Tory Eddie Orrell wins CB North byelection

The Progressive Conservatives in Nova Scotia have regained their seat in Cape Breton North following Tuesday's byelection, which saw Eddie Orrell win easily against his rivals.
Eddie Orrell celebrates his byelection win in North Sydney on Tuesday night. (CBC)

The Progressive Conservatives in Nova Scotia have regained their seat in Cape Breton North following Tuesday's byelection, which saw Eddie Orrell win easily against his rivals.

The physiotherapist from North Sydney won his seat with 3,975 votes, more than 1,700 voted ahead of his nearest rival — NDP candidate Russell MacDonald.

MacDonald finished second with 2,265 votes, while Brian McGean of the Liberals had 931 votes and Jonathan Dean of the Atlantica Party had 72.

"What I was hearing at the doorsteps, education cuts was one of the major factors. We're losing our young people," Orrell said after his win.

"They're saying they have to leave and these people don't want to leave Cape Breton. We want to stay here and build a Cape Breton that's going to grow."

The Cape Breton North seat became vacant when Cecil Clarke resigned to run in the federal election in early May. He didn't win.

Orrell's win means the Progressive Conservatives have seven seats in Nova Scotia's 52-seat legislature. The NDP have 31 seats while the Liberals have 13. There is one Independent member.

Orrell campaigned against emergency room closures, cuts to education and the need for more help for small business. It was a message that appeared to resonate with voters who gave him an early lead that got wider as the night went on.

"The message we heard was clear. Voters think the NDP are taking the province in the wrong direction," Orrell said in a statement on Tuesday night.

"They are upset about paying the highest taxes in Canada, the broken promises on ER closures and the cuts to education. They are looking for someone to tell it like it is and not make promises they can't keep."

Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie said the outcome is "a victory for all Nova Scotians who feel our province is heading in the wrong direction, toward higher taxes and fewer jobs."

"Voters are disappointed with the NDP record and they are turning to the clear alternative," he said in a statement.

With files from The Canadian Press