Independent candidate Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin has reclaimed her seat in the Nova Scotia legislature despite being ousted from the Progressive Conservative caucus in June after promoting a blockade that disrupted traffic on both sides of the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border.
She led a significant margin over Liberal candidate Bill Casey on Tuesday night and has been declared the victor.
Smith-McCrossin said she will work with whoever forms the next government, which will be her former boss, premier-designate Tim Houston of the Progressive Conservatives.
“Our voices have been heard,” said Smith-McCrossin in an interview with Global News about her election win.
She said the fact the people of Cumberland North re-elected her speaks volumes. Smith-McCrossin has been a vocal critic of the Liberal party.
“Cumberland North’s vote will be just as valuable as any other vote in the legislature,” she said.
It’s a major win for Smith-McCrossin, who now sits unaffiliated in the legislature. Her headquarters in Amherst had about 65 lively and excited supporters.
The crowd cheered every time Smith McCrossin appeared on television.
Bill Casey, a former federal MP, congratulated Smith-McCrossin in her victory on Tuesday night from the legion in Amherst.
“This is the most emotional campaign I’ve been in,” Casey told Global News.
He said he felt the border issues and blockade play a significant role in how the vote went.
“I’ve enjoyed the campaign … I enjoy politics,” he said.
Casey added he respects the vote but won’t rule out running again, saying possibly only three or four more times.
On June 22, the day before the so-called Atlantic bubble was set to begin, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin announced that people travelling from New Brunswick would have to follow a modified self-isolation. In response, Smith-McCrossin encouraged her constituents to form a blockade on the Trans-Canada Highway in protest.
The initial blockade was near Exit 7 of Highway 104 and protesters set up another near the border the next day, which led to traffic chaos, disrupted commerce and forced the cancellation of more than 100 medical appointments.
Lori Turnbull, a political analyst from Dalhousie University, said it will be interesting to see how Smith-McCrossin uses her power as the only Independent vote in the legislature.
She said voters will be able to see whether Houston will accept her as an asset or decide he doesn’t need her given the number of seats the PCs landed Tuesday night.