Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil looks on at a press conference after the 2013 Council of the Federation fall meeting in Toronto on Nov. 15, 2013.

MARK BLINCH/The Canadian Press

The Liberals are on their way back in Atlantic Canada. All four provincial wings of the party are now leading in the polls in their respective provinces – and helping to establish a critical beachhead for Justin Trudeau in the 2015 election.

"I can't remember the last time it happened," said Don Mills, head of Corporate Research Associates, the polling firm based in Halifax. "We actually have a point in time where the Liberals are ahead in all four provinces. … It's quite unusual, as you might expect."

For Chris MacInnes, who successfully managed the recent Nova Scotia election campaign for the Liberals that resulted in a majority government – after 14 years in opposition – the ascendancy of his party in the region has implications across the country.

Story continues below advertisement

"The rising tide lifts all boats," he said. "You're building confidence among your members. You're showing that you can win elections … it goes to momentum."

There is much cross-pollination between the provincial wings and the federal party. For example, Mr. MacInnes is the vice-president, English, for the federal Liberals – and so has a national view of the party and issues.

He hired David Herle, a key strategist to former prime minister Paul Martin, to poll and provide analysis during the recent Nova Scotia election. Mr. Herle and his team are now polling for the Liberals in New Brunswick, where there are fixed election dates and the provincial vote is scheduled for next fall. (In addition, Mr. Herle is a senior member of Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne's campaign team.)

Meanwhile, Mr. MacInnes is sharing the lessons learned from the Nova Scotia campaign with his New Brunswick colleagues, including Dominic LeBlanc, the Liberal MP for Beausejour, who is the chair of the New Brunswick provincial campaign for the Liberals.

Their leader, former lawyer Brian Gallant, was elected to the top job late last year but is already polling well ahead of Progressive Conservative Premier David Alward. A CRA poll released in September shows the Liberals with 47 per cent support compared to 23 per cent for the PCs; the NDP are at 24 per cent support.

Mr. Gallant's riding is in Mr. LeBlanc's federal riding and the MP has served as a mentor to the provincial Liberal leader. Last month, former prime minister Jean Chretien was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for Mr. Gallant and the Liberals in Moncton where $300,000 was raised from 600 participants. According to a well-placed source there are over 300 Liberals who have expressed interest in running in the 49 provincial ridings.

Pollster Mills credits Mr. Trudeau and the new face he has put on the federal Liberals with the party's ascension in the Atlantic. "Trudeau has spent some time down here. He has helped revive the brand both nationally and regionally," said Mr. Mills.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trudeau campaigned with Nova Scotia Liberal leader Stephen McNeil during the fall election. Last February, Mr. Gallant spent three days campaigning with Mr. Trudeau in New Brunswick, during Mr. Trudeau's bid for the leadership.

Like the NDP's Dexter government that was just voted out in Nova Scotia, the Alward government in New Brunswick has been in power for only one term. It is struggling with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and no real economic prospects to boost its fortunes.

But Mr. Mills does not believe the rise of the Liberals is due to their ideas or platform – "My hypothesis is in this region, at least, our dependence on government is at the high end … When government can't fix things then people get cranky and when they get cranky they want to throw the bums out and replace them with whoever is next in line."

Mr. MacInnes disagrees. Although he acknowledges Mr. Trudeau's help, he believes, too, that issues made a difference in the last election.

In 2011, right after the federal election, the Liberals in Nova Scotia plummeted to third place in the polls, a result of the federal party under Michael Ignatieff plummeting to third place in the country.

A year later – in August 2012, the Liberals ran a series of pre-writ ads attacking the NDP government, accusing it of mismanaging power rates and economic development.

Story continues below advertisement

A senior NDP strategist, who asked not to be identified, acknowledges the ads were effective. The Darrell Dexter government did not respond to them quickly or directly – and not challenging them with any vigour led the electorate to believe the accusations to be true.

Those ads helped to pull the Liberals up to first place in the polls – and the party never looked back.

Jane Taber is The Globe's Atlantic bureau chief.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies