|Wikileaks:||View 03HALIFAX238 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PGOV Elections Conservative Party|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HALIFAX 000238 SIPDIS DEPT FOR WHA/CAN E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, Elections, Conservative Party SUBJECT: Nova Scotia Provincial Elections: Tories Left with a Minority Government 1. SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - ENTIRE TEXT. 2. (SBU) Summary: Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm will serve another term in office following this week's provincial elections, but he will do so as head of a minority government. Hamm's Progressive Conservative Party lost seats to both the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberals, leaving it unable to govern with a majority. Premier Hamm must now scramble to form a compromise arrangement with his political foes in order to bring some stability to his government. There are no significant implications for the U.S. in this situation, as all three parties attach importance to U.S. trade, to the offshore energy sector, and to working with us on secure border issues. END SUMMARY. 3. (SBU) Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm and his Progressive Conservative Party won a re-election bid on August 5, but voter discontent has left them clinging to power. The second-place New Democrats and third-place Liberals made enough gains at the expense of the Tories that their combined seats outnumber the governing party. The results (with previous standings in parenthesis) were as follows: Progressive Conservatives 25 (31), New Democrats 15 (11), and Liberals 12 (10). Looking at the popular vote, the Conservatives took 36.3 percent, down approximately 3 percent from their 1999 performance, the Liberals 31.4 percent, and the NDP 31.0. The campaign was a tough fight for all three parties, focusing on local voter-sensitive issues as health care, high insurance costs and fiscal responsibility. 4. (SBU) The immediate challenge for the Hamm government will be to work with official opposition leader Darrel Dexter of the NDP and Liberal leader Danny Graham to negotiate stable, functional arrangements for a minority government. Although the Premier has ruled out naming members of the opposition parties to any of his cabinet portfolios, he will nonetheless have to work out compromises with those parties in order to get legislation through the Assembly. COMMENT ------- 5. (SBU) Although this election yielded no big winners, it does represent significant advancement for the New Democrats. Over the last three provincial elections in Nova Scotia, the NDP has moved from the role of marginal player on the edge of the political stage to a position of influence in the spotlight. Party strategists are already assessing what impact these provincial gains will have on the party's chances in the next federal election campaign. The NDP currently holds four of the Atlantic region's 32 seats in the House of Commons, and the August 5 results will boost the party's stature among the electorate. NDP leader Dexter's immediate challenge will be judging how far he can go in keeping his commitment to cooperate with the Conservative Hamm government, without selling out his leftist base. 6. (SBU) All three of the major Nova Scotia political parties attach importance to U.S. trade, to the offshore energy sector, and to working with us on a secure border. None has expressed any grievance or taken issue with the United States in any particular area. Foreign involvement in the offshore energy sector was not even mentioned on the campaign trail, and NDP leader Dexter has made it clear he has no particular ax to grind on that subject. A minority Hamm government is therefore unlikely to have a different impact on areas of concern to the USG than did the majority Hamm government. END COMMENT.
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