Team Nova Scotia? Oh dear. With most of the Liberal MLAs assembled at their AGM this past weekend (journalists tell us that Manning MacDonald, already a rare sight in the legislature this past year, did not attend), Leader Stephen McNeil announced the Liberals would be focusing on the whole team in the next election campaign. Human-sized card-board cutouts with signs like “Diana Whalen – meet your MLA” dotted various rooms.
Some people vote for the best candidate, others on party preference, a few on a specific issue. More and more, people are also voting for a leader for their province. Leadership will be key for the NDP and the Conservatives in next year’s election campaign, so it is striking to see the Nova Scotia Liberals move away from focusing on their leader. His window of opportunity has closed and they can not win with him.
It is another sign indicating that after the next election, Stephen McNeil will step down as Liberal Leader.
They do have some good choices for a replacement: Diana Whalen, once spurned, should not by twice shy. Andrew Younger seems to have ambition to move up. But our preference would be Michel Samson. He is personable, whip-smart, and bilingual. He could hold the Liberal seats in the Valley and Dartmouth from the rising NDP presence there, but more importantly, make in-roads in traditional Tory Acadian communities and Conservative Cape Breton. Liberals would unite behind him.