Global News is projecting that Bernadette Jordan, Nova Scotia’s sole federal cabinet minister, will be unseated by Conservative Rick Perkins in the 2021 Canada election.
The defeat of Jordan, who has held the South Shore-St. Margarets seat since 2015 and led the Fisheries and Oceans portfolio, is a major upset for the federal Liberals in Nova Scotia, which ended up losing two seats to the Conservatives on election night.
Jordan has faced criticism in the last couple of years over her handling of the province’s lobster fishery dispute between commercial fishers and Sipekne’katik fishers, who launched a self-regulated treaty fishery.
Her failure to find a resolution between the two parties was a major factor in her defeat, said Perkins.
“We have thousands of fishermen that work in this riding — it’s our No. 1 industry — and they were very upset with the way the Liberal government treated them over the last couple of years,” he told Global News.
“We’ve made it clear that we believe that all players in the fishery need to play by the same rules and that is something that hasn’t been happening over the last year during the lobster crisis.”
Perkins said he will work with all groups, including both Indigenous and commercial fishermen, “to find a path forward that brings everyone under the same set of rules and the same regulation through DFO.”
Jordan declined an interview with Global News Monday night.
As well, the province’s only Conservative incumbent, Chris d’Entremont, is projected to be re-elected in the riding of West Nova.
An upset for the Liberals
The Conservatives have already managed to unseat another prominent Liberal figure. In a rare flip, Stephen Ellis has been projected to win Cumberland-Colchester, unseating incumbent Lenore Zann, who was elected in 2019.
Zann told Global News earlier in the night that she would take a potential loss in stride.
“I stay calm until the outcome is announced, and then you have to accept it, whatever it is,” she said.
Ellis, who worked as a family physician for more than 20 years, said he wants to focus on improving health-care in the region in his new role.
“Health care is such a big issue in Nova Scotia. Every door we went to, that was their issue,” he said.
“I think that knowing there was someone there who knows the system really well, people were really open to that change.”
As of 1 a.m. Tuesday, Liberal incumbent Andy Fillmore was also maintaining a slim lead against NDP candidate Lisa Roberts in Halifax. Roberts had been hoping to reclaim the seat — a NDP stronghold prior to the red wave in 2015 — for her party.
The province, which has 11 federal ridings, has been largely Liberal since the 2015 red wave in Atlantic Canada. At dissolution, 10 seats were held by the Liberals and one seat was held by a Conservative.