Politics

Nova Scotia federal election nominations, so far

Three Liberal seats vacant

The 2019 federal election is still 10 months away, but some parties are already thinking ahead.

Campaign tactics have changed over the past decade, in that parties are moving toward a “permanent campaign” era where they’re always in campaign mode, said James Bickerton, a political science professor at St. Francis Xavier University.

Nova Scotia was bathed in a sea of red during the 2015 elections, with the Liberals winning all 11 ridings.

Three Liberal members of Parliament have announced they won’t be running again: Scott Brison of King’s–Hants, Bill Casey of Cumberland–Colchester and Colin Fraser of West Nova. Four Liberal incumbents have already announced their intention to run: Sean Fraser for Central Nova, Darren Fisher in Dartmouth–Cole Harbour, Darrell Samson in Sackville–Preston–Chezzetcook and Bernadette Jordan for South Shore–St. Margaret’s.

On Jan. 15, Jordan joined the federal cabinet as the newly created Minister of Rural and Economic Development. She’s the ninth woman to be elected as an MP in Nova Scotia, and the first to sit at the cabinet table in Ottawa.

Bickerton isn’t surprised the Liberals are getting nominations out of the way.

“When you have a sitting member, usually the nomination process is pretty straightforward. There’s usually no challenger,” he said. “As well, when you have a sitting member of Parliament you have a more active local association; the Liberals are very strong in this region.”

Conservative Party of Canada

Most Conservative ridings haven’t begun their nomination process.

However, they’ve named three nominees so far: Martha MacQuarrie for King’s–Hants nominee, one of the three ridings without an incumbent, Jason Cole for Dartmouth–Cole Harbour and Scott Armstrong for Cumberland–Colchester. Armstrong was first elected through a byelection in 2009 before being defeated by current Liberal MP Bill Casey in 2015.

Green Party

The Green Party’s only nominee listed for now, former CBC reporter Jo-Ann Roberts, will be running in the Halifax riding. The remaining Green riding associations are undergoing their internal nomination processes.

Bickerton said a delayed campaign preparation is “kind of an indicator, sometimes of the weakness of the organization, in this region. But, if it takes a little longer for smaller parties or weaker parties, that’s understandable.”

Does it really matter? He said it’s hard to tell because it’s still early in the election cycle.

“People don’t generally pay much attention to politics until election campaigns are underway,” Bickerton said. “So, it’s not that debilitating to be slower out of the gate. It’s more important to get it right in terms of trying to make sure you have a good local candidate and to get your organization primed to support that candidate.”

New Democratic Party

The Signal asked NDP deputy director of communications Melanie Richer last week for information about nominations, but has not received that information.