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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the public engaged in the Nova Scotia election?

CTV Atlantic
Published Friday, May 12, 2017 7:09PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:00PM ADT

With the campaign trail nearing its halfway point, opinions are mixed as to whether Nova Scotians are really paying attention.

“I'm not sure that everybody actually knows that there is an election even happening right now,” says Sean Rogers of Halifax.

“You hear it around the water coolers, things like that, people are certainly talking about politics,” says fellow Halifax resident Neil Finckle.

Spring Garden Road
Spring Garden Road is seen on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Opinions on the street are also fractured when it comes to the issues, perhaps a reflection of the party announcements which have ranged in topic from health care to tuition, public education to infrastructure, and from minimum wage to the film industry.

So far, just over 4,300 people have cast a ballot out of about 750,000 eligible voters. Voting is open each Monday to Saturday at returning stations across the province until May 27, and all day May 30.

Political sociologist Howard Ramos says Nova Scotians don't seem very engaged so far.

“If people don't show up to vote it probably is going to favour the incumbent party, the Liberals,” says Ramos. “If people do show up to vote, it could get really interesting.”

In 2013, just over 419,000 people cast a ballot out of more than 709,000 who could have. That's a voter turnout of 59 per cent.

“From my perspective and the small area in which I live, people are engaged but I would like to see more of it,” said Nova Scotian Bonnie Coulombe.

Some say it's time for a new idea to get people involved.

“Like Australia, you have to vote or you get fined. Turnout's about 80, 90 per cent,” says Harry Mathers.

Many residents suggest fixed election dates may increase engagement during the campaign because people will know it’s coming. Jamie Baillie and Gary Burrill both say they'll legislate fixed election dates, but Stephen McNeil says that's not part of the Liberal plan.


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

N.S. Progressive Conservatives release 'optimistic' platform for May 30 vote

Published Thursday, May 11, 2017 7:43AM ADT
Last Updated Friday, May 12, 2017 8:18AM ADT

HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives have released an election platform promising millions in spending commitments along with balanced budgets -- an "optimistic" plan the party says will spur economic growth and improve the bottom line for families and businesses.

Flanked by Halifax-area Tory candidates Thursday, Jamie Baillie became the first party leader to officially unveil a platform for the May 30 provincial vote.

"When it comes right down to it, the Progressive Conservative vision is about jobs -- good, long-lasting, reliable jobs," Baillie told party supporters.

Jamie Baillie
Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie, accompanied by a group of candidates, releases his party platform as he campaigns in Halifax on Thursday, May 11, 2017. The provincial election will be held Tuesday, May 30. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

"We can be a province where government stops reaching deeper into your pocketbooks and starts actually reducing the cost of living for Nova Scotia families."

The spending in the platform document is in addition to a $1 billion, 10-year capital plan announced earlier in the campaign, something Baillie has said would put 10,000 people to work.

Party officials told reporters the platform commitments build on last month's Liberal budget and would avoid deficits, although they weren't entirely specific on what budget items would be reduced to keep the books balanced.

They first told reporters the cost over four years was $648.9 million -- but later called to say the actual cost was $168.9 million.

The resulting confusion gave Premier Stephen McNeil an opportunity he was only too glad to seize.

"He (Baillie) clearly said he was going to keep commitments that we put out -- some not all -- which ones is he not going to keep?" said McNeil. "They don't even know what the numbers are in their own platform and they won't answer the question: Where's the funding coming from?"

Baillie told reporters savings would be found through such measures as trimming administrative waste in the health system and by repealing the Liberal bill that imposed a wage settlement on teachers. He said that would save millions in legal costs through potential legal challenges.

He also said he would find savings by negotiating a better deal to fund the Yarmouth, N.S., to Portland, Maine, ferry.

Baillie added the balanced-books promise wouldn't fall victim to a new Tory government pleading ignorance over the true state of the province's finances.

"I go through the budget every year, I think, in as much detail as anybody. I will tell you this, I will never use that sad old excuse that I didn't know the state of the books after we got in."

Baillie was equally adamant when asked whether jobs or departmental cuts are in the offing, saying "there's been enough cutting."

"Those are actual services like health and education, like mental health that are important to me," he said. "I want to create jobs and that's why our platform stresses job creation. I'm not interested in those kinds of things (cuts)."

Key promises include a plan that would see businesses earn their way to a 10 per cent tax rate through creating jobs, and a pledge to maintain a Liberal promise to raise the basic personal exemption for those earning below $75,000, resulting in a tax cut for 500,000 Nova Scotians.

Baillie also said a Progressive Conservative government would not impose a carbon tax and would freeze the cost share ratio for seniors' pharmacare.

On the education front, he said the Tories would use the $20 million the Liberals set aside for classroom investments to immediately hire more educational assistants and to put hard caps on class size.

The party is also promising a new deal with universities to get tuition back down to the national average.

Meanwhile, the NDP said Thursday it would double the funding for a mental health strategy and cut wait times in half for people who are waiting up to a year to get care.

Leader Gary Burrill made the announcement outside one of Halifax's largest health care centres, saying his party would spend $49.5 million over four years to improve access to community based mental health care.

