Tories take 2nd and become Opposition as party rebuilds
Jamie Baillie's Progressive Conservatives elected in seven ridings
The Progressive Conservatives were led by a new leader in Tuesday's Nova Scotia election and four years after losing power, they made the jump from third to second.
When the legislature returns, Jamie Baillie will be the leader of the Official Opposition, an achievement for a party that is still seen to be in a rebuilding phase under his fledgling leadership.
"What a great night to be a Progressive Conservative in Nova Scotia," Baillie told campaign workers at a legion in Springhill.
"I can't wait to get to work as leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition."
Baillie told his supporters to be proud of what they achieved.
"You can hold your heads high," he said. "We will be a very vigorous and positive Opposition for the people of Nova Scotia."
Baillie, 47, ran a campaign aimed at his party's core support, promising tax cuts and frozen power rates. He also promised to end corporate handouts.
Although Baillie ran his first campaign as party leader, he isn't a newcomer to politics. The chartered accountant was once chief of staff to former Tory premier John Hamm.
Baillie, who won the party leadership in 2010, is looking to the future and predicting that voters are beginning to see the party in a new light.
"In a large part they have turned to the PC party as the party of the future and not of the past, and to me that's a great accomplishment, and I'm very proud of it," Baillie said.
Baillie won his own seat in the riding Cumberland South, a seat he first captured in a byelection in 2010.
Late in the campaign, Baillie turned his focus on the Liberals, accusing them of being too similar to the NDP.
After the results, Baillie congratulated Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil on winning a majority government.
"He has a big challenge ahead of him, and I wish him well," Baillie said.
Party president Janet Fryday Dorey said as Opposition, the party will work with a Liberal government.
"We will work with anybody, but with a clear understanding that Jamie has run this campaign on jobs and the economy, on lowering taxes for people and creating jobs and that's what we'll continue to work towards for the people of Nova Scotia."
Baillie also committed the Tories to reducing the size of the civil service by 10 per cent and cutting the number of health boards from 10 to three.