Abacus Data||October 6, 2013||26||46||27||1|
|Forum Research||October 5, 2013||28||47||23||2|
|Abacus Data||October 5, 2013||27||48||24||1|
|Forum Research||October 4, 2013||28||46||24||2|
|Abacus Data||October 3, 2013||28||46||25||1|
|Corporate Research Associates||October 3, 2013||31||47||20||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||October 3, 2013||29||52||17||2|
|Abacus Data||October 2, 2013||28||50||22||1|
|Corporate Research Associates||October 2, 2013||27||54||17||2|
|Abacus Data||October 1, 2013||26||51||23||1|
|Corporate Research Associates||October 1, 2013||28||55||16||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 30, 2013||27||56||15||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 29, 2013||24||57||17||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 28, 2013||26||56||17||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 27, 2013||26||55||16||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 26, 2013||27||56||16||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 25, 2013||29||53||17||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 24, 2013||27||51||20||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 23, 2013||29||49||20||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 22, 2013||29||49||21||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 21, 2013||29||48||21||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 20, 2013||29||47||21||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 19, 2013||28||47||23||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 18, 2013||28||48||23||2|
|Corporate Research Associates||August 31, 2013||31||41||25||3|
|Corporate Research Associates||May 30, 2013||26||45||26||3|
|Corporate Research Associates||March 3, 2013||32||39||24||5|
|Corporate Research Associates||November 30, 2012||29||41||27||3|
|Corporate Research Associates||September 2, 2012||31||41||22||5|
|Corporate Research Associates||June 4, 2012||35||33||28||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||February 26, 2012||44||27||25||3|
|Corporate Research Associates||November 29, 2011||45||22||29||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||August 31, 2011||41||26||30||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||May 30, 2011||42||22||31||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||March 3, 2011||34||35||26||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||November 23, 2010||38||31||26||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||August 31, 2010||37||35||21||7|
|Corporate Research Associates||May 31, 2010||37||35||24||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||February 24, 2010||46||26||22||5|
|Corporate Research Associates||December 1, 2009||53||22||21||4|
|Corporate Research Associates||August 29, 2009||60||18||16||6|
|Election 2009||June 9, 2009||45.24||27.20||24.54||2.34|
On election night, the Liberal Party formed a majority government by a comfortable margin.
This was the first time the Liberals had formed government in Nova Scotia since 1999, and their first majority government victory since the 1993 election.
From mid 2012, the Liberals had led every public poll and entered the campaign with a 20-point lead over the New Democratic Party (NDP).
While the Liberals had been relatively successful in the Annapolis Valley and on Cape Breton Island during the 2009 election, they were completely shut out of the South Shore, Fundy, and Central Nova Scotia.
More importantly, the NDP had dominated the Halifax metropolitan area, winning 14 out of 20 seats.
In 2009, the NDP had been able to count on a large number of ridings in and around Halifax, while achieving historic gains across the province, including in traditionally Progressive Conservative (PC) and Liberal areas of rural Nova Scotia.
In 2009, the PCs fell from first place to third place in the Legislature, and were completely shut out of the Halifax metropolitan area.
In the 2013 election, NDP support collapsed across the province, as it lost all of its seats in Central Nova Scotia, three of its seats in Fundy, and three of its seats on the South Shore.
However, the most important shift was in the Halifax metropolitan area, where NDP support dropped from 54.07% in 2009 to 31.29% in 2013.
The party wound up losing 13 of its seats, as the Liberals won 18 of 20 seats in and around Halifax.
Strong NDP areas in 2009, like Dartmouth, Central Halifax, and suburban areas north and east of the Harbour swung from the NDP to the Liberals.
Among the casualties was Dexter, who lost his own seat to Liberal challenger Tony Ince by 21 votes.
He was the first premier since Ernest Armstrong to be defeated in his own riding.
The NDP had very poor vote concentration in the 2013 election.
In Halifax, where it won 31.29% of the vote, it won only two seats.
While the party finished second in the popular vote ahead of the PCs, its support was spread out around the province and not concentrated in enough areas to translate into seats.
Combined with its collapse in Halifax, this left the NDP with only seven seats to the Tories' 11.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013 Nova Scotia general election.