Of that, $21.5 million would go to a second mental health strategy that picks up where the previous NDP government's left off. Burrill said he would also spend $25 million on three pilot mental health hubs in emergency rooms to speed up access to care and alleviate overcrowded emergencies. Those would be located in Halifax, Kentville and Sydney.

The Liberals spent a second day in Cape Breton Thursday, where McNeil announced a new $8 million fund to revitalize tourism sites.

He said sites would be selected by Tourism Nova Scotia and the government would match funds from businesses and other levels of government.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tories drop candidate over Twitter joke about date rape drug

Campaign manager for Jad Crnogorac says she's been held to a higher standard than male candidates

CBC News Posted: May 16, 2017 3:28 PM AT| Last Updated: May 16, 2017 7:25 PM AT

Jad Crnogorac is the third candidate in this election to bow out because of social media posts they have made.

Another provincial election candidate is gone as a result of past tweets, but the dropped candidate is calling her party hypocritical after it supported another candidate who also faced fire for posts he made to social media.

Jad Crnogorac, the Progressive Conservative candidate in Dartmouth South, was dropped by the Tories on Tuesday. The PCs said there were multiple tweets of concern made by Crnogorac, but one about the date rape drug known as roofies triggered the move.

Jad Crnogorac tweet 2

"When it comes to things like rape culture and making jokes about it, that crosses a line," said PC Leader Jamie Baillie.

He said that as party leader and a father of two teenage daughters, he had to take action.

"I am trying to show them that we cannot make light of rape culture, that we have to respect people of all races, religions, creeds, sexual orientation," said Baillie.

Crnogorac said she shouldn't have posted the jokes.

"In politics, we're everyday people and in today's world, we're going to leave a digital footprint and guess what, we're not perfect," she said. "I didn't try to be someone I wasn't, I didn't try to erase any of my past. I am who I am."

Double standard alleged

Both Crnogorac and her campaign manager, Jillian Blackman, said the situation highlights how women are held to a higher standard in politics than men.

They pointed specifically to Matt Whitman, the PC candidate for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, and a video that he posted online in late March.

In the video, Whitman is sitting in a car with another passenger. He yells "Chinese fire drill!" and then gets out of the car. Amid laughter, he and a passenger run around the car and switch seats.

Whitman later apologized for the video.

Crnogorac called the video racist.

Jad Crnogorac tweet 1

Blackman said the party stood behind Whitman.

"They didn't do the same for Jad and the only reason we can see for that is perhaps she didn't have as much value to the campaign as he did," said Blackman.

Janet Fryday Dorey, the party's campaign co-chair, disputes that.

"I believe that our other candidate [Matt Whitman] was uninformed and when he became informed, he apologized and we certainly are willing to move on, but this one so totally crosses the line," she said.

Crnogorac said that while the PCs talk about how they're supportive of women and want more women to run for them, behind the scenes it's a different story.

"There have been several instances that have happened with me personally that I was not defended," she said.

One example Crnogorac pointed to was when she recently appeared on the cover of the satire publication Frank Magazine. She said no senior campaign officials contacted her afterwards to offer support.

Social media takes down multiple candidates

Crnogorac is the third candidate this election to be dropped due to internet posts.

Dartmouth East NDP candidate Bill McEwan resigned on Monday night following revelations about a blog he used to run. Earlier in the election Liberal candidate Matt MacKnight was removed from the ticket in Pictou East due to old tweets that resurfaced.

McEwan and Crnogorac will remain on the ballots, however, because their withdrawal comes after the nomination period closed.

'Shut up and cover up'

Crnogorac said the party asked her to delete images she had posted to Instagram of herself, something the PC Party denies. Crnogorac is a fitness trainer and has posted photos of herself in a bikini.

"In 2017, we don't think that a woman should be asked to kind of shut up and cover up and step aside and that's exactly what's happened," said Blackman.


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liberals release platform with $1.08 billion in spending, tax cuts

Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:48AM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:20AM ADT

HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's Liberals released an election platform Wednesday that included a total of $1.08 billion in spending commitments and tax cuts over four years, along with promises to do more for those on income assistance.

The platform is based on last month's budget that was tabled but not voted on in the legislature and contains a number of promises that were already announced on the campaign trail.

"Our plan is comprehensive, it's credible and it's costed," Premier Stephen McNeil told a gathering of party faithful at a Halifax hotel.

Stephen McNeil
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil arrives for an infrastructure announcement as he campaigns in Halifax on Monday, May 1, 2017. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

"It promotes innovative new programs that support families, seniors and communities."

The Liberals had already promised several major initiatives in the budget that are also part of their platform, including a pledge to reduce taxes for 500,000 low- and middle-income earners and a pre-primary initiative for four-year-olds that would include 9,000 children by 2020 at an annual cost of about $49 million.

There is also previously announced money to twin 100-series highways, upgrade gravel roads, and create collaborative care centres.

Among the millions in new spending is funding for low-income rental supplements and income assistance.

Party officials said a promised rent supplement expansion beginning in 2018 is aimed at reducing the wait list for affordable housing by an additional 30 per cent. It would top up the total amount spent on the program to nearly $30 million a year by the fourth year of the Liberal plan.

The current rent supplement is on average around $250, and officials said the plan could see a boost for those on the lowest incomes to the $300 to $400 range.

