Encore Liberal again -- Wilson elected MLA for Clare Digby

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Published on October 09, 2013

Friends, family and supporters cheer for Gordon Wilson as he comes forward to thank them for their help about 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

Published on October 09, 2013

Gordon Wilson, MLA elect for Clare Digby thanks his family for all their help and support.

Published on October 09, 2013

Gordon Wilson, MLA elect for Clare Digby and Liberal association president Jean Melanson congratulate one another after Wilson’s win.

Published on October 09, 2013

Out-going Clare MLA Wayne Gaudet and co-chair of Gordon Wilson’s campaign was among the supporters at the Digby Curling Club Tuesday night, Oct. 8.

Published on October 09, 2013

Gordon Wilson thanks his mother Pat Potts for the great job she did as his official agent.

Published on October 09, 2013

Claredon Robicheau congratulates Gordon Wilson on his win.

Published on October 09, 2013

Former Digby mayor Frank Mackintosh congratulates Gordon Wilson at the curling club Tuesday night.

Published on October 09, 2013

Gordon Wilson shares a laugh with Lisa Wong and out-going Digby-Annapolis MLA Harold Theriault.

Published on October 09, 2013

Liberal candidate Gordon Wilson heads in to vote at the polling station at the offices of the Municipality of the District of Digby in Seabrook on Monday, Oct. 8.

Published on October 09, 2013

Gordon Wilson casts his ballot in the 2013 provincial election in Clare Digby. He said afterwards, it was the first time he had ever voted for himself for anything in his life.

Published on October 09, 2013

Gordon Wilson and his wife Deidre, left, were met at the polls Tuesday, Oct. 8 by a troop of friends and supporters.

Published on October 09, 2013

After casting their ballots, Gordon and Deidre Wilson had breakfast at Tim Horton’s.

Liberal candidate Gordon Wilson has been elected member of the legislative assembly for Clare Digby.

Wilson had 5,122 votes. PC candidate Paul Emile LeBlanc had 2,911 votes, NDP candidate Dean Kenley had 842 votes and Independent Ian Thurber had 492.

The Liberals swept to power under Stephen McNeil winning 33 of the 51 seats in the Legislature.

Wilson says it is encouraging to see that much support for himself and for the Liberal party in Nova Scotia.

“The people voted to hold the government accountable and responsible,” he said. “That’s encouraging because it means, going forward, we too have to be accountable and responsible to the constituents.”

Wilson says his goal going into the election was to win by one vote.

“I was running against a very good candidate from the Clare area,” he said. “We didn’t take anything for granted and that’s why we worked as hard as we did.”

Wilson says he’s excited to see McNeil step into the Premier’s job.

“We have a Premier who understands Nova Scotia, who understands small business and who understands rural Nova Scotia,” he said. “Stephen is a good honest man and I am proud to have him as our leader.”

Wilson met with supporters at the Digby Curling Rink shortly after 9 p.m.

He thanked his family for all their support and then the Clare Digby Liberal association.

“Our two associations came together in a forced marriage, that’s what it was,” he told the crowd, referring to the provincial riding review that put Clare and Digby together into one riding.

“But we became a family and that’s where it all started,” he said pointing to association president Jean Melanson.

Wilson also thanked the two out going Liberal MLA’s, Harold Theriault and Wayne Gaudet for their help and support.

“They taught me what people expect of an MLA,” he said. “They taught me being an MLA is about helping people, it’s about listening to people, it’s answering the phone calls. It’s about returning phone calls even when you have hard answers.”

Wilson told the crowd of supporters that Clare Digby is the Liberal heart of Nova Scotia.

The Digby County ridings have voted Liberal for most of the last 40 years.

Since 1970 Nova Scotia has had 13 elections. The Digby area voted Liberal 10 times including this one and the Clare area has voted Liberal 11 times.


Where to put the constituency office(s)?

Wilson says one of the biggest concerns he heard on the doorsteps of Clare Digby was that people still wanted to have access to their MLA.

“It’s a huge riding,” he said. “Not only does it take 2 ½ hours to drive from one end to the other but the cultural diversity adds to the complexity of representing the constituents.

“The rules only allow us to have one office but they changed the rules for this riding. In order for an MLA to do their job the people need to have access to them.

“Whether I get funding for two offices or one and a half, that’s a fight I’ll start tomorrow,” he said.

Wilson says he isn’t worried about his ability to represent the Acadian half of the riding.

“I’ve yet to find language as a barrier to understanding the issues in the Clare area,” he said.

Wilson has been taking courses at the Universite de Saint Anne to improve his French.

Wilson says, while he knows “there are no silver bullets”, he will be focussing on job creation; supporting small business; working to ensure the tidal industry servicing happens here; and recruiting doctors to rural Nova Scotia.

Transitioning out of old job

Wilson is also transitioning out of his old job as deputy CAO of the Municipality of the District of Digby.

He spent the day after the election, Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the municipality offices tieing up loose ends, and over the next few weeks he will be spending a day or two a week at the municipal offices to help with the transition of his replacement.

He and his wife Deidre had planned to spend a weekend catching their breath before he starts in as MLA in earnest.

“It’s probably the only chance we’ll have until Christmas,” he had said Tuesday night, before learning Wednesday he was to attend a caucus meeting in Halifax.


Organizations: Clare Digby Liberal association

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Clare, Digby County Halifax

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