Cape Breton Conservatives out of work following failed federal bids

Two Cape Breton politicians are considering their futures after failed bids to win seats in Monday's federal election.

Eddie Orrell, 54, and Alfie MacLeod, 63, both resigned their seats in the Nova Scotia Legislature in July to run federally for the Conservative Party of Canada.

Orrell finished second in the riding of Sydney-Victoria, behind Liberal Jaime Battiste, a political newcomer.

Orrell said he was disappointed, but proud of his campaign and his team.

"We couldn't have done anything different," Orrell said at his headquarters on Monday, as the last results trickled in.

"My volunteers are the best.... They were the ones that worked the hardest and usually that pays off. But tonight? People wanted a different result. So they got it."

Orrell to return to health care

Orrell said he'll return to his job as a physiotherapist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, a position he held for 24 years before being elected to the House of Assembly in the riding of Northside-Westmount in 2011.

"I've still kept my licence up," said Orrell. "I'll take a week or two off, get myself settled back into a normal kind of life, be home every day at 4 p.m. and do the kind of things that normal people do."

Orrell said he enjoys his work as a physiotherapist, but moved into politics because he thought he could do "more things for more people".

MacLeod lost to Liberal Mike Kelloway in the riding of Cape Breton-Canso.

He said he will take a few weeks before deciding what to do next.

MacLeod said his wife has a to-do list for him because "there's lots of things around home that I haven't been doing in awhile".

Elizabeth MacMillan/CBC
Elizabeth MacMillan/CBC

And after that, he'll start thinking of other "challenges or adventures".

"I'm too young not to do something," he said.

MacLeod worked at the Cape Breton Development Corporation — which owned and operated the island's underground coal mines — for 19 years before he was elected to the legislature in 1995.

When he lost the 1998 provincial election, he worked for a time at Sydney Steel as a community relations manager, and in the provincial cabinet office in Sydney. He was re-elected in 2006 in the riding of Cape Breton West, which later became Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

MacLeod was seen as a strong contender for the federal seat of Cape Breton-Canso. He said he wouldn't have done anything differently in his campaign.

"You go out and put your best foot forward, and do what you can," said MacLeod. "At the end of the day, the people make their decision and we just move on from here." MORE TOP STORIES