Under the plan, the standardized household income assistance rate would be increased by an overall total of $20 million a year by the fourth year, with individual increases of two per cent on the rate for those who can work and five per cent for those who can't work because of a disability. That would allow people to keep more of what they earn -- as much as an additional $300 a month.

"This is part of the evolution that is taking place ... to transform income assistance to make sure there is not a disincentive to join the workforce," said McNeil.

The platform also contains two significant shifts in health care that include allowing doctors to choose where and how they practise and a signalling that a Liberal government is open to creating more long term care beds if needed, although no numbers or costs were included.

McNeil said the moves don't mean the Liberals are moving away from either an emphasis on collaborative care models for areas that lack doctor coverage, or home care for seniors in order to keep people home longer.

The Liberals are also pledging to cover the cost of oral cancer medications for those not fully covered by insurance until a program can be worked out with the other Atlantic provinces to do so.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the Liberal plan didn't go far enough in addressing the needs of those who need the most help.

"There is zero here on addressing the crisis of hunger in Nova Scotia ... on addressing the crisis of indebtedness of students and tuition and a zero on the crisis that is undermining so many of our hospitals ... the absence of there being any new long-term care beds," said Burrill.

Speaking for the Progressive Conservatives, Halifax-Citadel-Sable Island candidate Rob Batherson said the Liberal plan lacked credibility because of McNeil's broken 2013 campaign promises. Among them: His infamous doctor for every Nova Scotian pledge, and a promise to extend the province's film tax credit that was subsequently axed.

"Why would anybody believe what's in his platform this time?" said Batherson. "It's as if after three-and-a-half years of failure and broken promises he wants a do-over."

The Liberals were the last of the three main parties to officially release a platform for the May 30 vote.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nova Scotia party leaders make case to voters as advance polls open

Nova Scotia Liberals promise to reduce waitlist for affordable housing

The Canadian Press

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill, N.S. Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie, and N.S. Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, left to right, wait for the start of the leaders' debate in Halifax on Thursday, May 18, 2017. The provincial election will be held Tuesday, May 30. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – Thousands of Nova Scotians cast ballots in advance voting Saturday as the three party leaders spent the early part of their long weekend scouring the province for votes.

The Liberals spent Saturday promoting their promise to improve access to affordable housing as leader Stephen McNeil elaborated on his party’s pledge to expand rent supplements.

“Social security is having a safe, affordable place to call home, but it’s also the right thing to do,” McNeil a news conference in Dartmouth. “This is taking care of some of the most vulnerable citizens in our province.”

McNeil said the proposed three-year,...


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

May 22, 2017 2:51 pm Updated: May 22, 2017 3:36 pm

Gloves come off as Nova Scotia election enters last week

By Natasha Pace
Reporter Global News

With just eight days to go until the Nova Scotia provincial election, the gloves are coming off — with the leaders of two of the major parties going after one another.

“How did we get to this sorry state in health care in Nova Scotia under Stephen McNeil?” PC Leader Jamie Baillie told a room of supporters Monday morning at a rally in downtown Halifax, where he hammered on the state of health care in Nova Scotia.

WATCH: Nova Scotia PCs unveil new spending, promise balanced budget with few details on cuts

Play Video

“We are Canadians, we are proud of our health-care system. We can do so much better than this,” said Baillie.

A recent poll showed the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives are neck-and-neck among decided and leaning voters.

READ: Nova Scotia Election: Liberals, PCs neck-and-neck in recent poll

“I think we’re tied with the Liberals,” said Baillie.

“We’re the only party now that can replace them. A lot of people coming to us because they want to replace a pretty mean-spirited government that’s just cut things for the last few years with one that I want to lead that reaches out to people and is optimistic about the future.”

READ MORE: N.S. Election: PCs talk film tax, NDP focus on seniors, Liberals promise caregivers help

On the other side of the harbour, Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil spent Monday afternoon greeting people in north-end Dartmouth before announcing an $80-million-dollar commitment for social programs in the province if re-elected.

But it was Baillie’s platform that took centre stage.

“That’s the challenge around Mr. Baillie. He’s going through this process of scaring people into believing that the sky is falling and he’s the only one to hold the ceiling up,” McNeil told reporters following the announcement.

WATCH: Nova Scotia Election: Liberals release platform with $1.08 billion in spending and tax cuts

Play Video

McNeil said while he doesn’t necessarily agree with the NDP approach of “spending until there’s no tomorrow,” he says he gives NDP Leader Gary Burrill credit that he’s been “straight with Nova Scotians about what he wants to do.”

Something McNeil said Baillie isn’t doing.

“When you look at his budget, there a $480-million adjustment for previous government commitments. What are they?” said McNeil.

READ: Nova Scotia Election: Why health care has become the number one issue

“I’ve been in elections since 1999 — health care has been the number 1 issue in every election I’ve been in,” said McNeil.

“They’re using this issue to fear monger their way to scare people into voting. The fact of the matter is, ‘Lay out what your plan is — tell Nova Scotians what you’re going to do.'”

READ MORE: Complete Nova Scotia election coverage

NDP Leader Burrill hosted a barbecue for party volunteers Monday morning and spent the rest of the day campaigning.

WATCH: Nova Scotia NDP proposes nearly $1 billion deficit over four years, touts spending in health and education

Play Video

When asked about the state of health care in the province, Burrill said he believes ER closures around the province and doctor shortages are related.

