Four Black MLAs elected to Nova Scotia Legislature

Angela Simmonds

Nova Scotians are sending a record number of Black MLAs to Province House.

Before election day a week last Tuesday, the only Black MLA was Liberal Tony Ince, who represented the riding of Cole Harbour. However, when the winning candidates are sworn in, there will be four Black MLAs in the House of Assembly.

They will include Ince, who beat Progressive Conservative Darryl Johnson and the NDP’s Jerome Lagmay to be re-elected in Cole Harbour.

The riding of Preston was guaranteed to be won by a Black person, as the candidates for each of the three main parties were Black. Angela Simmonds won the riding for the Liberal Party, shutting out Archy Beals for the Tories and Colter Simmonds for the New Democrats. Simmonds said she was overwhelmed and happy with her win.

“I look forward to having some conversations about what that looks like for folks and how we will move this forward in terms of supporting people, in particular different diverse communities, to be able to be in a position like myself,” said Simmonds, who worked in the provincial Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives.

In Halifax Needham, the NDP’s Suzy Hansen handily won against the Liberals’ Colin Coady and the Progressive Conservatives’ Scott Ellis. That riding had previously been represented by New Democrat Lisa Roberts, who is now running federally.

Hansen said that she is overjoyed and honoured to represent the riding of Halifax Needham, where she was born and raised. She added that there’s a need for more

Ali Duale

diverse voices in Province House.

“There are so many lenses that we can be looking through right now, especially when it comes to health care and housing and wages,” she said. “These are all pieces that need to have a different take and a different look.”

Hansen, who is the mother of seven children, said she wants to show her kids they can achieve anything.

In Halifax Armdale, Ali Duale won the riding for the Liberals in a tight race against the NDP’s Julie Melanson. That riding was previously represented by Liberal Lena Metlege Diab, who stepped away from provincial politics to run in the federal election.

Duale and his family fled Somalia in 1991 and spent seven years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to Canada, where Duale has worked for the Halifax regional fire department.

Prior to this election, only five Black MLAs had ever been elected to Canada’s oldest legislature.

In 1993, Wayne Adams was the first Black MLA elected in Nova Scotia, in the riding of Preston.

Yvonne Atwell became the first Black woman elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1998 for the riding of Preston.

Suzy Hansen

In 2009, Percy Paris was elected in the riding of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

In 2013, Liberal Stephen Gough won the riding of Sackville-Beaver Bank and Liberal Tony Ince won a seat in Cole Harbour-Portland Valley. It was the only time two Black politicians were elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature at the same time.

Tony Ince
Jerome Lagmay