GUYSBOROUGH: It wasn’t even the slimmest margin of victory in his 29-year political career, but Lloyd Hines is not likely to forget the seesaw battle that marked his latest provincial election victory.
The Liberal incumbent for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie traded leads with PC candidate Rob Wolf for over two-and-a-half hours, with as few as five votes separating the two men on two separate occasions, before Hines eked out an 83-vote decision over Wolf to retain the seat, according to unofficial results from Elections Nova Scotia.
The final tally saw Hines, the Minister of Natural Resources in re-elected Premier Stephen McNeil’s most recent cabinet, taking 2,515 ballots, or 43 per cent of the vote, as compared to Wolf’s 2,432 votes, representing 42 per cent of the ballots cast in the riding.
NDP candidate Marney Simmons, a federal party candidate in 2011 and the former mayor of Mulgrave, finished third with 880 votes, representing 15 per cent of the total ballots cast.
Speaking to The Reporter at his home in Guysborough, Hines recalled that his first run for public office in 1988 saw him claim the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s District 1 by only four votes. However, the former MODG Warden marveled at Tuesday night’s seesaw battle and the 30-day campaign that preceded it.
“You just never know, when you’re doing this job – you try to do your best and you try to read what people are looking for, but you can’t tell,” Hines remarked.
“As a government, we did not turn away or flinch from tough issues, and we dealt with them in the best interest of Nova Scotians to try to wrest back fiscal control of our province. And in doing that, we confronted unions, and I would say that we’re seeing the statement that unions have made across the province in this situation.”
While Hines’ vote count decreased by 361 from his first election victory in 2013, he spoke with optimism about the future of Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and noted that, after a few days of post-campaign vacationing with his family, he is anxious to get back to work.
“In this particular riding, we’ve got four major projects that are boiling on the pot – some of them have been around for quite a bit of time, but they are near ready to get out of the box,” he predicted.
“I think we are poised to do exactly what we’re saying and to unleash the province’s natural value and unlock that value for Nova Scotians. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
However, Hines expressed disappointment with the low voter turnout in his constituency, which plunged from 71.68 per cent in 2013 to 57.85 per cent on May 30, reflecting a steep province-wide drop in voter participation. He also added that, despite the Liberals’ return to power, the party has work to do in terms of regaining and retaining voter support in the future.
“We’re just going to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, but we’re probably going to do it with more vigour, because we need to win back those votes that we didn’t get tonight,” Hines declared.