He said hospitals are packed because there’s an increasing number of Nova Scotians who don’t have family doctors. Burrill also says some hospitals are full of patients that actually belong in a nursing home.

READ: Nova Scotia Election: Tracking party promises on infrastructure

“Because there’s been inadequate investment, not a single nursing home bed for years on one hand, and on the other hand, there’s been inadequate investment in bringing people doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses, so our campaign is to make a serious investment in making primary care available to people,” said Burrill.

“It’s $120 million over four years, and a serious investment in opening nursing home beds. In our opinion, with these serious investments on both ends of the problem, this is in our view a crisis, but it’s not an impossible crisis. It’s a crisis that has a solution but the solution requires investment.”

Election day is May 30


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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

N.S. political leaders focus on health care in election's final days

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2017 3:24PM EDT

HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's Tories and NDP have pinpointed health care as the Liberals' Achilles heel as the election campaign enters its final days, hoping to convince voters it is in crisis and they can fix it.

The Progressive Conservatives planned to hold a rally on health care in South Berwick, N.S., Wednesday, while the NDP promised to work to fix primary care problems by consulting with doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses.

Earlier Wednesday, Tory Leader Jamie Baillie blamed the incumbent Liberals for a string of health care problems, from doctor shortages to emergency room closures and a lack of mental health services.

Baillie admitted the system has struggled for years, and a string of governments seemed unable to fix persistent problems. But he then quickly brought the blame back to the Liberals.

"I've heard (Premier) Stephen McNeil say this problem goes back a long way. That's true but it's also a cop-out," said Baillie.

"We can take action now to make health care better. To just say this has been a problem for a long time is to actually refuse to acknowledge the crisis that exists."

McNeil said Wednesday Baillie is trying to "scare people."

"We know there are challenges in certain parts of the communities ... and we are putting out positive solutions that Nova Scotians are looking for," he said while on a campaign stop in Cape Breton.

Baillie said the first step in fixing the system's problems is realizing how acute they are in areas such as mental health -- something he said the Liberals haven't done.

He said a Progressive Conservative government elected in next Tuesday's election would spend $39.7 million over four years to bolster mental health services.

The money would be used to hire more mental health professionals to bring down wait lists and provide mental health training in all schools as a preventive measure. The Tory plan also includes $8 million over four years to build four crisis centres.

"We will work with ... doctors and counsellors and psychiatrists to identify the best place to put them," Baillie said. "That is the right way to go forward."

NDP Leader Gary Burrill announced Wednesday that the party would accept the recommendations in a recent position paper on primary care by Doctors Nova Scotia and would work with doctors on a new pay model for physicians and to develop a doctor recruitment and retention strategy.

In an interview, Burrill said health care is the number one issue he hears on people's doorsteps.

He said his party believes improvements can be made by setting priorities, working with professionals to identify needs, and then properly funding those areas.

"These three things in my own judgment have been missing and they are three things that we can bring," Burrill said.

McNeil stressed that his government's creation of a single health authority would allow for more investments in front-line care, including mental health. Earlier in the campaign, the Liberals promised $34 million over four years to hire 35 new mental health clinicians for communities and for schools across the province.

McNeil admitted that promises of better days ahead mean little to people affected by the system's shortcomings now.

"Those who don't have a physician are feeling the system needs instant improvement," he said. "But one thing we know as a province is short-term fixes don't solve the problem. This needs to be a long-term, thoughtful strategy to make sure that we get to a system that's actually sustainable."

In a report last June, the province's auditor general, Michael Pickup, said the entire health system needs revamping and a plan to deal with aging facilities that are draining resources from front-line care.

Pickup stopped just short of suggesting hospital closures as part of the solution, but did say the current capacity of the province's 41 hospitals "may not be the most efficient way to deliver health care."

Burrill outright rejects the idea of hospital closures, while both Baillie and McNeil deflect the issue.

"The problem isn't the number of buildings that we have," said Baillie. "The problem is that families aren't getting the help that they need


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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 crucial ridings to watch on Nova Scotia election night

From rural to urban, these ridings will be hotly contested in the May 30 election

CBC News Posted: May 24, 2017 6:00 AM AT| Last Updated: May 24, 2017 9:42 AM AT

Some of the candidates running in battleground ridings are: Tory Matt Whitman (top left), Liberal Ben Jessome (top centre), New Democrat Paul McGuinness (top right), Liberal Vernon Oickle (bottom left), PC candidate Kim Masland (bottom centre) and New Democrat John Davis (bottom right).

With less than a week to go until Nova Scotians head to the polls, the latest projections show the Liberals teetering on the edge of a majority government.

The following 10 ridings, as selected by CBC Nova Scotia's team of election reporters, will play a critical role in determining the outcome of the May 30 election.
■Find all of CBC Nova Scotia's election coverage here

Clayton Park West

This electoral district — formed after the 2012 electoral boundary review — is one of only four where an incumbent is not running, along with Dartmouth East, Dartmouth South and Queens-Shelburne. It is widely considered one of the most ethnically diverse areas of Nova Scotia.

The seat has been held for the past four years by Liberal Diana Whalen, who's held multiple cabinet roles under Stephen McNeil, including deputy premier. From 2003 to 2013, Whalen represented Halifax Clayton Park, which was largely swallowed up in the creation of Clayton Park West.

