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Nova Scotia Elections: 'Honest Bob' promises more progress

For generations, Nova Scotia's politics were a largely predictable affair that saw the Liberal Party serve in virtual dynasties that lasted in excess of 40 years. That all changed in the 1950s, when voters' loyalties to the "party of their parents" ended and the Progressive Conservatives began to emerge as a viable alternative. CBC Archives takes a look back at the decades long tug of war between the Liberals and Conservatives in "Canada's Ocean Playground."

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Robert Stanfield is winning voters over with his simple campaign slogan of "More Progress" in the 1960 provincial election. Stanfield, dubbed "Honest Bob" for his sensible, straightforward manner, faces a formidable opponent in the charismatic Liberal leader Henry Hicks. Tax rebates, high unemployment, and stalled industrial development are proving to be this year's headline issues. In this CBC Television interview, a cool and confident Stanfield lays out his plans for the province.  
• Stanfield's Conservative party won the 1960 election, capturing 27 seats. The Liberals claimed 15 seats with the CCF earning one.
• Liberal leader Henry Hicks lost by eight votes in his Annapolis East riding.
• The CCF's Michael MacDonald, in the riding of Cape Breton Centre, remarked, "I'll be the loneliest man in the legislature."

• In this same election, Conservative Gladys Porter became Nova Scotia's first woman elected to the legislature.
• Also in 1960, every voter was handed a pencil before entering the booth after a fiasco four years earlier had the Liberals crying foul. In 1956, some booth pencils went missing prompting some voters to use their own pens. Those votes were disqualified. The Liberals claimed they lost two seats because of these disqualified ballots - in one riding the Conservatives gained an edge by a mere three votes and in another by just five votes.

• In 1960, Nova Scotians endured difficult times. The province's unemployment rate hit 13 per cent, five per cent higher than the national average.
• Stanfield promised to spend money on highways and hospitals. Hicks promised a tax rebate for homeowners, free textbooks and the creation of two new ministries for youth and fisheries.

• Stanfield first took the reins of the provincial Conservatives in 1948 when the party didn't have any seats in the legislature. Slowly, Stanfield built the party's credibility and won the 1956 election, ending a 23-year Liberal reign.
• Stanfield was elected to the premier's office three times before he resigned to take on the national Conservative leadership in 1967. During his time in provincial politics, he focused on education and developing industry.

• Stanfield was succeeded as leader by his right-hand man, George Isaac Smith who served as premier from 1967 to 1970. To learn more about "Ike" Smith, go to our additional clip Remembering 'a noble son' of Nova Scotia .
• Stanfield successfully captured the Conservative leadership but had difficulty succeeding against the charismatic Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau. See a report on Stanfield's leadership win in this CBC Television report.

• Stanfield resigned from federal politics in 1976 and was succeeded by Joe Clark.
• Robert Stanfield died in Ottawa on Dec. 16, 2003, at the age of 89.
Medium: Television
Program: Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: May 29, 1960
Guest: Robert Stanfield
Reporter: Kingsley Brown
Duration: 4:06

Last updated: September 13, 2013

Page consulted on May 22, 2014

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