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Nova Scotia’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ election

The Story

As Premier John Buchanan coasts to another victory in Nova Scotia's election of 1984, the real race is shaping up in Cape Breton. The former NDP stronghold is under threat by maverick politician Paul MacEwan, who promises change for a region where the unemployment rate is 30 per cent in some towns. As an observer notes in this clip from The Journal, the campaign's characters are straight from The Wizard of Oz - and MacEwan is the Cowardly Lion. 

Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Nov. 1, 1984
Guest: Paul MacEwan
Reporter: Ian Parker
Duration: 3:40

Did You know?

• Paul MacEwan first ran for the NDP in 1967 and lost. From 1970 to 1999, he ran - and won every time - as a candidate for the NDP, as an independent, for his own Cape Breton Labour Party and as a Liberal. He was Speaker of the House from 1993 to 1996.
• MacEwan's Cape Breton Labour Party ran thirteen candidates in the 1984 election, but only MacEwan won.

• When the ballots were counted, the Progressive Conservative party, headed by Premier John Buchanan, won the election handily with 42 of 52 seats. The Liberals captured six seats, the NDP won three and the Cape Breton Labour Party won a single seat.
• The 1984 election was Buchanan's third consecutive victory as PC leader, and he would go on to win a fourth in the next election in 1988.

• The other party leaders in the 1984 Nova Scotia election were Sandy Cameron of the Liberals and Alexa McDonough of the NDP. Cameron failed to win his seat, but McDonough won and went on to lead the federal NDP from 1995 to January 2003.


How The East Was Won: Nova Scotia Elections Since 1949 more