Dexter vs. Chisholm – a surprising look

I began this blog suggesting that voters are ready to turf Rodney MacDonald, and I’ve yet to hear anyone take strong issue with this observation. But if most people expect an NDP government, they’re still reluctant to predict that outcome. After all, this is Nova Scotia, and an NDP victory has never happened before.

It almost happened once, 11 years ago, when NDP leader Robert Chisholm (remember him?) nearly toppled Russell MacLellan, leading the N-Dips to 155,361 votes and 19 seats.  (The Liberals also got 19 seats, and 158,380 votes. As governing party, they were able to retain office.) In the last election, Darrell Dexter beat Chisholm’s seat tally by one, but he has never surpassed Chisholm’s ’98 vote total.

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A few factors contributed to Chisholm’s 1998 surge:  Voter unease with Alexa McDonough had suppressed the NDP vote in previous elections;  Once Chisholm succeeded McDonough, pent-up voter interest in the NDP bloomed. At the time, voters were increasingly unhappy with the Liberals under Russell MacLellan, yet still too sour on the Tories to give the rather stiff newcomer John Hamm a try. Continue reading Dexter vs. Chisholm – a surprising look

Paradise lost

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When I was a child my Grandpa would take me
Down to old Wentworth Park where we’d feed the birds
The majestic old poplars offered leaf-dappled sunshine
And a feeling so peaceful it silenced all words.

Oh Grandpa won’t you take me back to old Wentworth Park
We’ll tarry ‘neath the shade trees down by the duck pond.
I’m sorry my grandsons, you’re too late in asking
The city’s contractor has hacked them all down

(With apologies to John Prine)

[UPDATE: Most of the cutting is a fait accompli, but several large trees in the area of the planned tot lot are marked for apparent removal with spray-painted Xs. In a private email message, Councillor Ray Paruch, who has done a commendable job shepherding the park project, says he has spoken to the park contractor and asked them to  save as many of the remaining trees as possible.]

[UPDATE II:  Councillor Paruch reports that the contractor has altered plans for the tot lot so that no more trees will come down. A few will be pruned.]

Magical belief systems – radio wave division

Kings County council declined to endorse the location of an Eastlink high speed Internet tower at Victoria Harbour, part of the Nova Scotia Rural Broadband Initiative that will bring high speed Internet access to all Nova Scotians by year’s end. [Disclosure: I have done consulting work for Seaside Wireless, which is installing similar towers in northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.]

It seems a nearby organic garlic producer objected that radiation from the tower woud compromise the integrity of his produce. Eastlink offered to move the tower 620 feet further away. Not good enough.  Supporters and opponents of the proposed tower produced duelling petitions, with pro-tower signatures outnumbering anti- by nearly two to one.

Fortunately, council’s decision is not binding. Still, one wonders why politicians cower in the face of such looney-toonery.

Election website follies (cont.)

Halifax Netizen and autism activist Charlene Croft rates the Web 2.0 social marketing strategy of the four parties’ election websites, with the Liberals and Tories on top at 7/10, the NDP (6/10) and the Greens (5/10) lagging. Moneyquotes:

The Conservatives have a very slick website.  It is extremely aesthetic and “Nova Scotian”… which is easy to do when you have access to the designers which have gotten some very nice contracts from the Tories (NSLC, and the Nova Scotian Gaming Authority to name two)… Revolve Branding 360 are big playas round these parts… and the Tories have always understood the importance of branding.  […]

The third photo is a beauty… perhaps the most compelling of all three.  It is related to gambling, and risk… which the designer knows much about given they do design work for both ALC and the gaming corporation.  […] Continue reading Election website follies (cont.)

Why Rodney is in trouble

Common wisdom has it that voters don’t elect opposition parties; they defeat governments. My sense is that voters have had enough of Rodney MacDonald. They don’t hate him, but they haven’t warmed to him, and they’re ready to see him go.

In voters’ eyes, he suffers from comparison with Premier Hamm, his predecessor, perhaps the best premier of our generation. The fact that his government fell on a question of massive deficit financing adds to the problem. Reining in the provincial debt was one of Hamm’s signature achievements.

Rodney’s defeat is not a sure thing. It’s hard to identify the seats he will lose to ensure an NDP victory. Nevertheless, it seems the likeliest outcome at this point.