Whalen announced earlier this year she would not be running in order to have more balance in her life after a health scare.

Chester-St. Margaret's

New Democrat Denise Peterson-Rafuse is looking to hold on to her seat — one of only five the NDP had going into the election — but the Progressive Conservatives have their eyes on it. Tory Leader Jamie Baillie has made at least four visits to the riding with candidate Julie Chaisson, making it among his most popular stops on the campaign trail.

Also in the race are Liberal Hugh MacKay and the Green Party's Harry Ward.

Dartmouth East

Independent MLA Andrew Younger, who most recently held the district, is not reoffering. His abrupt decision to withdraw as a candidate for personal reasons has thrown Dartmouth East upside down and wide open.

Edgar Burns, Tim Halman, Bill McEwen
Two of the candidates in Dartmouth East are Liberal Edgar Burns (left) and Tory Tim Halman (centre). The NDP dropped candidate Bill McEwen (right) due to offensive comments he previously made online. (Mark Crosby/CBC)

This is also the electoral district where the New Democrats dropped candidate Bill McEwen when inappropriate social media comments became public. That happened after the nomination deadline had passed, so McEwen's name will be on the ballot.
■What's at stake in Dartmouth East? Read our riding profile

Halifax Armdale

This electoral district will be interesting to watch because of two high-profile candidates: Liberal Lena Diab and New Democrat David Wheeler. Diab is minister of immigration in Stephen McNeil's cabinet, while Wheeler previously served as president of Cape Breton University. He was dismissed by the university's board late last year amid allegations he was too friendly with the faculty union.

Lena Diab, David Wheeler
Cabinet minister Lena Diab (left) is squaring off against New Democrat David Wheeler (right), the former president of Cape Breton University, in Halifax Armdale. (CBC)

Halifax Chebucto

The big question in this district is whether NDP Leader Gary Burrill can take it from incumbent Liberal Joachim Stroink and fend off Progressive Conservative candidate John Wesley Chisholm. Burrill was elected in 2009 in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley but lost in 2013 and has since uprooted to Halifax Chebucto.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill
NDP Leader Gary Burrill , who currently doesn't have a seat in the House, is hoping to capture one in Halifax Chebucto, which has been until recently a traditional NDP stronghold. (The Canadian Press)

The recent history here is favourable for the New Democrats. Halifax Chebucto elected Howard Epstein — a longtime New Democrat — five times and went Liberal only after Epstein declined to reoffer in 2013. Epstein is now Burrill's official campaign agent.

Hammonds Plains-Lucasville

This suburban electoral district was part of a near sweep of metro Halifax by the Liberals in the last provincial election.

Matt Whitman, Ben Jessome, Paul McGuinness
Three of the four candidates running in Hammonds Plains-Lucasville are PC Matt Whitman (left), Liberal Ben Jessome (centre) and New Democrat Paul McGuinness (right). (CBC)

But now, incumbent Liberal backbencher Ben Jessome has an austerity government to defend as he tries to hang on against municipal councillor Matt Whitman, who is running for the Tories. Also vying for the seat are Paul McGuinness, the leader of a local ratepayers association running for the NDP, and Green deputy leader Jessica Alexander.
■What's at stake in Hammonds Plains-Lucasville? Read our riding profile

Hants West

This central Nova Scotia district is traditionally Progressive Conservative, and has gone Liberal only three times since 1948. That makes incumbent Chuck Porter an especially interesting candidate, as a former Tory who left the PC caucus in June 2014 after an argument with leader Jamie Baillie.

Chuck Porter Liberal MLA
This election marks the first that Chuck Porter will be running as a Liberal rather than a Tory. (CBC)

Porter sat as an Independent in the immediate aftermath before joining the Liberal caucus last year. He's defeated Liberal candidates in the last three provincial elections, and now he's running as one of them.

Sydney-Whitney Pier

This Cape Breton electoral district may also serve as an indicator of the Liberals' strength by looking at how well their backbenchers perform.

Incumbent Derek Mombourquette was elected in a 2015 byelection to replace Gordie Gosse, a popular New Democrat MLA who resigned after he was diagnosed with cancer. Mombourquette is up against Laurie MacIntosh for the Tories and Madonna Doucette for the New Democrats.

The NDP see this as a seat it can win, as evidenced by Gary Burrill's numerous visits to the riding and the party regularly using Doucette's name in media releases.

Cape Breton is friendly territory for unions and the Liberals' legislation that was viewed as anti-union could factor here.

Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River

This district is the only one held by the New Democrats in central Nova Scotia, and is surrounded by a sea of red and blue seats. Incumbent Lenore Zann has won with comfortable margins in each of the last two elections in what had previously been Tory territory.

She faces a strong challenge from Tory candidate Keltie Jones, who narrowly lost the race for Truro mayor in the last two municipal elections. The Liberals are hanging their hopes on newcomer Craig Johnson.


This electoral district is up for grabs after longtime New Democrat MLA Sterling Belliveau announced last year he would not seek re-election.

It may be one of the most difficult districts to predict, in part because it is the product of a merger of two older districts.

