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Raitt-gate misses the point Add to ...

JOHN GEIGER

Okay, we just have a couple of minutes left but I just wanted to get a take of each of you on the election of an NDP government in Nova Scotia. It's obviously an historic breakthrough for the NDP. First time I believe in history that they've elected a government east of Ontario. So it's a significant breakthrough and it's a very decisive victory for the NDP in that province.

Just very quickly Jodi, do you have any comments or observations?

JODI WHITE

Well I mean it's a great breakthrough for the NDP as you say. It appears that it was simply a matter of the Province has had enough and it wanted change. And the NDP got the right leader to provide them with the opportunity to look at it and say that they could bring about some change.

And so whether it has longer term impacts one never knows but these kinds of victories for a Party are important for them in terms of a lot of foundation being laid over the last fifteen years to produce this victory. But as I say, I think more than anything it was a province exhausted with some ineptness and a desire to go somewhere new. With a new face.

JOHN GEIGER

John, one of the issues in the campaign was the need to restore fiscal rectitude in that province. It's interesting an NDP government made balancing the books one of the key aspects of the campaign. What are your views of the election? How significant is this?

JOHN MANLEY

Well I think it does underline the fact that there is a very broad middle in Canadian politics and that in order to win election you need to try to get yourself into that middle. And Darryl Dexter as an NDP leader showed himself to be capable of occupying that middle ground. Instead of being a Progressive Conservative he's being referred to as a Conservative Progressive.

He was on the national news this morning talking about this concerns about debt levels in Nova Scotia and the amount of interest payments that they have to pay on the provincial debt. So he could have been a Conservative leader using exactly the same words. So I think that's one lesson.

But secondly, this is a huge breakthrough for the political party, for the NDP. If they perform well it will deal with a lot of the boogie men that surround that Party and its electoral abilities certainly in central and eastern Canada, some of which are still inherited from the NDP election in Ontario in 1990.

JOHN GEIGER

Okay, and Doug, there have been Conservative Progressive governments elected elsewhere in Canada but there have also been some more hard left I guess you could say, NDP governments. I'm thinking of Dave Barrett in B.C. What's your take on the election of Mr. Dexter?

DOUG McARTHUR

Well I think two things. One it's not unusual for the NDP to take power or the CCF before it and the NDP to take power on the basis of a fiscally conservative program in terms of fiscal measures and Progressive in terms of economic and social measures.

Tommy Douglas did that, Roy Romano did that. Gary Doer's done that. This is a fairly successful formula and it doesn't necessarily mean that the NDP has just become another Party of the centre or the right. There's still a lot of fundamental ideas that govern what those successful governments have done which are consistent with the overall NDP directions.

But I do think John's right. The NDP now has four provinces where it's running at between forty and forty-five percent of the vote. Where it's either the government or can become the government in a forthcoming election fairly easily. To have that all across the country is a major shift in the way things are developing in the country.

And I think the NDP is obviously going to continue to be a significant force at the provincial level. And that's where the NDP successes have been. Governing provincially. Being successful provincially. To do that now in the Atlantic provinces is a great boost to the NDP and will give them I think a real boost nationally. Although not necessarily in national politics per se, that is to say, federal elections per se.

JOHN GEIGER

Okay Doug, you get the last word. So I want to thank each of you, Jodie, Doug and John, very much for your time and I look forward to speaking with you next week.

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