2003 Nova Scotia general election
The 36th Nova Scotia general election was held on August 5, 2003 to elect members of the 59th House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The ruling Progressive Conservative Party, led by Premier John Hamm, was reduced to a minority government; the election was called by Progressive Conservatives, who decided to hold a rare summer election in the hope of strengthening their hold on the legislature. Running against them were the New Democratic Party, led by Darrell Dexter, the Liberal Party, led by Danny Graham. Hamm's party ran on a policy of fiscal management, tax cuts, on their record of fulfilling most of their promises. While the NDP agreed in principle to tax cuts, their main cause was the creation of a public auto insurance company; the Liberals were the only party to criticize the tax cuts. For the most part, the campaign was uneventful. Hamm received criticism for a great number of spending programs, including a $150 tax rebate cheque sent to Nova Scotians right before the election.
The party was criticized for holding an election in the summer when most people have other concerns. Darrell Dexter's friendly, non-confrontational style, was popular with many voters, was a marked change from his party's strident socialism. Danny Graham, a young leader, failed to make much of a mark; the election was considered a mild failure for the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, something of a success for the NDP. This election is notable for being one of the last Canadian provincial elections in which British subjects could vote; the Marijuana Party did not contest the 1999 general election. LiberalDon Downe, Lunenburg West Jim Smith, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage Paul MacEwan, Cape Breton NovaProgressive ConservativeNeil LeBlanc, Argyle Muriel Baillie, Pictou WestNew DemocraticRobert Chisholm, Halifax Atlantic John Holm, Sackville-Cobequid List of Nova Scotia general elections List of Nova Scotia political parties Government of Nova Scotia. "Summary Results from 1867 to 2011". Elections Statistics.
Elections Nova Scotia. Retrieved 2013-10-01. CBC Nova Scotia Votes 2003 Halifax Herald 2003 election website via Internet Archive
Social democracy is a political and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties and their influence on socioeconomic policy development in the Nordic countries, in policy circles social democracy has become associated with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century. Social democracy originated as a political ideology that advocated an evolutionary and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism using established political processes in contrast to the revolutionary approach to transition associated with orthodox Marxism.
In the early post-war era in Western Europe, social democratic parties rejected the Stalinist political and economic model current in the Soviet Union, committing themselves either to an alternative path to socialism or to a compromise between capitalism and socialism. In this period, social democrats embraced a mixed economy based on the predominance of private property, with only a minority of essential utilities and public services under public ownership; as a result, social democracy became associated with Keynesian economics, state interventionism and the welfare state while abandoning the prior goal of replacing the capitalist system with a qualitatively different socialist economic system. With the rise of popularity for neoliberalism and the New Right by the 1980s, most social democratic parties have incorporated Third Way ideology, which aims to fuse liberal economics with social democratic welfare policies. Modern social democracy is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, oppression of underprivileged groups and poverty, including support for universally accessible public services like care for the elderly, child care, health care and workers' compensation.
The social democratic movement has strong connections with the labour movement and trade unions which are supportive of collective bargaining rights for workers as well as measures to extend decision-making beyond politics into the economic sphere in the form of co-determination for employees and other economic stakeholders. During late 19th and early 20th centuries, social democracy was a movement that aimed to replace private ownership with social ownership of the means of production, taking influences from both Marxism and the supporters of Ferdinand Lassalle. By 1868–1869, Marxism had become the official theoretical basis of the first social democratic party established in Europe, the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany. In the early 20th century, the German social democratic politician Eduard Bernstein rejected the ideas in classical and orthodox Marxism that proposed a specific historical progression and revolution as a means to achieve social equality, advanced the position that socialism should be grounded in ethical and moral arguments for social justice and egalitarianism, was to be achieved through gradual legislative reform.