Left to Right: Vernon Oickle, Kim Masland, John Davis
From left to right: Liberal candidate Vernon Oickle, PC candidate Kim Masland, NDP candidate John Davis. (CBC)

The Tories are running Kim Masland, the executive assistant for former MP Gerald Keddy. The Liberal candidate is longtime area reporter and editor Vernon Oickle, while well-known environmentalist John Davis carries the NDP banner. Kathaleen Milan is running for the Greens.


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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( a new mainstreet poll indicates the race is much closer than anyone though it be heading into the final few days . the liberals still lead but not by much and may have to settle for a minority )

Nova Scotia PCs make inroads with female, rural voters

James Munson

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives are making headway with women voters in the province, building on the incumbent Liberals’ gender gap going into the campaign, according to a new Mainstreet/iPolitics poll.

The latest figures on decided and leaning voters in Mainstreet’s rolling poll still has Premier Stephen McNeil and the Liberals in first place, but the results indicate a softening of Liberal support compared to the start of the election.

The Liberals have 37 per cent support across the province, while the PCs have 34 per cent and the NDP sits at 25 per cent — putting McNeil in minority territory with less than a week to go in the campaign. At the outset of the race, the Liberals had 42 per cent to the PCs’ 29 per cent.

The poll — which covered a random sample of 1,200 people — was done on May 23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.81 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The drop in Liberal support is most pronounced among women. While the Liberals have the support of 44 per cent of decided and leaning men and 30 per cent of decided women, the PCs have the support of 29 per cent of men and 39 per cent of women.

That’s a bigger gender gap than McNeil faced between May 1 and 2, when Mainstreet polled the Liberals at 47 per cent of men and 37 of women.

“We are seeing a bunch of issues that are targeted more toward female voters, education being one of them,” said David Valentin, pollster with Mainstreet. “But also the fact that there were a number of artists who were female who spoke out against the government when it came to the film tax credit.”

McNeil’s government faced an uproar in 2015 when it cancelled a film tax credit, a decision the region’s film and television sector said would force production elsewhere.

More recently, McNeil prevented teachers from going on strike in February by passing a controversial bill. That decision made its way into last Thursday’s leaders’ debate in Halifax, which focused heavily on education and labour issues, said Valentin.

“The (opposition) leaders really raised the (strike bill) as a proxy for bad judgement — the fact that he walked away from the negotiating table, the fact that he had to cancel school — because he couldn’t guarantee children’s safety, ” said Valentin.

“And we didn’t see Stephen McNeil look into the camera and say, ‘Look, this was a tough decision to do and I had to (do) what was right,'” he said.

PC Leader Jamie Baillie’s focus on education may also play into the Liberals’ weakness in rural Nova Scotia.

With the exception of Cape Breton, the Liberals are weaker outside of Halifax. The PCs lead with 42 per cent when Haligonians and Cape Bretoners are taken out of the equation, according to the Mainstreet/iPolitics poll.

There is also widespread anxiety in rural Nova Scotia about school closures that the PCs may be successfully exploiting, said Valentin.

“That’s the challenge for the Liberals. They are trying to finesse this whole issue of community school closures and there are so many schools that have been forced to close.”

Last week’s leaders debate also may have influenced voters by showing a calmer side to Baillie and NDP Leader Gary Burrill.

Opposition leaders in recent provincial campaigns in B.C. and Saskatchewan came across as angry in their debates, something the PC and NDP leaders in Nova Scotia avoided, said Valentin.

“It was a very mellow, very congenial debate,” said Valentin. “You could actually feel all three of them could go out for a beer after.”

McNeil will have to concentrate on campaigning in rural Nova Scotia if he wants to stem the bleeding, said the pollster.

Nova Scotians head to the polls on May 30.


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

N.S. premier accused of broken promises at debate in Halifax

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:47PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 25, 2017 8:53PM EDT

HALIFAX -- Tory Leader Jamie Baillie cast himself Thursday night as the only man who can beat Stephen McNeil, while the Liberal premier implored voters to ignore campaign "negativity" and give him a second mandate.

The two, along with NDP Leader Gary Burrill, held a far-reaching and sometimes animated roundtable discussion in Halifax, stripped of lecterns and Oxford-style debate rules.

Burrill elicited a laugh from the audience by framing the Liberal and Tory leaders as squabbling family members, while positioning himself as the clear option for change in Tuesday's election.

Rountable debate
CTV Atlantic's Steve Murphy speaks with Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, PC Leader Jamie Baillie and NDP Leader Gary Burrill, in Halifax, N.S., on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

"I coached ball for a long time, and I used to once in a while run into a situation where you had two siblings who were so much alike that they couldn't get along," Burrill said with a chuckle.

McNeil was on the hotseat for much of the night, as Baillie and Burrill criticized his broken promises, including killing the province's lucrative film tax credit, credited for a thriving film and TV production industry.

"It's pretty clear Mr. McNeil didn't understand what he was doing," said Baillie.

But McNeil said the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, which replaced the film tax credit, has been a hit. He cited the Stephen King horror series The Mist, which was filmed for the American cable network Spike TV and received $5,927,492 from the new fund.

McNeil was also forced to defend his broken promise that every Nova Scotian would have a family doctor, as health care dominated much of the CTV News debate.

He skirted the question of whether every man, woman and child should have a doctor, and instead said access to primary health care is a top priority.

