Previously, Contrarian's curmudgeonly friend, who happens to be an aging white man, commented sardonically on all the factors besides talent that Stephen McNeil would have to weigh in selecting a cabinet. Contrarian, who is likewise aging and white [see illustration at right], allowed himself to fantasize about a cabinet chosen solely on the basis of ability. One Contrarian reader took this as a prescription for a cabinet of old white men, to which I replied, "Seriously? Aren’t we past the day when aging white men with old ideas are the only people thought to have talent?" Contrarian reader Jesse Gainer writes: I'm rather shocked you find...

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 drew my attention to a Canadian Press dispatch listing the factors Premier-to-be Stephen McNeil will have to consider when choosing his cabinet before he gets to competence or talent. This led me to a momentary reverie about the sort of government we might have if ability were the only factor in picking the government. Contrarian reader Tim Segulin writes: You never know, McNeil may just run the government out of his office the way Harper does and Dexter apparently did. That way important decisions don't really get made by ministers who are implied to not be up to the job,...

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...

How close did the NDP come to losing everything? Annihilation was just 2,087 votes away: Wilson +86 DPR +148 Corbett +158 Macdonald +276 Belliveau +363 Zann +483 Gosse +573 2,087   How close did they come to forming the Official Opposition with 15 seats? It was just 2,104 votes beyond their grasp: Dexter -21 Morton -32 Kent -143 Whynott -204 Jennex -371 Birdsall -387 Parker -438 Boudreau -508 -2,104   Elections NS reports a (preliminary) total of 414,880 valid votes cast in the election....

[Update and correction] I have taken down my post analyzing Frank Corbett's near defeat in Cape Breton Centre, because I had the turnout percentage in his riding wrong. Since this was the key data point on which my analysis hinged, it no longer holds up. I am on the road all day today, but I will have a second look at the numbers first chance I get. If anything useful turns up, I will put up an amended post. Apologies to Frank and to the electors of Cape Breton Centre for my error, and many thanks to Contrarian reader Rob Spencer...