Influenced by Bernstein, following the split between reformists and revolutionary socialists in the Second International social democratic parties rejected revolutionary politics in favor of parliamentary reform while remaining committed to socialization. In this period, social democracy became associated with reformist socialism. Under the influence of politicians like Carlo Rosselli in Italy, social democrats began disassociating themselves from Marxism altogether and embraced liberal socialism, appealing to morality instead of any consistent systematic, scientific or materialist worldview. Social democracy made appeals to communitarian and sometimes nationalist sentiments while rejecting the economic and technological determinism characteristic of both Marxism and economic liberalism. By the post-World War II period, most social democrats in Europe had abandoned their ideological connection to Marxism and shifted their emphasis toward social policy reform in place of transition from capitalism to socialism.
The origins of social democracy have been traced to the 1860s, with the rise of the first major working-class party in Europe, the General German Workers' Association founded by Ferdinand Lassalle. 1864 saw the founding of the International Workingmen's Association known as the First International. It brought together socialists of various stances and occasioned a conflict between Karl Marx and the anarchists led by Mikhail Bakunin over the role of the state in socialism, with Bakunin rejecting any role for the state. Another issue in the First International was the role of reformism. Although Lassalle was not a Marxist, he was influenced by the theories of Marx and Friedrich Engels and he accepted the existence and importance of class struggle. However, unlike Marx's and Engels's The Communist Manifesto, Lassalle promoted class struggle in a more moderate form. While Marx viewed the state negatively as an instrument of class rule that should only exist temporarily upon the rise to power of the proletariat and dismantled, Lassalle accepted the state.
Lassalle viewed the state as a means through which workers could enhance their interests and transform the society to create an economy based on worker-run cooperatives. Lassalle's strategy was electoral and reformist, with Lassalleans contending that the working c
Graham J. Steele is a Canadian lawyer and former politician, having represented the constituency of Halifax Fairview in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 2001-2013 for the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party. A native of Winnipeg, Steele graduated with a BA from the University of Manitoba and was recipient of the Governor General's Silver Medal. Steele received a Rhodes Scholarship and attended St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, graduating in 1986 with a degree in philosophy and economics. Steele moved to Halifax in fall 1986 to attend Dalhousie Law School and graduated with an LLB in 1989. Steele practised law with Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales in Halifax from 1989-1993 and was General Counsel to the Nova Scotia Workers Compensation Board from 1993-1998. Steele was Research Director for the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party's caucus office from 1998-2001. Steele has done workshops in Montenegro and Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Middle East for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
In 2001 Steele ran for the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party nomination in the riding of Halifax Fairview. He was elected in a by-election in March 2001. Steele was re-elected in the 2006 and 2009 provincial elections. While in official opposition, Steele served as the NDP's critic for Finance, Acadian Affairs, Insurance Act, Treasury and Policy Board, he served as Deputy House Leader. During this time, Steele served on the Select Committee on Democratic Participation and was Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. On June 19, 2009, Steele was appointed to the Executive Council of Nova Scotia where he served as Minister of Finance as well as Minister of Acadian Affairs. On May 30, 2012, Steele resigned from cabinet and announced that he would not be re-offering in the next election. Steele was appointed an honorary member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia on May 31, 2012. Steele was re-appointed to the Executive Council of Nova Scotia on May 10, 2013 where he took over as Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, as well as Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs following the resignation of Percy Paris.
Steele served in the Executive Council of Nova Scotia until October 22, 2013. He became a broadcaster on CBC Information Morning. In September 2014, he released a memoir called What I Learned About Politics: Inside the Rise — and Collapse – of Nova Scotia’s NDP Government; the book was a shortlisted nominee for the 2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Steele teaches at the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University. Steele is an Esperantist, having offered part of his legislative website in Esperanto, has commemorated Nova Scotia Esperantists in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, he is married to Tilly Pillay and they have two children. New Books Network audio interview with Graham Steele on his book What I learned About Politics
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was a social-democratic and democratic socialist political party in Canada. The CCF was founded in 1932 in Calgary, Alberta, by a number of socialist, agrarian, co-operative, labour groups, the League for Social Reconstruction. In 1944, the CCF formed the first social-democratic government in North America when it was elected to form the provincial government in Saskatchewan. In 1961, the CCF was succeeded by the New Democratic Party; the full, but little used, name of the party was Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. The CCF aimed to alleviate the suffering that workers and farmers, the ill and the old endure under capitalism, seen most starkly during the Great Depression, through the creation of a Co-operative Commonwealth, which would entail economic co-operation, public ownership of the economy, political reform; the object of the political party as reported at its founding meeting in Calgary in 1932 was "the federation of organizations whose purpose is the establishment in Canada of a co-operative commonwealth, in which the basic principle of regulating production and exchange will be the supplying of human needs instead of the making of profit."The goal of the CCF was defined as a "community freed from the domination of irresponsible financial and economic power in which all social means of production and distribution, including land, are owned and controlled either by voluntarily organized groups of producers and consumers or – in the case of major public services and utilities and such productive and distributive enterprises as can be conducted most efficiently when owned in common – by public corporations responsible to the people's elected representatives".
