© Larry Powell
Stephen McNeil, the newly-elected premier of Nova Scotia, speaks to the crowd following his win Oct. 8 2013.
By Lawrence Powell
Annapolis County is home to the next premier of Nova Scotia.
Liberal Stephen McNeil, who soundly defeated his opponents to win his seat in Annapolis, will lead the province with a majority government.
The Liberals won 33 seats in the Oct. 8 provincial election, making inroads in almost every county across the province.
“May I welcome Nova Scotia to Bridgetown," Premier-elect Stephen McNeil said as he began a long and rousing speech that had hundreds of supporters applauding and cheering to accentuate his remarks.
“I am so humbled and honoured that Nova Scotians put their trust in me and our Liberal team. The people of Nova Scotia have agreed to our plan to put Nova Scotia first.”
McNeil pleged to stick with the platform he unveilled during the month-long election campaign.
“And it is with a deep sense of responsibility and purpose that I will make certain that our plan is delivered and our commitments are kept," he pledged to the roomfull of supporters.
The Tories, led by Jamie Baillie, will form the official opposition with 11 seats, while the NDP plummeted to seven seats across the province, with Darrell Dexter losing his own seat in Cole Harbour.
McNeil, however, had nothing but praise for the leaders of the NDP and Progressive Conservatives.
“Let me begin by congratulating Darrell and Jamie and all the candidates who were tireless during this campaign, who brought their ideas to Nova Scotians," McNeil said.
McNeil added that he enjoyed this campaign - particularly visiting all 51 ridings.
“One of the best aspects of the campaign was meeting Nova Scotians across this great province," he said. "Over the past months I’ve had the good fortune of speaking with many of you. Nova Scotians who take great pride in this beautiful province but also have concerns about our future. You have told me of your hopes and yours dreams for a Nova Scotia where you children and grandchildren can prosper.”
McNeil pledged to help this province thrive.
“I believe in a Nova Scotia where families and communities not only survive but thrive and prosper. Our Nova Scotia is a province where families and communities come first; a province where affordable housing units are available for everyone who needs one; our Nova Scotia is a province where the victims of sexual and domestic assaults have access to the services they need.”
Nova Scotia, he added, is a province where the health and wellfare of children is paramount.
"A province, that regardless of the differences of adults, parents meet the financial obligations they have for their children," he continued. "Our Nova Scotia is a province where a strong education system is a priority. A province where our school system allows children not to just meet, but to exceed the challenges of an ever rapidly growing world. Education is the greatest gift we can give to one another; it is the great equalizer in this country.”
McNeil also promised a Liberal government will remain focused on economy.
“Our Nova Scotia is a province where our economy prospers from each and every corner of this province. Where the emphasis is placed on the true engine of prosperity – the small business owners who create the jobs," he said.
Closer to home, McNeil captured 6,710 votes, well ahead of PC Ginny Hurlock, who had 1,265. NDP Henry Spurr had 742 and Green Ron Neufeld had 208.