Nova Scotia NDP meet after electoral defeat

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By Aly Thompson - The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter held his last formal cabinet and caucus meetings Tuesday after the NDP’s defeat in the provincial election, saying he will now take some time for personal reflection but has no immediate plans to resign as party leader.

NDP leader Darrell Dexter gives a speech to party supporters at the Lord Nelson on Tuesday night.

“For me, I haven’t had a lot of time for self-reflection. I’m going to take the opportunity to do that and we’ll see,” said Dexter.

“The path of life is often not a straight one.”

Dexter, 56, lost his own Halifax-area seat of Cole Harbour-Portland Valley as the NDP were relegated to third-party status with seven elected members. The Liberals took 33 of the legislature’s 51 seats in last Tuesday’s vote, while the Progressive Conservatives won 11 ridings to form the official Opposition.

Prior to entering provincial politics in 1998, Dexter was a command information officer in the navy and a lawyer in the Halifax area.

He said he plans to meet with premier-designate Stephen McNeil to discuss the transition.

“I want to hand over some little advice for him and to wish them all well,” he said.

Dexter said his cabinet discussed their experiences on the doorsteps of voters at their final meeting. Several cabinet ministers, including Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker and Education Minister Ramona Jennex, were ousted last week.

“We all came together to do a job, and that’s now over, so we move on to what’s next,” Dexter said.

Justice Minister Ross Landry, who lost his Pictou Centre seat last week, said he left the caucus meeting with mixed emotions.

“I’m sad in the one sense but joyous in another because I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life and I’m very proud of the work we did as a government,” said Landry, adding that he’ll focus on biking and exercising in the coming months.

Landry said the public had high expectations of the first NDP government in Atlantic Canada. He said he respects the decision of Nova Scotia voters, but contends four years wasn’t enough time to achieve what the party wanted.

“When you look at the economy and the direction we were coming from, I think history will probably show us to be very astute when it comes to financial management and trying to get a foundation built for Nova Scotia to move forward,” he said.

“I think that’s a very positive step forward and maybe didn’t resonant with the public at this time, but given some time in history, we’ll probably have a positive perspective.”

Organizations: NDP, Progressive Conservatives, Pictou Centre

Geographic location: Halifax, Cole Harbour-Portland Valley, Nova Scotia Atlantic Canada

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