Justin Trudeau's beachhead in Nova Scotia - Macleans.ca

Justin Trudeau’s beachhead in Nova Scotia

Former student leader wins big in Yarmouth re-election


Zach Churchill in 2008. (Dave Chidley/CP)

“You can’t change the macro-economic climate of the province, the country or the world, but we can hopefully make positive steps towards our goals.”—Zach Churchill, a Liberal MLA in Yarmouth, N.S. who was re-elected with 82% of the vote

Zach Churchill used to be a screaming maniac at Saint Mary’s Huskies football games. Now, he’s the kind of guy who wins re-election to the Nova Scotia legislature with 82 per cent of the vote. Quite a ride for the former student leader who still counts himself among the under-30 set.

Churchill has always been careful with his words. He lived in Ottawa for a couple of years, and spent plenty of time on Parliament Hill. When he was the national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and I was a reporter with Canadian University Press, we spoke frequently about tuition, student loans, and whatever else lay within the association’s various lobbying efforts and pre-budget submissions. He wore a lot of suits.

Churchill was always cautious, careful not to misspeak. His counterparts at the Canadian Federation of Students, the larger student lobby, were less guarded. The organizations enjoyed a famous rivalry, though maybe enjoyed is the wrong word, and they fought for the attention of politicians and reporters.

Whatever the merits of Churchill’s approach, his two years as CASA’s national director obviously paid dividends. In 2010, when he was elected in a Yarmouth by-election with over 50 per cent of the vote, Churchill’s portfolios included advanced education and youth. He was 26 years old. Now, he’s 29. Last night, he won 68 per cent more votes than his nearest competitor. Nobody else in his party thumped their opponents so handily. And now, after three years in opposition, Churchill sits on the government benches.

Now, take a look at Twitter. Take a look at Churchill’s profile photo. Spot the name on his sweater. Now, draw your own conclusions about what this all means for Churchill’s federal cousins.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail The Ontario government spent $1 billion to cancel two gas-fired plants.
National Post Sen. Mike Duffy allegedly paid a friend $65,000 for “no tangible work.”
Toronto Star Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted the gas-plant cancellations were a mistake.
Ottawa Citizen The RCMP want to know where Duffy’s $65,000 payment ended up.
CBC News Government critics wonder why Canada would spy on Brazil.
CTV News Nova Scotia’s Liberals won a majority government on Tuesday night.
National Newswatch Five interesting facts about Mike Duffy’s alleged improprieties.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Corruption. Disgraced former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt has been accused of meddling inappropriately in a municipal election campaign. His former ally on city council, Claire Le Bel, told police—and then Radio-Canada—that she was approached by the former mayor in August. At the time, he allegedly offered her inappropriate cash donors.
THE GLOBAL Migrant death. Divers continue to recover bodies off the coast of Italy’s Lampedusa Island, many inside the hull of a sunk smugglers’ ship that carried Eritrean refugees. The coast guard has recovered 275 bodies, including 80 women and eight children. Only six of the 155 survivors are women. Prosecutors detained a man who may have been the ship’s captain.
THE QUIRKY Elk. Ottawa’s light rail line and a pair of arterial roads closed when authorities attempted to tranquilize, and eventually shot dead, an elk that had wandered into the nation’s capital. Police feared that the 800-pound beast, which was showing signs of aggression, would rampage through the streets. That public safety hazard led to the fatal shooting.


Justin Trudeau’s beachhead in Nova Scotia

  1. Churchill is fine. But Vlad the Impaler would have won in Yarmouth after
    the NDP refused to subsidize a ferry service to Maine and then rushed
    to offer subsidies to pulp mills, shipyards, windmill builders, fish farms,
    and, most famously, Irvings all over the rest of the province.

  2. Oh yeah, definitely a beachhead.
    There can be little doubt that the 4000 odd people who voted for Zach ( sorry, that should be The Honourable Zach ) were really voting for Justin and were only the beginnings of a Fundy tidal wave that will sweep the nation.The fact that Zach captured the NDP vote by moving to their left by using the Layton Shame, the fact that this tiny riding has a tradition of voting for the perceived winner in order to maximize handouts, and the fact that there is more voters in a 3 block radius of parts of 905, well this means nothing when beachhead needs to be used in a headline.

      • So why didn`t you say just that in your post !
        Seriously, It`s always a relief when the likes of kcm2 doesn`t do a follow up agreeing with me because he doesn`t recognize that the only response to a wildly bizarre scenario is wildly bizarre sarcasm.

        • I guess it was just implied. Churchill’s a young guy, he’s publicly decked out in Trudeau gear (on Twitter, anyway), and he increased his winning percentage by 30 points over 2010. There’s no way the popular guy in Ottawa didn’t account for some of that.

          I haven’t asked him, but I’d suggest Trudeau won’t ignore a guy like Churchill sitting there in Yarmouth.

          • But seriously, the reasons why the voters will vote for Trudeau in parts of Atlantic Canada doesn`t even register on the minds of most of the rest of the country. Trudeau will sweep the Yarmouths of the country but I don`t think the immigrant vote , the job-career seeking voters, the dependent on the –continued prosperity of the West– vote, the small c conservative vote will not dare see him as PM.

    • 4000 odd? Actually 8211, with 74% of eligible voters showing up. Nice try though. Facts can be helpful. ;-)

      • Are you sure Zach?
        Even with most of the NDP votes you still show less then 7000, but hey i was just tossing out an estimate. You said you had the Facts.

  3. Wow, a Liberal from NS who supports Trust Fund Trudeau? That has absolutely got to be a sign that the Liberals will win the next election handily. I mean, a Liberal supporting a Liberal, that’s really shocking news!

    • It’s worth mentioning that Liberals have a long history of not supporting Liberals.

      • Yes .. folks who can come away from an enquiry with eyes wide open by the looks of it – who could critizise that..

    • Is this more of your reading trouble rearing its ugly head, NotRick?
      Or did you only read the last paragraph?

  4. whats really interesting about all this is, now we have 5 provinces with liberal governments. so much for the disappearance of the liberal party into the hinterland.

    • I meant 4, im just waiting on quebec.

    • The Liberal party in BC is liberal in name only…it’s really conservative! And if the voters in Ontario came to their senses they would considering the state of their province under the Libs throw them(the Libs) out!

  5. Honestly. Isn’t it a bit rich to make the beachhead proclamation over a provincial election in a province that was itching to oust the incumbents? What happened in the Nova Scotian election was more about Nova Scotia than Trudeau.