Many of the party's first Members of Parliament were members of the Ginger Group, composed of United Farmers of Alberta, left-wing Progressive, Labour MPs. These MPs included United Farmers of Alberta MPs William Irvine and Ted Garland, Agnes Macphail, Humphrey Mitchell, Abraham Albert Heaps, Angus MacInnis, Labour Party MP J. S. Woodsworth. Involved in founding the new party were members of the League for Social Reconstruction, such as F. R. Scott and Frank Underhill, it can be said that the CCF was founded on May 26, 1932, when the Ginger Group MPs and LSR members met in William Irvine's office, the unofficial caucus meeting room for the Ginger Group, went about forming the basis of the new party. J. S. Woodsworth was unanimously appointed the temporary leader until they could hold a founding convention; the temporary name for the new party was the Commonwealth Party. At its founding convention in 1932 in Calgary, the party settled on the name "Co-operative Commonwealth Federation" and selected J. S. Woodsworth as party leader.
Woodsworth had been an Independent Labour Party MP since 1921 and a member of the Ginger Group of MPs. The party's 1933 convention, held in Regina, adopted the Regina Manifesto as the party's program; the manifesto outlined a number of goals, including public ownership of key industries, universal public pensions, universal health care, children's allowances, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation. Its conclusion read, "No CCF Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Co-operative Commonwealth." The party affiliated to the Socialist International. In line with Alberta's important role in founding the CCF, it is said that the first CCF candidate elected was Chester Ronning in the Alberta provincial constituency of Camrose, in October 1932; the UFA, under whose banner he contested the election, formalized its already-strong connection to the CCF in its next provincial convention, in January 1933.
In its first federal election, seven CCF MPs were elected to the House of Commons in 1935. Eight were elected in the following election in 1940, including their first member east of Manitoba, Clarence Gillis, in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton South district; the party was divided with the outbreak of World War II: Woodsworth was a passionate pacifist, this upset many supporters of the Canadian war effort. Woodsworth had a physically debilitating stroke in May 1940 and could no longer perform his duties as leader. In October, Woodsworth wrote a letter to the 1940 CCF convention, in essence asking to retire from the leadership. Instead, the delegates created the new position of Honorary President, abolished the President's position and re-elected M. J. Coldwell as the National Chairman. Coldwell was appointed acting House Leader on 6 November. Woodsworth died on 21 March 1942, Coldwell became the new leader at the July convention in Toronto and threw the party's support behind the war effort; as a memorial to Woodsworth, Coldwell suggested that the CCF create a research foundation, Woodsworth House was established in Toronto for that purpose.
The party won a critical York South by-election on 8 February 1942, in the process prevented the Conservative leader, former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen, from entering the House of Commons. In the 1945 election, 28 CCF MPs were elected, the party won 15.6% of the vote. However, the party was to have its greatest success in provincial politics in the 1940s. In 1943, the Ontario CCF became the official opposition in that province, in 1944 the Saskatchewan CCF formed the first democratic socialist government in North America, with Tommy Douglas as premier. Douglas introduced universal Medicare to Saskatchewan, a policy, soon adopted by other provinces and implemented nationally by
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres, including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands; as of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre. "Nova Scotia" means "New Scotland" in Latin and is the recognized English-language name for the province. In both French and Scottish Gaelic, the province is directly translated as "New Scotland". In general and Slavic languages use a direct translation of "New Scotland", while most other languages use direct transliterations of the Latin / English name; the province was first named in the 1621 Royal Charter granting to Sir William Alexander in 1632 the right to settle lands including modern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and the Gaspé Peninsula.
