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What went wrong for the Conservatives in Central Nova

George Canyon thanks a supporter following his concession speech at The Spot in New Glasgow.
George Canyon thanks a supporter following his concession speech at The Spot in New Glasgow. - Adam MacInnis
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

What was once considered a Tory stronghold  appears to be at least weakening in its loyalty to the Conservative Party.

Liberal Sean Fraser easily won the Central Nova seat for a second time over Conservative candidate and country music star George Canyon.

There were obstacles Canyon faced in trying to win Central Nova including a late start, a strong opponent and how his nomination went down.

Initially, Roger MacKay had won the nomination for the Conservatives in Central Nova during a four-way race in May 2019. He then dropped out unexpectedly in Aug. 19 citing personal reasons.

Just two days later, Canyon was named as the candidate for the riding. The decision caused a bit of push back from Central Nova Conservatives who were frustrated the national campaign appointing a candidate rather than allowing a replacement to be chosen at the local level. Canyon then offered to step down if that was the will of the Central Nova Conservative riding executive. They, however, gave their support for him as a candidate.

But Canyon believes it did start things off on a sour note.

“That was an obstacle, but, at the end of the day, I think we overcame that,” he said.

Central Nova Conservative riding president said switching candidates in August did have an impact as well.

“It didn’t help us,” he said. “We were crunched for time.”

Sharpe said he still believes Central Nova has Conservative loyalty which runs deeper than just a loyalty to Elmer and Peter MacKay. He points to the number of Progressive Conservative MLAs in the riding as evidence of that support.

Both Sharpe and Canyon say that Fraser was a tough opponent.

“Sean’s a nice guy,” Sharpe said. “Every door I went to people would say that. And he is a nice guy.”

“Sean’s a good young man and he did good things for Central Nova,” Canyon said.

What’s next for Canyon

Canyon said running was a good experience despite the loss.

“This was a life changing experience for me,” he said.

He said he doesn’t know yet whether or not he would consider running again and that it’s something that he and his wife would have to talk about.

“I can tell you it was definitely hard on me physically. I learned a little bit about how far I can push myself. I’m not 18 anymore.”

He said he and his wife have been looking at properties in the Pictou County area, but haven’t settled on a place.

“We were looking at trying to find a property on the water. It’s a hard find, but we’re looking,” he said.

He said choosing their next home is something they want to take their time with.

One thing he said that will stick with him after the election is a need to talk about veterans' issues more.

“That’s one thing I’ll continue to do. We need to take better care of our vets. What I heard was heartbreaking and unacceptable. I’m going to definitely be championing as much as I can the cause for our vets.”


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