Baillie said he would improve health care, but refused to make a promise that is "just political."

Burrill reiterated his view that Nova Scotia is facing a health care crisis that needs an urgent response.

The debate focused on three central themes: Promises and policy, economy and budget, and vision and leadership.

All three talked over each other in the debate's early going, taking up moderator Steve Murphy's invitation to intervene against the other leaders.

While Burrill took some heat over his plan to run back-to-back deficits, he shot back that the "hyper-fixation" on balanced budgets has caused the Liberals to "overlook the needs of the people."

Baillie echoed the NDP leader, noting there has been "too much focus on the day-to-day accounts" rather than long-term planning.

But McNeil shot back that Nova Scotians need to "live within our means" and not pass the buck to future generations.

Said Baillie: "We're all concerned about costs that get passed on to the next generation."

Murphy asked each party leader to name an opponent's policy they like.

Burrill praised Baillie's mental-health strategy, while Baillie endorsed McNeil's tax cuts on lower-income Nova Scotians.

McNeil focused less on his opponents' policies than their advocacy, mentioning Burrill's work on poverty and Baillie's emphasis on helping those with PTSD.

In their final pitches to voters, McNeil and Burrill sounded familiar themes.

The NDP leader insisted the province can spend to improve its hospitals and schools, while the Liberal premier touted statistics suggesting Nova Scotia is on the right track, and urged voters: "Let's not be dragged down by all the negativity you might hear in this campaign."

Baillie, however, tried a new pitch, casting himself as the only man who can eject McNeil from the premier's office.

"It's pretty clear it's only the PCs who have a chance to replace the government," he said.

Afterwards, Baillie was asked by reporters whether it was reasonable to ask an NDP voter to vote for a Tory.

"I am asking them to look at us," he said. "Even if they haven't voted for us before, because I know we agree on something -- that this province needs a change at the top."

But Burrill said Baillie's pitch to New Democrats didn't "ring true" because he stands for things, such as budget restraint, that the NDP is rejecting.

"He (Baillie) is misrepresenting himself, repackaging himself, rebranding himself," he said. "I find it inauthentic."

McNeil was even more scathing in his assessment of Baillie's pitch to voters.

"I thought it was arrogant on his part," he said. "We are all going to take the next four or five days to go out and convince Nova Scotians why we should be the government."

Thursday's contest served as the prelude to the final weekend of the campaign, with polls indicating a tightened race between the incumbent Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives.

The province's voters have not elected back-to-back majorities since 1988 and have recently swayed back and forth between the three main parties, electing the Tories in 2006, the NDP in 2009 and the Liberals in 2013.

Swaying voters in Halifax, with its rich number of ridings, proved key to the Liberal majority in the 51-seat legislature in 2013 and will be no less key this time around with competitive races expected in at least five ridings.

But there are also a number of ridings in Cape Breton, in the province's north and along the South Shore which also could prove vital to party fortunes.


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Party leaders enter final stretch of campaigning ahead of vote Tuesday

The province's political leaders are back on the campaign trail today as they enter the final stretch before Tuesday's election.

about 7 hours ago by: Canadian Press


Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie and NDP Leader Gary Burrill participated in a leaders roundtable at Saint Mary's University in Halifax on Thursday. (ANDREW VAUGHAN / CP)

The province's political leaders are back on the campaign trail today as they enter the final stretch before Tuesday's election.

Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil is staying close to the Halifax area, while Progressive Conservative Jamie Baillie is hitting several ridings spreading out from Bedford to Amherst, and NDP Leader Gary Burrill is campaigning in Halifax, Cole Harbour and Millbrook.

A recent poll suggests the race is tightening between the incumbent Liberals and the Tories, who were up four points to 34 per cent.

The Mainstreet poll released Thursday suggests the Liberals were at 37 per cent support from decided and leaning voters — a drop for the party of three points.

The NDP was up a point to 25 per cent according to the survey of 1,200 Nova Scotians.

The poll came on the same day the leaders faced off in the campaign's last televised debate, which saw Baillie cast himself as the only man who can beat McNeil.


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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VOTER ANALYSIS: Liberal victory likely in N.S. election, poll shows

Published May 29, 2017 - 6:04am
Last Updated May 29, 2017 - 8:32am

CRA is predicting that the McNeil-led Liberals will form a second government after Tuesday’s election. (CP)

Nova Scotia will be Liberal red on election day if the polls prove correct.

Seat projections prepared by Corporate Research Associates exclusively for The Chronicle Herald predict the Liberals will most likely take anywhere from 24 to 30 seats.

• LEGER: Psychic oracles and polls suggest four more years of blah

It takes 26 seats for a majority. Prior to the election call, the Liberals held 34.

CRA predicts the Grits’ seat count will fall between 21 and 32 seats, but likely toward the middle of that range. Projections show the Progressive Conservative party with a possible range of 13 to 21 seats but CRA says they'll likely get between 14 and 19. The New Democrats are projected to fall within the three to 12 range but will most likely win between six and eight seats.

The Atlantica and Green parties are not expected to win a seat.

“One of the conclusions we have is that the Liberals will lose seats,” CRA president and CEO Don Mills said in an interview. “They will not get the same number of seats as they did last time. The PCs are going to pick up seats, and the NDP are going to stand still within a seat or two,” he said.

