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Liberals give up ground to NDP in several ridings in Atlantic Canada

Voters in the Nova Scotia riding of Halifax West line up to vote in the 2011 Canadian General Election on Monday, May 2, 2011 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The early indications from advanced polls are suggesting the amount of people casting ballets has increased from past years.

Mike Dembeck/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The bad news came early for the Liberals as two of their Atlantic Canadian incumbents fell by wide margins to New Democrats and a third came close to losing his seat.

But mid-campaign predictions of a giant-killing NDP candidate in Central Nova proved wildly off-base. Conservative incumbent Peter MacKay easily fought off his challengers to re-take the seat by more than 10,000 votes.

"You know, Atlantic Canada has had the experience of an NDP government now here in Nova Scotia and I think the blossom is off the orange blossom in this province," Mr. MacKay said after his victory was secured.

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He conceded there would be a lot of close races in the region. It quickly became clear, though, that his party was not the one facing the voters' wrath. The Liberals had a disappointing night, giving up ground to the NDP in several ridings.

NDP candidate Ryan Cleary won a resounding victory on his second attempt in the Newfoundland riding of St. John's South-Mt. Pearl, beating Liberal Siobhan Coady by 20percentage points. And former provincial New Democrat Robert Chisholm handily toppled Liberal Mike Savage in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, a Nova Scotia seat the Grit had held for three terms.

The Liberals did win a tight battle in Halifax West, returning Geoff Regan in a race that stayed close until the last polls were being counted. And they held onto Avalon, a Newfoundland riding won by Scott Andrews during the anti-Tory mood led in 2008 by former premier Danny Williams.

In the end, the Tories kept a firm grip on all of their seats considered in play in the region. Gerald Keddy re-took his Nova Scotia riding, South Shore-St. Margaret's, and Keith Ashfield and Rodney Weston were returned in New Brunswick.

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About the Author

Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More

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