On leadership

Robert Chisholm talks to the Chronicle-Herald.

Q: After the 1998 breakthrough, your party came very close to forming government in 1999. Then of course came the newspaper interview and the drunk driving revelation. What did you learn from that experience and from coming so close but falling short?

A: I learned a lot. We maintained 30 per cent of the vote in 1999, 18 months after we had made a huge breakthrough. In the history of the province of Nova Scotia, the NDP has never been close. Twenty per cent might have been a high-water mark for us. So, not only did we make the breakthrough in 1998, (but) 18 months later, under enormous pressure and scrutiny, we still hung on to 30 per cent of the vote. And that meant that we had arrived and we weren’t going to move from there.

It was a huge amount of stress. You’ve got to be able to function under fire and I did that. The thing about being a leader is it’s not all good times. That’s why I say that I’ve been through the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel I’ve come through that and I’ve learned a lot. It’s not all a bed of roses. Being a leader means you’ve got to take the good with the bad.

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