Nova Scotia·RIDING PROFILE

Canada election 2015: South Shore-St. Margarets and what's at stake

The next member of Parliament for South Shore-St. Margarets will be a rookie, as long-time Conservative MP Gerald Keddy announced last May he would not seek another term in the House of Commons.

1 of several ridings losing Conservative incumbents

The candidates for South Shore-St. Margarets include, from left, Richard Biggar (Green), Richard Clark (Conservative), Alex Godbold (New Democrat) and Bernadette Jordan (Liberal). (Green Party, Conservative Party, NDP, Liberal Party)

The next member of Parliament for South Shore-St. Margarets will be a rookie.

Long-time Conservative MP Gerald Keddy announced last May he would not seek another term in the House of Commons.

Political scientist Jim Bickerton said without a familiar name on the ballot, voters are more likely to seek a change.

"It frees up voters to think about other things as more important, such as: do they like the leader of the party?" he said in a recent interview. "Such as: who do they think will win the next election?"

The riding is made up of Shelburne, Lunenburg and Queens counties, as well as a portion of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Lunenburg is the home port for Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, and birthplace of the original Bluenose.

'NDP have a shot'

Bickerton said the riding's boundaries now reach into the Halifax suburbs — a change he thinks could hurt the Tories.

"I would be surprised if the Conservatives would be able to hang on that riding," Bickerton said. "The NDP have a shot."

The New Democrats have nominated Lunenburg County teacher Alex Godbold.

Richard Clark, who worked in Keddy's constituency office and was the director of policy for the minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is running for the Conservatives.

Fundraiser Bernadette Jordan, a development officer for Health Services Foundation of the South Shore, is the Liberal candidate.

The Greens have chosen Richard Biggar, a veteran of the Canadian Forces who now runs a small business with his wife, who is a wedding photographer.

'In a real dog fight'

Voters here have been sending Conservatives to Ottawa for more than five decades with the exception of 1993, when Liberal Derek Wells became MP for one term.

Keddy, a Christmas tree farmer from New Ross, defeated Wells in 1997 and won six more elections after that. In 2011, he took more than 43 per cent of the vote with 2,866 more votes than his nearest rival, New Democrat Gordon Earle.

​In announcing his retirement from politics, Keddy said it was just "the right time to move on."

The Conservatives are losing incumbent candidates in several ridings — Keddy in South Shore-St. Margarets, Greg Kerr in West Nova and Peter MacKay in Central Nova.

"I think the Conservatives are in a real dog fight just to keep a toehold in Nova Scotia," Bickerton said.

The riding is made up of Shelburne, Lunenburg and Queens counties, as well as a portion of the Halifax Regional Municipality. (Elections Canada)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After spending more than a decade as a reporter covering the Nova Scotia legislature, Amy Smith joined CBC News in 2009 as host for CBC Nova Scotia News as well as Atlantic Tonight at 11. She can be reached at amy.smith@cbc.ca or on Twitter @amysmithcbc

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