Conservatives wave majority victory in Nova Scotia election with health campaign – .

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Conservatives rush to surprise Nova Scotia election victory with health care campaign – .


HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives won an election victory over the ruling Liberals on Tuesday after capitalizing on their main opponent’s early stumbles and promising a big-spending solution to the struggling health care system.

During the campaign, Conservative Leader Tim Houston unveiled a left-wing platform that pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in the party’s first year in office to increase the number of family doctors, strengthen the system of mental health and create more beds in nursing homes.

The message caught on with voters. With five constituencies to call late Tuesday night, the Progressive Conservatives were elected or lead in 31 constituencies, with 28 seats needed for a majority in the newly enlarged 55-seat legislature. When it was dissolved, the party had 17 seats.

A beaming Houston, who won the leadership three years ago, walked into his party headquarters at a sports facility near New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, punching his fists with his supporters on the tune of “Centerfield.” By John Fogerty.

In his victory speech, Houston said the public responded to the solutions he proposed and decided not to simply reward the Liberals for competently handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Regardless of what the polls may say, what we do know is that if you come up with real solutions to real problems, voters will pay attention,” the 51-year-old accountant told the crowd.

“Not just here in Nova Scotia, but across Canada, we’ve proven that just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean the government gets a free pass. “

As the victory celebrations unfolded, party pillars have spoken of a huge turnaround since the start of the race.

“We’re thrilled,” Tara Miller said with a laugh. Miller, co-chair of the Conservative campaign, said the party managed to climb far in the polls earlier this summer.

Houston’s party has also become the first to overthrow a government in Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other elections that took place during the health crisis – in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, British Columbia, the Yukon and Saskatchewan – all saw incumbent leaders stay in power.

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin told his supporters in Halifax he had no plans to step down immediately, despite the resounding defeat. Late Tuesday night, results showed his party was leading or elected in 17 constituencies, up from 24.

“I will continue to lead this party,” he said in his concession speech. “I will continue to do all I can to fight for every Nova Scotian to make sure we have a voice,” said the 38-year-old, who had been Canada’s youngest prime minister.

Voters toppled a number of longtime Liberal ministers in party strongholds, including health and transport ministers, and they brought the Tories back to power for the first time since 2009.

The NDP, led by United Church Minister Gary Burrill, had five seats at the time of the disbandment, and four hours after the polls closed, party members were elected or leading in six ridings.

Burrill campaigned on a traditionally progressive platform that called for a minimum wage of $ 15, 10 paid sick days for all workers, and rent controls.

“We in our party have placed these questions of the real life of people at the center of our campaign discourse,” the 66-year-old leader told his supporters on Tuesday evening.

Before the start of the 32-day race, the ruling Liberals led the polls, winning praise for handling the pandemic. But the party stumbled just before the start of the election campaign.

Rankin revealed in July that he was convicted of impaired driving as a young man in 2003 and 2005. He provided few details about the second conviction, which was dismissed by the court. The lack of disclosure surrounding the second case sparked a series of unflattering media reports.

And in the first week of the campaign, the Liberals faced more negative headlines after a Liberal candidate allegedly pressured her to drop out of the race because she had previously sold revealing photos of the race. ‘her on the OnlyFans website. Robyn Ingraham said the party told her to cite her mental health issues as the reason for leaving on the first day of the campaign, which she did in writing before going public with her side of events.

As the campaign neared mid-term, Rankin was kept on the defensive during a leadership debate in which Houston and Burrill shot the Prime Minister over his health care record. In particular, Houston criticized the Premier for failing to address a chronic physician shortage that has left more than 70,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor.

Houston said a Conservative government would spend $ 553 million in its first year in office to keep its election promises, mainly to improve health care.

Rankin, who was elected leader of the Liberal Party in February, argued his party’s planned investments in health care were reasonable. “What we don’t need is a competition to see who can invest the most money in a problem,” the former business leader said during the debate.

Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin was the only elected independent. The former Tory was kicked out of caucus for her role in a COVID-19 protest that closed the Trans-Canada Highway in June of this year, but she nevertheless managed to defeat former Liberal MP Bill Casey, who came out of his retirement to try to challenge for the siege.

The election marked the return of the protected Acadian ridings of Richmond, Argyle and Clare as well as the predominantly African Nova Scotian riding of Preston, bringing the total number of seats to 55.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 17, 2021.

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