Nova Scotia is Canada's smallest province in area after Prince Edward Island. The province's mainland is the Nova Scotia peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, including numerous bays and estuaries. Nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 67 km from the ocean. Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotia mainland, is part of the province, as is Sable Island, a small island notorious for its shipwrecks 175 km from the province's southern coast. Nova Scotia has many ancient fossil-bearing rock formations; these formations are rich on the Bay of Fundy's shores. Blue Beach near Hantsport, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, on the Bay of Fundy's shores, has yielded an abundance of Carboniferous-age fossils. Wasson's Bluff, near the town of Parrsboro, has yielded both Triassic- and Jurassic-age fossils; the province contains 5,400 lakes. Nova Scotia lies in the mid-temperate zone and, although the province is surrounded by water, the climate is closer to continental climate rather than maritime.
The winter and summer temperature extremes of the continental climate are moderated by the ocean. However, winters are cold enough to be classified as continental—still being nearer the freezing point than inland areas to the west; the Nova Scotian climate is in many ways similar to the central Baltic Sea coast in Northern Europe, only wetter and snowier. This is true in spite of Nova Scotia's being some fifteen parallels south. Areas not on the Atlantic coast experience warmer summers more typical of inland areas, winter lows a little colder. Described on the provincial vehicle licence plate as Canada's Ocean Playground, Nova Scotia is surrounded by four major bodies of water: the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the north, the Bay of Fundy to the west, the Gulf of Maine to the southwest, Atlantic Ocean to the east; the province includes regions of the Mi'kmaq nation of Mi'kma'ki. The Mi'kmaq people inhabited Nova Scotia at the time the first European colonists arrived. In 1605, French colonists established the first permanent European settlement in the future Canada at Port Royal, founding what would become known as Acadia.
The British conquest of Acadia took place in 1710. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 formally recognized this and returned Cape Breton Island to the French. Present-day New Brunswick still formed a part of the French colony of Acadia. After the capture of Port Royal in 1710, Francis Nicholson announced it would be renamed Annapolis Royal in honor of Queen Anne. In 1749, the capital of Nova Scotia moved from Annapolis Royal to the newly established Halifax. In 1755 the vast majority of the French population was forcibly removed in the Expulsion of the Acadians. In 1763, most of Acadia became part of Nova Scotia. In 1769, St. John's Island became a separate colony. Nova Scotia included present-day New Brunswick until that province's establishment in 1784, after the arrival of United Empire Loyalists. In 1867, Nova Scotia became one of the four founding provinces of the Canadian Confederation; the warfare on Nova Scotian soil during the 17th and 18th centuries influenced the history of Nova Scotia. The Mi'kmaq had lived in Nova Scotia for centuries.
The French arrived in 1604, Catholic Mi'kmaq and Acadians formed the majority of the population of the colony for the next 150 years. During the first 80 years the French and Acadians lived in Nova Scotia, nine significant military clashes took place as the English and Scottish and French fought for possession of the area; these encounters happened at Port Royal, Saint John, Cap de Sable and Baleine. The Acadian Civil War took place from 1640 to 1645. Beginning with King William's War in 1688, six wars took place in Nova Scotia before the British defeated the French and made peace with the Mi'kmaq: King William's War, Queen Anne's War, Father Rale's War, King George's War, Father Le Loutre’s War The Seven Years' War called the French and Indian War The battles during these wars took place Port Royal, Saint John, Chignecto, Dartmouth and Grand-Pré. Despite the British conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained occupied
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
Darrell Elvin Dexter is a Canadian lawyer and former naval officer who served as the 27th Premier of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia from 2009 to 2013. A member of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party, he served as party leader from 2001 to 2013, he became Premier in 2009 after his party defeated the governing Progressive Conservative Party, leading the first NDP government in Atlantic Canada and the second east of Manitoba. His government was defeated in the 2013 election, becoming the first Nova Scotia government in 131 years to be denied a second mandate. Dexter now serves as a lobbyist for the marijuana industry. Darrell Dexter was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Elvin, a steel metal worker, Florence Dexter and grew up in the rural community of Milton in Queens County, he was the first member of his family to go to university. Dexter volunteered for Alexa McDonough in her 1979 federal election campaign. Dexter holds degrees in education and law from Dalhousie University, a degree in journalism from the University of King's College.
