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Tories shut out of Newfoundland

Premier Danny Williams got his wish for a total Tory shutout in Newfoundland and Labrador tonight.

The Liberals won six of the province’s seven seats and the NDP won one. The only Conservative candidate whom polls indicated might stand a chance, incumbent Fabian Manning in the riding of Avalon, was beat by Liberal Scott Andrews with ten percent of the vote share.

Given the fact that the party lost two incumbents this year and Conservative support has “fallen through the floor,” it’s not surprising, said Alex Marland, a political science professor at Memorial University in St. John’s.

The Liberals lost only three seats in the Atlantic provinces, down to 17 from 20 in 2006, indicating a carbon tax was not a huge concern for many voters.

“Judging from what I’ve heard in the media and in my classroom, it’s not on the tips of people’s tongues,” said Marland.

Although Williams' ABC (Anyone But Conservative) campaign in his own province gained national attention, some say it was akin to preaching to the choir.

“A lot of people weren’t very happy with the Harper government in the first place,” said Marland.

“Out here…people wouldn’t even want to identify with the conservatives or tell other people that they’re voting Conservative. It’s like someone in Alberta saying they’re voting NDP.”

“They feel [Harper] broke a promise,” said Dave Bartlett, a political reporter for The Telegram newspaper in St. John’s, referring to Harper’s promise as Opposition leader that he would remove non-renewable oil revenue from the calculation of transfer payments to the province.

That wasn’t the case in all of the Atlantic provinces. The Central Nova riding in Nova Scotia was one of the “nail-biters,” said Robert Finbow, chair of the political science department at Dalhousie University in Halifax, with Green Party leader Elizabeth May running against incumbent Conservative Peter MacKay.

In the end, despite May’s high profile, MacKay took 46.6 per cent of the vote share and May garnered only 32.24 per cent. Nova Scotia elected the only independent seat in the Maritimes, incumbent Bill Casey.

New Brunswick voters elected six Conservatives, the most of any Atlantic province.

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