© Jonathan Riley
NDP candidate Dean Kenley watched the election results Tuesday Oct. 8 surrounded by friends and family at his pub, The Dockside in Digby.
Dean Kenley gave it his best shot.
The NDP candidate for Clare Digby worked at getting elected for 12 hours a day and more for 31 days straight.
On Oct. 8 however he finished third with 842 votes—2,000 votes behind second-place candidate Paul Emile LeBlanc.
Kenley says his problem was being too positive.
“I couldn’t believe how opposite the frame of thought was to what I was thinking,” he said. “That was disappointing. I found the good in the NDP and what they had achieved in the last four years and everyone else found the bad – I have to stop thinking so positively I guess.”
Kenley said he liked what the NDP had done to end March Madness (the spending of budgeted monies at the end of the fiscal year in an effort to protect funding levels), the establishment of a government paving crew and the arrangements the NDP government made to create jobs with Irving and other large companies.
“I couldn’t believe the anti –Dexter sentiment and anti-NDP sentiment,” said Kenley. “I really zeroed in on the smart smart things they did, which to me made smart smart business sense. Everyone else is looking at it so negatively.”
Kenley suggested the media weren’t fair to the NDP government.
“The argument could be made that this election was decided in the media in the past year,” he said. “There were so many articles about these corporate give-aways but the facts of these arrangements and what was being said was light years apart.”
Kenley says people on the doorsteps were very encouraging and in the beginning it was easy to get signs.
“Whether or not they realized later on it might not be wise to vote NDP if everyone else is going to vote Liberal,” wonders Kenley. “The mindset was obviously the Liberals are going into win and we should b connected to the government.”
Still Kenley is pleased with how he ran his campaign.
“If I could go back 31 days and do it over, I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said. “We had a little team, a skeleton crew, donations were hard to come by when I look at all the volunteers and helpers the other candidates had.”
Kenley says he isn’t going to disappear but he isn’t making any decisions about running again just yet.
“I’m not out of the game at all but four years is a long time,” he said. “I’m not going to decide anything now.
“I will say this. It would be difficult to go through that again, I’d be a lot more cautious,” he said. “Especially when I realize it doesn’t matter what I do, people will vote with the trend of the province.”
Kenley is disappointed in what he calls Stephen McNeil’s first big announcement.
“A new holiday? This is the worst thing you can do for small business in rural Nova Scotia,” he said. “It might be fine for larger companies, schools, and government but it’s a real hit for a small business.”
McNeil confirmed this week when asked by reporters that his government would create a February holiday—something the Liberals had called for while in opposition.