Party Leader: Gary Burrill
Founded: 1932
Current Number of Seats: 5


The Nova Scotia New Democratic Party (NDP) was first established in 1961. The party is a branch of the federal NDP, which was founded in 1932 as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF).

The CCF first ran candidates in Nova Scotia during the 1933 provincial election, but failed to win a seat. Douglas MacDonald became the party’s first MLA IN 1939 after winning a by-election in Cape Breton. The CCF, led by Russell Cunningham, became the official opposition after the 1945 election.

For most of Nova Scotia’s history, only two parties have held power: the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservatives. The CCF/NDP never held more than five seats in the provincial legislature until 1998.

Robert Chisholm became leader in 1996.  The party won 19 seats in the 1998 election, the same number of seats won by the Liberals. The Liberals gained the support of the 14 Progressive Conservative MLAs and formed a minority government. The province went to the polls again in 1999, and the PC formed a minority government. The NDP only managed to win 11 seats, but formed the official opposition.

Darrell Dexter became party leader in 2001. The party remained as the official opposition after provincial elections in 2003 and 2006.

In 2009, the Nova Scotia NDP became the first New Democratic Party to form government in Atlantic Canada when they won the provincial election. Led by current Premier Darrell Dexter, the NDP defeated PC Premier Rodney MacDonald and won a majority government by winning 31 of 52 seats.

In the 2013 election leader Darrell Dexter lost his own seat and the NDP won only 7 total seats. Gary Burrill was elected as the new leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in 2016.