Nova Scotia

Votes for Independent in Sydney-Victoria remarkable: Cape Breton prof

The federal election in Cape Breton was mostly a seesaw affair between the Liberals and Conservatives, but a political scientist says in the riding of Sydney-Victoria, Independent candidate Archie MacKinnon fared remarkably well.

Archie MacKinnon got third highest percentage of votes of any Independent in Canada, says Tom Urbaniak

Independent Archie MacKinnon says running provincially for the NDP years ago soured him on party politics, and voters on the doorstep agreed. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

The federal election in Cape Breton was mostly a seesaw affair between the Liberals and Conservatives, but a political scientist says in the riding of Sydney-Victoria, an Independent candidate fared remarkably well.

Tom Urbaniak, a political science professor at Cape Breton University, said Archie MacKinnon got the third highest percentage of votes of any Independent candidate anywhere in Canada.

Only high-profile Independents Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott got higher percentages of the vote.

Urbaniak said MacKinnon's campaign resonated with a large number of voters.

"Here's an Independent candidate who got more than 14 per cent of the vote... in part because of a disillusionment with the system generally, the older parties," Urbaniak said.

"He actually ran a campaign. He was on the ground, beating the pavement, putting up signs, running on a bit of a Cape Breton patriotic platform and saying we have to fight the system the way it's structured now and that resonated with some voters."

Speaks for the people

Leo Seguin, an army veteran who lives in Sydney Mines, said he supported MacKinnon because he spoke for average people.

Seguin said even though MacKinnon came in fourth, his results were fantastic.

"You look at his numbers," Seguin said. "Well over 5,000 votes. Running as an Independent, that's unheard of."

MacKinnon said running provincially for the NDP years ago soured him on party politics, and he said voters on the doorstep agreed.

"They were saying basically that the people we were electing were doing and saying absolutely nothing about our problems down here," he said.

MacKinnon said he's not done with politics just yet.

He said the minority Parliament might not last long and municipal and provincial elections in Nova Scotia are on the horizon.

(CBC)

About the Author

Tom Ayers

Reporter/Editor

Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years. He has spent the last 15 years covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at tom.ayers@cbc.ca.

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