West Nova goes Conservative

The Conservatives have wrestled West Nova away from Liberal Robert Thibault.

The Conservatives have wrestled West Nova away from Liberal Robert Thibault.

Greg Kerr, a former Nova Scotia finance minister, finally took down Thibault in a rematch of the last federal election, winning by 1,600 votes Tuesday.

Kerr said the economy was on voters' minds.

"I heard that over and over again, that as difficult as times are, we think the prime minister is probably focused in the right direction," he said. "And probably the carbon tax came up in terms of a negative."

Thibault agrees the Liberal Green shift carbon tax plan was a difficult sell in fishing and farming communities from Berwick to Yarmouth. At the same time, he couldn't compete with Conservative commitments in the range of $15 million for the Digby ferry and wharf.

"If it is going to be a Conservative government, I think a lot of them would like to have a member on the government side. I think that helped Greg quite a bit," said Thibault, a former fisheries minister, who was vying for a fourth consecutive term.

The Conservatives targeted the riding, known for its fishing, farming and tourism, during this campaign.

Leader Stephen Harper travelled to Yarmouth earlier this month to make several announcements promising funding to address economic hardships in Atlantic Canada.

Kerr, 61, served a term as a municipal councillor. He was first elected to the Nova Scotia legislature in 1978, and then served another three terms.

During the campaign, Thibault apologized for saying Kerr should consider retirement rather than a new career in federal politics.

In the 2006 federal election, Thibault defeated Kerr by only 511 votes.