Rodney MacDonald handily won his own seat in the province’s 38th general election, but his political future was in question after his Progressive Conservative government went down in a crushing defeat yesterday.
The Mabou Community Hall was much quieter last night than during the last election in June 2006, when the newly minted PC leader led his party to a minority government. That evening saw hundreds of supporters pack the hall, but only about 50 people were on hand last night, although they cheered loudly when MacDonald arrived to speak.
He said no matter how disappointing the results, in a democracy, the people are always right.
“The people have spoken tonight,” MacDonald said. “We need to take a look at what they’ve said and then (determine) what we want to see our party stand for going forward.”
MacDonald, 37, wouldn’t say whether he'll resign as party leader, explaining he would meet this week with the PC caucus and the president of the provincial PC party to plan the party’s rebuilding effort.
“It’s going to be time to turn to the next chapter for our party and to make sure we continue to be prepared for the next election,” MacDonald told reporters.
During his speech, he said his party paid down the province’s debt, created a climate for growth and won a Crown share deal with Ottawa. He also thanked his supporters and let the people of Inverness County know that he got into politics to make life better for them.
He congratulated his successor, Premier Designate Darrell Dexter of the New Democrats, and soon-to-be Official Opposition leader Stephen McNeil of the Liberals.
“These are two honourable Nova Scotians who have dedicated themselves to our province.”
When the provincial government dissolved, the Tories held 21 seats in the provincial legislature, but last night they finished a third-place total or 10 seats, claiming 25 per cent of the popular vote. -
with notes from Kristen Lipscombe, Metro Halifax