While there is still a long way to go before the federal elections next year, Liberals across the Maritimes will have much to celebrate in the coming days. Bolstered by favourable poll numbers, the party is attracting new donors, new supporters, and, most importantly, new candidates to carry the banner in the region. Nowhere is this optimism more clearly visible than in Chester, a tiny seaside village known for its stunning views of Mahone Bay (basically, the 9th Wonder of the World for yachting addicts), and its seasonally inclined “Old Money” residents (apparently called “Gin & Jaguars” by locals) who frolic amongst the historic mansions during the summer.
One such resident is Jon Dimick III, Lord of the Overtheway (I would have picked a better name to lord over, but what can you do?), who will soon host Justin Trudeau at the family’s sprawling 7,200 square foot historic mansion. Heralded as a major fundraiser for the Liberal Party of Canada, over 150 guests are expected to attend the $500 meet-and-greet (it is expensive because they will likely be serving homeless children dipped in caviar). The event it is widely seen to be the launching pad by which the Liberals attempt to resume lordship over the rest of the province in the next federal elections.
However, there is just one vexing issue that stands in the party’s way: the South Shore. Historically, St. Margaret’s riding has been a Conservative safe-seat. Kirk Cox, the co-chair of the federal Liberal campaign in Nova Scotia says, “We’ve had a hard time recruiting candidates there, we’ve had a hard time raising money there, and this summer, we have the leader doing one of our biggest fundraisers of the year [… ] in that riding.” Indeed, the riding has only ever elected one candidate from the party since 1968, not exactly a solid track record.
It would appear that the board is poised for a shake-up. The current Conservative incumbent, Gerald Keddy, whose popularity seems untouched by age, has recently announced his decision to finally retire after serving over 17 years in office. At the same time, the South Shore Regional School Board chairwoman Jennifer Naugler is now undergoing the vetting process to become the Liberal candidate for the riding. “I think people here on the South Shore and in this riding are ready for a change. I think there’s a lot of excitement around Justin Trudeau and his leadership and with the Liberal party, so I think that I’d be a fresh face.” A polite response, but, having tapped a candidate with such strong grassroots in the local community, it is all but assured that the Liberals will secure this riding in the next federal elections. I mean, the only way this sort of opportunity can be lost is if the Conservatives resurrected Alexander Keith to run as a candidate.
Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, Brian Gallant, the 32-year-old party leader who looks like he was cloned using Justin Trudeau’s boyishly good looks, is campaigning to depose the Progressive Conservative government led by David Alward. However, with the incumbent’s mandate hanging on by a mere thread (like all incumbents, the NB government is only slightly more preferable to fellating a cactus), it is becoming patently clear to everyone involved in the upcoming race that campaign managers should just start talking office decor plans instead of election stratagems. In the past year alone, the Liberals have averaged a lead of almost 20 points over the Tories… All this to say, while Gallant is happily celebrating this fact with Justin Trudeau at the local Chippendale’s, Alward is going to be spending the last days in office sobbing into Bowmore whisky glasses while listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Yes, for now, it seems though the Grits are riding on “The Wave” (Haligonians that were not deprived of a real childhood will know that “The Wave” is not just some ordinary wave—Neptune’s power courses with it.) But, unless the winds of change start blowing in the other direction soon, we can all be sure that Liberals across the Maritimes are going to be sailing smoothly into office.