It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, depending on which floor you were on.
The NDP and Progressive Conservatives held their first post-election caucus meetings at the same time Thursday afternoon. The parties share the same downtown office building and were separated by only two floors.
For the Tories it was a somber event. Rodney MacDonald is widely expected to step down as leader after his party fell to third place in Tuesday’s election. He didn’t confirm his intentions Thursday, but did confess “it’s very apparent that we need renewal in the party.”
At the same time the NDP caucus office was filled with pure glee. Members of the new, and much larger, NDP caucus hugged, shook hands and cheered. The meeting room was filled with so many people it could barely contain them all.
Premier-Designate Darrell Dexter started the meeting by thanking all of the NDP candidates who failed in their election bids. Dexter said he had spoken with all of them since Tuesday.
“They all said the same thing. They all said they’re walking on cloud nine,” Dexter said. “It didn’t matter so much that they weren’t successful, they were just proud to see the fact that you were successful and we have made history in this province.”
Aside from winning 31 seats the NDP placed second in 18 ridings, finishing third in only three of the province’s 52 ridings. Joan Massey, defeated by Liberal Andrew Younger in Dartmouth East, was the only NDP incumbent to lose their seat.
Massey was at the meeting and said beforehand she was thrilled for her party and was looking forward to moving onto her next career.
Dexter said MacDonald had been very gracious and the transition of power was so far moving along smoothly.