Nova Scotia

High-profile Liberal cabinet ministers Samson, Bernard lose ridings

Rookie PC candidate Alana Paon wins Cape Breton-Richmond, NDP's Susan Leblanc wins Dartmouth North.

Rookie PC candidate Alana Paon wins Cape Breton-Richmond, NDP's Susan Leblanc wins Dartmouth North

Michel Samson, pictured here in 2015, has lost his riding to newcomer Alana Paon. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)

Two high-profile Liberal cabinet ministers have lost their seats.

Longtime MLA Michel Samson was defeated — by just 20 votes — in a major upset in what was supposed to be a Liberal stronghold.

Tory challenger Alana Paon won Cape Breton-Richmond with 3,336 votes to Samson's 3,316 votes, according to unofficial results from Elections Nova Scotia.

Samson had represented the area since 1998. He was first elected when he was just 25, at that time becoming the youngest member ever elected to the legislature.

Paon works in the fields of youth leadership, entrepreneurship, and economic development. She also owns a sheep farm.

Samson has served as the minister of economic and rural development and tourism, the minister of Acadian affairs and minister of the environment, among other portfolios.

Bernard loses Dartmouth North

Joanne Bernard, the minister of community services, lost in Dartmouth North to rookie NDP candidate Susan Leblanc. Leblanc won the riding by 325 votes, according to unofficial results.

Bernard was first elected in 2013. She was also the minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

Bernard said early Wednesday morning she was disappointed with the results.

"The riding has traditionally been NDP for the last 20 years. It was ignored for 20 years," she said. "I made a lot of investments over the last three and a half years, and they had a strong voice in cabinet, and now they don't.

"I did my best. I wish Susan well. She has a big job ahead of her. We'll see how that goes."

Joanne Bernard, who was the community services minister, has lost her seat to the NDP's Susan Leblanc. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Leblanc is a stage and film actress and is a lead member of the Zuppa Theatre Company. She campaigned on issues such as food security, affordable housing and education, a $15 minimum wage, support for the arts and investment in health care.

The riding of Dartmouth North was in the hands of the NDP from 1998 until Bernard won in 2013. Before that, the riding had been held by Liberals dating back to 1988.

Hines gets squeaker win

Natural Resources Lloyd Hines won his riding of Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, but by a slim margin of just 71 votes.

Hines has been criticized for some of his spending practices when he was a municipal warden, prior to entering provincial politics.

A report released in April by the province's Office of the Ombudsman said he charged thousands of dollars in personal purchases and cash advances to a corporate credit card while he was warden of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, though he paid all those expenses back.

Hines was nearly unseated by Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Wolf, a teacher at St. Mary's Academy in Sherbrooke.