HALIFAX — A bad night for the NDP turned into a bigger political disaster Tuesday for Premier Darrell Dexter, who lost his government and his seat in the Nova Scotia legislature.
Premier Darrell Dexter will be in Truro Saturday.
Dexter, 56, appeared surprised by the election outcome as he spoke to party supporters at a hotel in downtown Halifax.
“I didn’t see ... this kind of erosion,” he said as the NDP fell to third behind the Progressive Conservatives. “But in politics you have to deal with what’s in front of you and we’ll move forward.”
The Liberal sweep to a majority government was predicted by the polls, but in the final days of the campaign Dexter held out hope of an NDP victory by swinging undecided voters their way.
Dexter said he would consult with the party’s executive about his future as leader of the party.
A spokesman for Dexter said no decision had been made on whether he would seek a recount after he lost his riding of Cole Harbour-Portland Valley by 31 votes. Dexter has been a member of the legislature for 15 years.
After 4 1/2 years in office, Dexter blamed the economy for the defeat of Atlantic Canada’s first NDP government.
“We worked very hard in very difficult economic times,” he said. “This was a difficult time to be in government. ... I’m frankly very proud of the work we’ve done over the last four years and we’ll see how history judges it.”
Dexter blamed the economy for breaking a key promise early in his mandate when he hiked the harmonized sales tax by two percentage points.
During the campaign, Dexter asked voters for another chance to finish what they started, pointing to plans to build the next fleet of navy ships at the Halifax Shipyard.
His government also strongly backed Nova Scotia Power’s plan to tap into Muskrat Falls as a way of stabilizing electricity rates in the long term, which became a key issue in the campaign.