Elec­tion mus­ings

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

Elec­tion Day is al­most here and for the po­lit­i­cally in­clined Tues­day evening is sure to be filled with joy or angst, de­pend­ing on the out­comes.

Will the Lib­er­als main­tain their ma­jor­ity, al­beit a slightly re­duced one? Or, un­done by a grow­ing cho­rus of dis­con­tent re­gard­ing health care, will they lose more than eight seats and see their ma­jor­ity be­come a mi­nor­ity?

Will the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives some­how in­crease their seat count by 16 and form the next gov­ern­ment? Af­ter all, at least one poll sug­gests they have some mo­men­tum on their side head­ing into the last three days of the cam­paign. Or, like 2013, will they sim­ply con­tinue the climb back to re­spectabil­ity by pick­ing up an­other hand­ful of seats?

And what of the NDP? Af­ter their not-so-mem­o­rable term run­ning the prov­ince from 2009 to 2013, are they des­tined to spend an­other four years in po­lit­i­cal pur­ga­tory? It cer­tainly ap­pears that way.

In Cape Bre­ton, there are eight seats up for grabs, five of which were held by the Lib­er­als when the elec­tion was called last month and three by the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives.

And it is on this Is­land where the PCs will be hop­ing to pick up at least one of the seats they need to form a new gov­ern­ment or at least erase the Lib­eral ma­jor­ity.

Cer­tainly, their in­cum­bents seem poised for an­other term with Al­fie MacLeod win­ning the newly cre­ated Syd­ney River-Mira-Louis­bourg con­stituency in 2013 and pre­vi­ously cap­tur­ing Cape Bre­ton West in 1995, 2006 and 2009. Tough to beat? Def­i­nitely. Tory roots also run deep in In­ver­ness where Al­lan Mac­Mas­ter took over the reigns from for­mer premier Rod­ney Mac­Don­ald in 2009 and was re­elected in 2013. And Eddie Or­rell seems a lock in North side West mount, hav­ing won the rid­ing in 2013 af­ter be­ing elected in Cape Bre­ton North in 2011. This fol­lowed the res­ig­na­tion of an­other Tory, Ce­cil Clarke, who had held the rid­ing for 10 years.

So where might any Tory break­throughs pos­si­bly oc­cur?

Well, cer­tainly not in Glace Bay where Lib­eral cabi­net min­is­ter Ge­off MacLel­lan holds one of the safest seats in the prov­ince. And surely not in Cape Bre­tonRich­mond where Michel Sam­son, an­other cabi­net min­is­ter, has won six con­sec­u­tive elec­tions dat­ing back to 1998.

Cape Bre­ton Cen­tre and Syd­ney-Whit­ney Pier are in­ter­est­ing, given that both rid­ings switched to the Lib­er­als in the 2015 by­elec­tions af­ter sup­port­ing NDP can­di­dates for many years. Were newly elected Dave Wil­ton and Derek Mom­bour­quette sim­ply the re­cip­i­ents of the red wave which swept the prov­ince in 2013 or have they done enough to en­dear them­selves to the elec­torate de­spite the dif­fi­cul­ties which come with hav­ing to ac­tu­ally de­fend the gov­ern­ment’s track record?

This brings us to Vic­to­ria-The Lakes, which could be THE Cape Bre­ton rid­ing to watch on elec­tion night. Cer­tainly it is one the PCs want badly and with for­mer MLA Keith Bain on the ticket they have them­selves a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent to Lib­eral in­cum­bent Pam Eyk­ing. Bain won the rid­ing in 2006 and 2009 and Eyk­ing’s mar­gin of vic­tory in 2013 was only 303 votes, a nar­row mar­gin con­sid­er­ing the Lib­eral dom­i­nance in that elec­tion.

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