On August 17, Nova Scotians will choose who will represent them in the House of Provinces.
The Liberals are hoping for a third straight majority. The Conservatives and the NDP are eyeing a return to power.
But the political landscape has changed since 2017, creating new challenges and opportunities for those competing to form Nova Scotia’s next government.
Here are three key differences that could impact the results of the 2021 general election.
new election map
In the 2017 general election, voters elected 51 legislators to sit in the Province House. They will choose 55 this time as a result of the redrawn electoral map.
In 2019, an independent commission recommended the restoration of four so-called protected seats – Argyll, Clare, Richmond and Preston.
The first three were to encourage the possibility of Acadian representation, while the Preston seat was reinstated to increase the likelihood that a person from historically black communities in the riding would represent the area.
Many Acadians have taken seats in the Province House but only five black legislators have been elected to Canada’s oldest legislature.
Velma Morgan, who chairs the non-profit group Operation Black Vote Canada, urged parties to run more black candidates in the ride they believe can win.
In Preston, which is designed to give a black candidate a better shot at winning, she would like to see only black candidates on the ballot.
“If you want diversity in this protected seat in Preston, we would expect them to run only black candidates in that seat,” Morgan said. “So no matter which party wins, a black person will be elected to that ride.”
Liberal cabinet minister Keith Colwell, who has represented 23 of the past 28 years, recently announced his retirement from politics.
The electoral map also needed to be redrawn due to population changes, resulting in two more urban ridings and two more rural seats in southwest Nova Scotia.
Overall this is a change that is in favor of the liberals, according to Eric Grenier a political analyst – formerly – but now with author and publisher written record, an online political publication.
“Overall, they are better for the Liberals, because with an additional four seats, the Liberals would have won three of them based on the 2017 results,” Grenier said.
“It’s not something that’s really surprising because the liberals had a majority government last time and they did well in areas that got new seats.”
But according to Grenier, the new battle lines are not good news for the party in power.
He transferred the votes of the previous election to the new map and came up with some interesting observations.
So, if people voted roughly in 2017, for example, the PCs are in a neck-and-neck race at the Waverly-Fall River-Beaver Bank.
“This was the ride that was won by the Liberals in 2017 by a little less than a point, but now with the new frontiers, the PCs are really on EK [a 0.2 per cent] advantage over the liberals,” Grenier said.
Grenier said Queens on the South Coast is now “much safer for PCs.”
One riding change that helps the NDP is at Dartmouth.
“In the Coal Harbor-Portland Valley, [Liberal] Tony Innes won that one by four points,” Grenier said. “The new ride, just Coal Harbor, where he’s going to run, the Liberals would have won by two points.
“It’s much more than a three-way race, where the NDP is closer to first than to finishing third last time.”
At least 13 legislators – 11 Liberals, 1 NDP, 1 Independent – have announced that they will sit in the 2021 election.
Independent Alana Poun has not said whether she will offer again and former PC legislator Elizabeth Smith-Macrosin is running as an independent.
This would, in theory, give more importance to all those seats than in the previous elections.
Grenier said the ruling has been a distinct advantage, especially in this part of the country.
“It certainly puts these seats to grab when there are incumbents who do not offer to be re-elected for re-election,” he said. “In the rest of the country, often the incumbents don’t have that much influence.
“But in places like Nova Scotia, if there’s no incumbent on the ballot, it really shakes up the ride and provides an opportunity for other parties to ride, which was actually very safe before.”
In In the 2017 general election, 38 incumbents won or won seats in the 2013 vote – 25 Liberals, 10 PCs, three NDPs.
Even when the NDP was voted out of power in 2013, 22 of the 51 MLAs of the Province House won their seats during that general election (10 Liberals, 6 NDP and 6 PC).
The fact that six high-profile and longtime liberals are leaving politics will give many voters in those riding something they haven’t had in at least a decade, a chance to vote for someone new, even if They choose to vote for the Liberals again.
The names of Leo Glavin and former Prime Minister Stephen McNeill are not on the ballot, giving residents of Annapolis and Kings West the opportunity for the first time in 18 years. Colwell’s last-minute decision means his name will not be on the ballot for the first time in nearly three decades.
Although all three parties with seats in the House are led by people with political experience, two out of three are leading the race as rookies.
This will be the second campaign for Gary Burrill of the NDP. But Ian Rankin of the Liberals and Tim Houston of the PC launched their first campaigns as party leaders.
Grenier said this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.
This is a plus if the previous leader was unpopular and people were more open to a new face, but running first allows an experienced leader to avoid rookie mistakes.
“If this is your first campaign against other party leaders who have more experience, that lack of experience can sometimes show up during the campaign,” Grenier said.
In 1998, a budding Premier Russell McClellan led the Liberals from a majority to a minority, and provided the campaign’s toughest moment – seven seconds of silence.
When asked by PC leader Jon Hamm during a debate on whether he would resign if he could not present a balanced budget, McLellan went straight ahead and remained silent, refusing to answer.
Haim broke the rules of that debate by challenging the Liberal leader face-to-face, but voters didn’t remember it. McClellan’s silence and stone-faced stare was a turning point in the campaign.
PC leader and premiere Rodney Macdonald had his weirdest TV moment in 2006.
The rookie leader climbed onto the trampoline being used by a cabinet colleague’s granddaughter. The resulting photo-op showed MacDonald jumping happily while the young man jumped off the trampoline in fear.
Macdonald remained in power, but the position of his minority government was made even more precarious as the PC lost seats in that election.
It wasn’t McLellan’s turning point eight years ago, but it was just as serious.
All election campaigns are different and they never go according to plan, but these are some of the differences that can impact the results on Election Day.