He used his journalism degree for a period as a reporter for The Daily News in the early 1980s. Dexter served in the Canadian Forces holding the rank of Sub-Lieutenant and was a Combat Information Officer on board HMCS Yukon and HMCS Qu'Appelle while deployed with Maritime Forces Pacific. Dexter was a practicing lawyer, he was first elected as a Dartmouth City Councilor, serving from 1994 to 1996. A former Chair and member Board of the Dartmouth Downtown Development Corporation, Dexter was once a member of the Dartmouth General Hospital Commission, Chair of the Dartmouth Common Committee, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Victorian Order of Nurses, a member of the Community Planning Association. In September 2015, Dexter joined Global Public Affairs as Vice Chair. Dexter is married to Kelly Wilson and together they have one son. Dexter was elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature as MLA for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour in 1998 and served as critic for Economic Development and Health, he was re-elected in 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2009.
Dexter became the 8th leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in June 2001 when he took over as interim leader after Helen MacDonald stepped down. He won with 63 % of the vote. In Dexter's first provincial campaign in 2003, the NDP campaign trailed in third place in many polls and was in danger of losing seats; the NDP looked to consolidate its strong support in the Metro Halifax area, make gains in the conservative rural mainland and Cape Breton. Dexter campaigned to form Crown Corporation for car insurance to lower premiums by 50%, paying for health coverage in nursing homes, reducing waiting lists for surgeries and diagnostic tests, removing the provincial portion of the HST on home heating oil, increase classroom resources for public schools, freezing tuition fees for Nova Scotia universities for a year while introducing a student debt relief plan, maintaining balanced budgets. On election night and the NDP did make small gains in the popular vote and won four more seats, including two in Dartmouth, one in Cape Breton and one in Pictou County, the Progressive Conservative government of John Hamm was reduced to a minority administration.
The MacDonald Government called an election for June 13, 2006, Dexter was once again the NDP's candidate for Premier. At the outset, most pollsters had the NDP at the same level of support it had in 2003 30% and behind the Tories in second place. Dexter campaigned on a platform to improve services for seniors, lowering the cost of heating oil for homes, a 10% cut in post-secondary education tuition, subsidized child care and public auto insurance. Dexter performance in the leaders' debate was improved in the eyes of many pundits; the NDP did make major gains on election day. The party gained five seats for a total of the party's best performance in its history. Dexter was re-elected in his own seat of Cole Harbour with 59.5%. The NDP gained 4% of the popular vote to 34.5%. The NDP won seats in the South Shore region of Nova Scotia, an area where it had not performed well specifically Shelburne and Queens. Dexter was Opposition Leader to both Conservative Premier John Rodney MacDonald, he credited his ability to work with Hamm to get things done as the reason for the NDP increase in seats in the 2006 election.
Within a few months of the 2006 election, the NDP took a lead in the opinion polls, has held it since. In Dexter's third provincial campaign in 2009, the NDP campaign led in many polls and was on target to win a minority government; the NDP looked to hold its support in the Metro Halifax area, make gains on the South Shore and rural mainland Nova Scotia. Dexter campaigned on a document called Better Deal 2009 which came with 50 promises to be completed over 4 years, focused on 7 key commitments of creating new jobs, helping to keep emergency rooms open, taking the HST off of home electricity, fixing rural roads, helping seniors, giving young people a reason to stay in the province, more renewable energy. On June 9, 2009, Dexter was elected the first NDP premier of Nova Scotia with a majority of the seats in the Nova Scotia legislature, they held their support in Halifax and Cape Breton, expanded their base on the South Shore and suburban Halifax. The NDP won in the Annapolis Valley and Central Nova Scotia for the first time, winning the seats of Kings North, Kings South, Truro-Bible Hill, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and Cumberland North.
Dexter's party won the general election held on June 9, 2009 and bec