[See Update in second to last paragraph.] Just 64 days after taking her seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature, newly elected Liberal MLA Pam Eyking left Canada for a 28-day family trip to Australia and Taiwan. Eyking and her husband Mark, MP for Sydney-Victoria, left Canada on Boxing Day. Her office said she is expected back in Nova Scotia Thursday, the 23rd. Contrarian learned about the trip from a prominent Cape Breton Liberal who asked not to be identified, but said party members are annoyed at her taking a long foreign vacation so early in her term as MLA. Elected October...

Like me, Contrarian reader Stan Jones voted at one of the continuous advance polling stations his riding (though presumably he did so sans caméra).  These polls were among the innovations Elections Nova Scotia introduced to combat flagging turnout, by making it easier for people to vote. They proved popular, but as Jones points out, they had the unintended consequence of lessening the analytical usefulness of poll-by-poll returns: [I]t does seem to complicate poll-by-poll analysis, since it looks to me as if all those votes are reported with the Returning Office as the poll, rather than some district poll. For example, in Yarmouth, some...

Elections Nova Scotia quietly posted the poll-by-poll results of  the October 8 Nova Scotia election on its website last Thursday Preliminary poll-by-poll results are normally released immediately after the vote, but this year, for the first time in living memory, elections bureaucrats decided to keep the detailed results to themselves for three weeks. The only explanation offered was that the Chronicle-Herald wasn't interested in publishing them (as it had traditionally), so Chief Electoral Officer Richard P. Temporale decided no one else could have them either. Aside from this inexcusable delay, the agency did a good job of presenting the tallies, making them available in...

Because, for all our cynicism about politics, we want them to succeed. We wanted Darrell Dexter to succeed, and our unrealistic expectations for his government never recovered from its series of early missteps. Despite a majority of comparable magnitude, Stephen McNeil comes to office with far lower expectations than his predecessor. His deliberately bland campaign included a few platform whoppers he'll be foolhardy to implement (one big health board, deregulation of electricity markets, defunding energy Efficiency Nova Scotia), but for the most part, he is free from extravagant commitments. This lowers the risk of early disappointments, though not necessarily missteps. McNeil has another...

Our curmudgeonly friend sends along a Canadian Press dispatch about the process of assembling Stephen McNeil's new cabinet. However, experience is just one of several factors McNeil will be considering when handing out portfolios. The cabinet must also reflect a broad cross-section of the province’s geography and its ethnic, racial and linguistic mixture. Our friend comments: That's right. That's how we got Sterling Belliveau. What good would a cabinet be without a Sterling Belliveau in it? Imagine what McNeil's cabinet could look like if he had the cojones to ignore geography, gender, ethnicity, race, and language. What would happen if he just picked the...

In a break with decades of past practice, Nova Scotia elections officials say they will withhold detailed results of the October 7 8 election for almost a month. In previous provincial elections, newspapers published poll-by-poll results a day or two after the vote. At a time when the internet has encouraged governments of all shapes and sizes to be more forthcoming with useful data, Elections Nova Scotia is moving in the opposite direction. Dana Phillip Doiron, director of policy and communications, declined to explain the policy change except to say the Chronicle-Herald "had no interest" in publishing this election's poll-by-poll results, and...

The election took place a week ago, but Elections Nova Scotia has still not published the poll-by-poll results from each riding. This, despite a notice on the agency's website (see right) promising to post them by last Friday. In past elections, newspapers carried the poll-by-poll results two days after the vote, if not the very next day. These were understood to be unofficial results. Minor adjustments inevitably followed before the final, official results were published in a booklet. But the preliminary totals have always been public information. Elections Nova Scotia obviously has the numbers. Why is it withholding them? I suspect we will hear...

ESRI Canada, a Canadian supplier of geographic information system services, has produced an interactive map of the Nova Scotia Liberal election sweep. Slide the vertical bar back and forth to change from the 2009 election results to last Tuesday's. Unfortunately, I can't embed the tool, but clicking on the screenshot below will take you to it. With help from Dave MacLean of COGS, the image is now embedded. Find the source page here. " H/T: Dave MacLean. Credits: Elections Nova Scotia and ESRI....

Sharp-penciled Contrarian reader Gus Reed points out that the Dips could have been wiped off Nova Scotia's electoral map by as few as 1,049 votes, not 2,087 as I wrote Friday. For this to happen, all the defectors would have had to switch their votes to the second-place finisher in their respective ridings. 1,049 switchers would have done the trick under those highly theoretical circumstances. But then the whole exercise was theoretical. By the same token, Darrell Dexter would have needed only 11 Liberal voters switching to him to hold his seat. These scenarios raise another question, likewise theoretical. In the 2000 Florida...