Jordan retains South Shore seat

by Charles Mandel

  • <p>File photo</p><p>Bernadette Jordan.</p>

Victory wasn't guaranteed, but it was undoubtedly extra sweet for Liberal incumbent Bernadette Jordan, a cabinet minister in the Trudeau government, who decisively beat Conservative challenger Rick Perkins on October 21.

If Jordan faced any liability, it may well have been her own boss, Trudeau, who stumbled badly leading up and during the election with scandals over SNC-Lavelin, and for wearing black face, not once, not twice, but three times.

Despite the misgivings voters may have had over returning a Liberal cabinet minister over the Trudeau government's issues such as the purchase of the TransCanada pipeline, South Shore-St. Margaret's electorate decided to give Jordan another chance.

She won't be able to coast on her victory, however. Voters in the largely rural area encompassing Lunenburg County among others, will expect her to deliver on hard-to-fulfill promises such as the delivery of high-speed rural internet, and the clean-up of abandoned boats in Feltzen South and Bridgewater.

Challenger Perkins was a former MP parliamentary assistant, senior policy advisor, and executive assistant to MP Barbara McDougall. Among his campaign promises, Perkins - parroting the Conservative platform - said he would remove the carbon tax and clean fuel taxes of the Liberal government.

Likely that did not resonate with South Shore voters, many of whom live in communities bordering the ocean and who are concerned over the impact of the climate crisis on their towns.

The NDP's Jessika Hepburn finished a distant third, her effectiveness hampered by a split vote with the Green candidate.

Before the dissolution of Parliament September 11 for the election, Jordan was named Canada's new Minister of Rural Economic Development on January 14, which was a new portfolio in Trudeau's cabinet.

Jordan was previously parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions.

As the Minister of Rural Economic Development, Jordan's responsibilities are to oversee the creation of a rural development strategy to spur economic growth and create good, middle class jobs in rural Canada, according to a government web post.

"She will also take action to bring high-speed internet to more rural households and businesses, and work with municipalities, provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners to meet the unique and diverse infrastructure needs of rural communities."

Jordan became the first female minister to represent a federal riding in Nova Scotia in Canadian history.

The portfolio change came amid a cabinet shuffle that followed in the wake of the announcement by Scott Brison, the MP for Kings-Hants and president of the Treasury Board, that he was resigning.

Jordan was a development officer for the Health Services Foundation in Bridgewater Nova Scotia, before her election as the South Shore-St. Margaret's MP in October 2015.

In her role as an MP, she helped advance legislation that prohibits abandonment of sea vessels.

Jordan became the first woman named chairwoman of the standing committee on fisheries and oceans and, in 2018, was given her parliamentary secretary posting.

In the previous election, Jordan was the only woman elected in the Liberal surge that turned Nova Scotia Liberal red. She won with 57 per cent of the vote.

Jordan became the first Liberal candidate to win the riding since Derek Wells in 1993, and the first woman to win the riding ever.

When Parliament dissolved on September 11, 2019 for the election the Liberals held 177 seats, the Tories 95, and the NDP 39, with the remainder divided among the other parties and independent candidates.

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