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Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:20 pm Post subject: Tory candidate Orrell wins Cape Breton North byelection
Tory candidate Orrell wins C.B. North byelection
By MICHAEL GORMAN Staff Reporter | UPDATED 7:51 p.m.
Tue, Jun 21 - 4:54 AM
Tory candidate Eddie Orrell, right, and party leader Jaimie Baillie celebrate Tuesday night's provincial byelection win in Cape Breton North. (MICHAEL GORMAN / Staff)
NORTH SYDNEY — Eddie Orrell is the MLA-elect for Cape Breton North.
The Tory candidate defeated Russell MacDonald of the NDP, Liberal Brian McGean and Jonathan Dean of the Atlantica Party in a byelection Tuesday.
The byelection was necessary after former Tory MLA Cecil Clarke stepped down to pursue federal office. The former cabinet minister was defeated in the spring federal election.
Orrell was in the lead as soon as poll results started coming in and it wasn't long before he opened a commanding lead.
With all 51 polls reporting, Orrell finished with 3,975 votes, followed by MacDonald at 2,265. McGean had 931 votes and Dean 72.
Orrell campaigned on issues including support for small business and finding solutions to challenges such as emergency room closures and education cuts.
The former standout in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League clearly hit a home run with this plan, tuning into what voters in the riding were thinking. Following remarks to supporters at a restaurant in North Sydney, Orrell said the result shows people are unhappy with the direction of the NDP government and see the Progressive Conservatives as a viable alternative.
Whether they were customers in the barber's chair or voters coming out of polling stations, people in the riding consistently listed the cuts to education as a major issue in this byelection.
"(There are) less teachers, programs are being cut," said James Anthony, who has kids in the local school system. "It impacts the students."
As a teacher, Anthony said he sees first hand what the cuts are doing to area schools.
"At my school we lost seven teachers this year and it really is affecting classrooms."
Although he wouldn't say how he voted, Anthony said the right person for the job is obvious.
"People who are going to tell the truth and do what's right."
Chad Hanrahan said he voted for the NDP in the last provincial election but is disappointed with the way they've addressed the challenges facing education.
"I just thought they would support and protect education more than they did," he said.
Hanrahan said the cuts to education make him wonder how the NDP will deal with health care. He wouldn't say how he voted in this byelection but noted that whoever the winner is would be a rookie MLA with a learning curve and big challenges ahead.
"Nova Scotia is a hard place to live in," he said. "We don't have a lot of industry . . . If there are no jobs (people) can't stay."
Tory supporters at the rally Tuesday night included Clarke, the former MLA. Orrell paid tribute to him and thanked him for the support he gave the riding both during his time in office as well as during the byelection campaign.
The win gives the Tories seven seats in the Nova Scotia Legislature. Preliminary data showed voter turnout was down slightly from the last provincial election.
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Tory candidate Orrell wins Cape Breton North byelection