stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
A changing of political guard in the Maritimes
space
Liberal and Conservative heavyweights who built strong personal bases in their ridings now mentor new generation hoping to succeed them
space
By GREG MERCER
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Monday, October 14, 2019 – Page A4

ENFIELD, N.S. -- When 28-year-old political newcomer Kody Blois won the federal Liberal nomination in Kings-Hants in May, he immediately sought the endorsement of former MP Scott Brison.

Mr. Brison, who was unbeatable in this sprawling rural riding outside Halifax for more than 20 years, until his retirement early this year, did more than give him just that. He has canvassed door to door with Mr. Blois, introduced him to the local Liberal base and taught him the art of campaigning in small Maritime towns where family and community connections matter a lot.

Mr. Blois knows well that without Mr. Brison's support, getting to Ottawa would be much more difficult.

"Scott Brison has been my MP since as long as I've been aware of federal politics. ... You can't go anywhere in this riding without running into people who know him. He has so much brand recognition," Mr. Blois said after an all-candidates debate at a local fire hall.

In rural Nova Scotia, loyalty to individual politicians runs deep.

That's true from Kings-Hants to Central Nova, where former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay has been helping Conservative candidate George Canyon win over voters surprised at the country star's appointment by the party.

In this election, old-guard politicians across the province, from Bill Casey to Rodger Cuzner to Mark Eyking, are stepping aside to make way for new contenders.

They're quietly guiding the next generation of candidates, passing on decades of experience, while helping them prepare for local debates or introducing them to influential supporters in their ridings.

But they're also wary of inserting themselves too much in local campaigns.

New candidates need to learn things on their own and step out from the shadow of the MP they want to replace, Mr. Cuzner said.

In his riding of Cape Breton-Canso, he's helped where he can, but newcomer Mike Kelloway has also tried to do things his own way, bringing in a younger crop of volunteers to run his campaign.

"We've been around such a long time that a lot of the older volunteers have also said it's time to step back and let some younger people get involved and carry the torch," Mr. Cuzner said. "I'll do what I can to help Mike be successful, but he knows he's got to go out and make his own mark.

He has to find his own way."

Mr. MacKay has introduced Mr.Canyon to the local Conservatives base, offered tips on how to talk policy and has been a behind-the-scenes coach in a riding he served for almost two decades, guiding the rookie through a tight race with Liberal MP Sean Fraser. The riding has traditionally been Mr. MacKay's family fiefdom, with 40 years of representation between himself and his father, Elmer, a Mulroney-era cabinet minister.

Mr. MacKay - whose supporters are reportedly laying the groundwork for a possible Conservative leadership bid - lives in Toronto now, but said he was asked to run for the Tories again in Central Nova. With three kids under six, though, he said the timing wasn't right. Instead, he encouraged Mr. Canyon to run after the local nominee stepped down and the party went looking for a star candidate to drop in.

Not everyone here likes how that happened.

"People think it's a joke. He came second in a singing contest, moved to Nashville or wherever, changed his name and now he's back as a hero," said Candace MacDonald, the owner of a smoking supply store in New Glasgow.

"New Glasgow is a town where you have to stick it out. You can't just parachute in here and expect to win."

But those who dismiss Mr.Canyon as just a country singer who left for Alberta are underestimating his political abilities, Mr.MacKay argues.

"I think he's got a compelling story. He's got a lot more to offer beyond stage presence and a cowboy hat," he said. "I think he's going to surprise people."

The former cabinet minister has leaned on his network of conservatives inside and outside the riding to boost Mr. Canyon's chances. At the opening of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government last month at St. Francis Xavier University, Mr. MacKay spent the morning introducing the candidate to the crowd of invited guests, which included former Conservative staffers and politicians.

Jim Bickford, a professor of political science at the university, said Mr. Brison's and Mr. MacKay's strong personal followings are unusual in politics. While that influence can fade the longer someone is out of office, people in rural ridings tend to have long memories and remember how a former cabinet minister helped them or their community.

"I think George Canyon will benefit from all those years of building up loyal, Conservative voters," Prof. Bickford said. "Peter has such a strong reputation here, he's very highly regarded ... so if he's involved, that could rally people."

But not everyone is convinced the support of prominent Tories can help Mr. Canyon turn the riding blue again.

"In 2015, the Conservative establishment was also trying to help the local candidate and it didn't make a lick of difference," said Mr. Fraser, the Liberal MP who is seeking re-election.

"People can see through the commentary that this has always been a Conservative riding. I think people here are more openminded than they're given credit for."

In Kings-Hants, Mr. Brison also lent his young protégé his former campaign manager, Dale Palmeter, the architect of Mr. Brison's seven electoral victories in the riding since 1997. Together they won election after election, despite Mr. Brison switching parties and coming out as gay in a traditionally conservative riding.

"Scott treated every election he ran in as if it was his first," Mr.Palmeter said. "In rural communities, people know you or they know your cousin or they know people who know you. They want to see you engage with them."

But Mr. Blois's rivals, including Conservative candidate Martha MacQuarrie and the NDP's Stephen Schneider, see an opportunity with Mr. Brison finally out of the way. Ms. MacQuarrie says voters are angry at what she calls "failing Liberal branding," while Mr. Schneider argues the electorate isn't thrilled about any of the party leaders. With Mr. Brison gone, each believes their party has its best chance in years to win here.

Associated Graphic

A pedestrian walks across the street in New Glasgow, N.S., in the Central Nova riding, where former Conservative MP Peter MacKay is now trying to help country singer George Canyon win a seat.

DARREN CALABRESE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Correction

A Monday news story on the federal election races in the Maritimes included an incorrect last name for Jim Bickerton, a professor of political science at St. Francis Xavier University.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Johanna_Schneller Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page