Nova Scotia is a province where the Liberals had a markedly good result, going back to their 1993 high . Our overall take for the province is that it could be a challenge for them to repeat that. We are not yet finished on our race reviews, but check out those below:
MP at Dissolution: Andy Fillmore, Liberal
Our Rating: Solidly Liberal
Our Take: The city of Halifax finds itself split across two ridings, with the historic centre and port in this riding. Although NDP heavyweights Alexa McDonough and Megan Leslie both represented this part of the city, Halifax City Planner Andy Fillmore gained the seat from Leslie last time, winning by 15%, and performing well all across the riding. He is running for re-election. The NDP have selected poverty expert Dr. Christine Saulnier as their candidate – a good candidate, but not with the profile Leslie had last time or Fillmore has at present. The Green candidate is Jo-Ann Davis, who was the party’s second placed candidate in Victoria last time, although the Greens admit this is not a top target for them relative to several other Atlantic ridings.
Despite the NDP’s hopes, we have seen no signs they will materialise. Polling showing them fourth in what 20 years ago was their ‘Maritime Breakthrough’ means that winning these seats they used to hold is increasingly a dream, not a reality. Fillmore has been a talented member of the Liberal caucus and without doubt is the favourite here, but because we see his chances of winning as being near-certain, not simply being the favourite, we have opted for a rating of Solidly Liberal. The main reason is that we have not seen any signs of an NDP resurgence in Nova Scotia – the opposite in fact. This gives us confidence that Fillmore should win re-election comfortably.
MP at Dissolution: Colin Fraser, Liberal (not running for re-election)
Our Rating: Tossup
Our Take: West Nova, as the name suggests, covers the western part of the province, on the south of the Bay of Fundy. The riding stretches from Kings County, through Stephen McNeil’s Annapolis base, and down to Yarmouth and Argyle; the riding could be described as consisting predominantly of towns in the countryside. Colin Fraser gained the open seat with a large swing to the Liberals last time, but has chosen to stand down. He has been replaced as the Liberal candidate by Jason Deveau, while the Conservatives have nominated the star candidate of Chris d’Entremont, a former provincial Minister of Finance, who resigned his Argyle-Barrington seat following his nomination.
We have chosen to rate this as a Tossup. In a Liberal-aligned part of Nova Scotia, the incumbent Liberals cannot be ruled out. Nova Scotia is a province that we, based on polling, and on the ground expectations, expect to swing to the Conservatives. The candidacy of Chris d’Entremont is the best the Conservatives could hope for, and is certain to make this race competitive; in comparison Jason Deveau has a far lower profile and is essentially a generic Liberal, although the disparity between the two is smaller in the more strongly Liberal parts of the riding, such as those around Annapolis (d’Entremont represented the most southerly part of the riding). We however believe it is too early to give the Conservatives the edge, due to the lack of a clear leader in the national race and in Nova Scotia itself – which means this should be competitive.