By Scott Costen
With a new year set to begin next week, the Queens Observer humbly submits a few political predictions for 2019.
Bernadette Jordan will easily win re-election as our Member of Parliament. The newly renamed riding of South Nova will stay Liberal red despite its strong Tory track record. Jordan romped to victory in 2015, garnering nearly 57 per cent of the vote. She was buoyed by the second coming of Trudeaumania and the Tories’ decision to go with an unproven and largely unknown local candidate.
The Trudeau “bump” will be less pronounced this election and the Tories will put up a more credible standard-bearer. But the vote-splitting that previously enabled Conservative dominance in South Shore-St. Margaret’s has disappeared. NDP support cratered in 2015, dropping to 16.83 per cent of the vote from 36.08 per cent in 2011. The party’s fortunes aren’t likely to improve under Jagmeet Singh — or a last-minute leadership replacement — so the path is clear for Jordan’s re-election.
Kim Masland will continue to enjoy great popularity as MLA for Queens-Shelburne. Her grip on elected office could become even tighter based on the interim recommendations of the Nova Scotia Electoral Boundaries Commission. While Masland polled well in Shelburne County in the 2017 provincial election, her power base and home are in Queens. If government agrees to restore a solely (or even largely) Queens electoral district, Masland will be completely unbeatable in 2021. Safe in that knowledge, perhaps she can spend less time on selfies and certificates and more time on the core work of a provincial legislator.
Region of Queens Municipality council is not exactly full of happy campers. That will continue into the New Year as members ponder the 2020 municipal election and chafe under the plodding and uninspiring leadership of Mayor David Dagley. Several councillors seem to have a sense of urgency not shared by the top elected official or by the top bureaucrat, Chris McNeill. We are, after all, in the midst of a severe population crisis. Queens lost 5.6 per cent of its population between 2011 and 2016 and the situation is not getting any better. Council’s inaction on this file is appalling and will likely be Dagley’s Achilles heel should he seek re-election.