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Nova Scotia’s recently minted young premier, Rodney MacDonald, has just learned a tough political lesson: Be careful what you wish for.

Instead of gaining the majority he was looking for, he has shrunk his minority and given the New Democratic Party five new seats in the legislature.

Three CUPE members, although unsuccessful in their ridings, proudly represented their union in the historic election.

Kim Cail picked up almost 1,100 votes in the Tory stronghold of Cumberland North. John Deveau placed a strong second with almost 1,700 votes against a Tory cabinet minister. Charles Muise got over 500 votes in Argyle, another Tory stronghold.

Former CUPE member and well-known activist Vicki Conrad is one of the new NDP members of the Legislative Assembly. In a stunner, she knocked off a popular Tory cabinet minister by just 56 votes in Queen’s. The Tories had held the seat since 1954.

The Tories’ slimmed down minority sees them with 23 seats, the NDP with 20 and the Liberals with just nine. Much of the Nova Scotia media is now calling Darrell Dexter and the NDP the “government in waiting.”

“We are extremely happy with the outcome of this election and especially proud of our three CUPE candidates.” CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh said. “Our union was a key player in the N.S. Federation of Labour ‘Issues Campaign’ that was designed to get union voters out in greater numbers.”

National President Paul Moist praised NDP Leader Darrell Dexter. “Being the only party to increase its seat count places the NDP firmly as the governing option in Nova Scotia,” he said in a letter.

“This is a tribute to you personally and to all candidates who carried the banner for us yesterday,” said the letter, also signed by National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Genereux. ” Please be assured that CUPE will continue to work closely with you and your caucus to ensure that the people of Nova Scotia receive the good government they deserve.”