“Based on the last numbers that we collected we see no scenario where any other party but the Liberals can win the election.”

McNeil’s Liberals have enjoyed historically high support — more than 50 per cent — since getting elected in 2013, with numbers as high as 64 per cent in 2015. But they had been falling in the polls just prior to the election call, dipping to 44 per cent in February in part because of a protracted and nasty fight with teachers over the imposition of a labour contract.

Voter intention polling completed throughout the campaign by CRA also showed the Liberal party stumbled early in the campaign, dropping to 37 per cent, their lowest point in years, but stabilized during the final few weeks.

For the PCs and NDP, the race tightened to within a few points multiple times during the campaign but showed a clear separation in the last week or so of polling.

Mills said mainland Nova Scotia will likely see few seat changes, with most shakeups occurring in metro and Cape Breton. Earlier CRA polling showed the NDP second to the Liberals in the metro region, and the Tories slightly more popular than the Liberals in Cape Breton.

To come up with the projection ranges, Mills said CRA used data from the rolling polls it has conducted throughout the election, beginning May 2, and narrowed it to the most likely range by examining polls from the past week. The daily results were based on a sample of about 500 adults.

“We have an election projection model we’ve used for about 25 years. We take into account current voting patterns across the province with the past outcome of elections, we do a calculation based on what happened across the ridings in the past, and then give them whatever changes there are in voting patterns and what impact that might have on seats.” Mills said.

While Mills said CRA’s projections have generally been correct within a couple of seats, he warned that things can always happen in the final days of an election campaign to shift voting intentions. Factors such as voter turnout also can play a big role.

“We can’t account for all the variables. It might be an individual race, we might have a really strong candidate who’s doing well on the ground. It’s not set in concrete.”


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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nova Scotia leaders hitting ridings expected to be competitive in Tuesday's vote

The Canadian Press
Published May 28, 2017 - 3:13pm
Last Updated May 29, 2017 - 8:09am

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's three major party leaders lobbied for every possible vote Sunday, targeting ridings that are expected to be highly competitive in Tuesday's provincial election.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill visited a community food centre in the riding of Dartmouth-North, where candidate Susan Leblanc is expected to mount a stiff challenge to incumbent Liberal cabinet minister Joanne Bernard.

The riding is in a working-class area of Dartmouth that had been a safe NDP seat for 15 years until Bernard won it in 2013.

In between pushing loads of dirt in a wheelbarrow as volunteers helped to plant vegetable gardens outside the food centre, Burrill said the party is optimistic it can make a strong showing there and in several other Halifax-area ridings that were formerly NDP strongholds.

"We've had a strong tradition here (Dartmouth-North) for a long time," said Burrill. "We are running a campaign all across the province, but we have some very strong candidates in Dartmouth and Halifax. We are very excited about their chances so we are putting all the effort that we can into those ridings too."

Leblanc, an actor and the co-artistic director of Zuppa Theatre, said she has found a receptive audience to the NDP's message of investing again in people.

However, she said success at the ballot box will depend on getting people to vote in a riding that has had a history of low turnout.

"So we have to make sure that everyone who is responding gets to vote and that's going to be our big focus," said Leblanc.

Bernard, who worked in the non-profit sector and established a residential facility for women prior to being elected, believes being on the government side makes a difference in a riding she says was neglected for too long.

"There's never been any investments and over the past three-and-a-half years we've been able to turn that around," said Bernard. "I'll stand on my record in this riding and let the chips fall where they fall."

Meanwhile, Premier Stephen McNeil rallied with Liberal troops on the grass outside a library in Hammond Plains Sunday morning, waving at passing cars and shaking hands with red-clad sign-holders. Supporters of incumbent Ben Jessome chanted "Ben again" over the sound of honking horns.

Jessome is thought to be in a tough three-way race in the Hammonds Plains-Lucasville riding, with Tory Matt Whitman — a Halifax regional councillor and former deputy mayor — thought to be his biggest threat.

But McNeil said every riding is equally important to his party in winning a renewed majority. The Liberal leader was to take his campaign to Cape Breton later Sunday, where there are also expected to be several close races.

"There's a majority government out there for the Liberal party and we're going to go chase every vote that we can to try to deliver that," said McNeil shortly after pulling up to the library in his campaign bus.

"Every riding is key for me."

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie made an appearance in the Cape Breton riding of Victoria-The-Lakes, where former Tory MLA Keith Bain is trying to reclaim the seat from Liberal incumbent Pam Eyking. Bain represented the riding for seven years until losing to Eyking by 303 votes in 2013.

From there Baillie pushed on to Antigonish, where he held another in a series of rallies focusing on the state of health care — an issue polls have shown is a Liberal vulnerability.

"We're going for the win and are spending our time now primarily in Liberal-held ridings where people are looking for change," Baillie said.

Meanwhile, Elections Nova Scotia said just over 112,900 people voted in advanced polling that wrapped up Saturday.

Spokesman Andy LeBlanc said 20,783 of those votes were cast on the final day alone.

He said the higher turnout over 2013, when 100,698 votes were cast in advance polls, was in part due to increased opportunity — seven days, up from two — and people's ability to vote at any polling station.

Baillie said he's "very encouraged" by the increased numbers and believes it is a sign of a volatile electorate.

"When Nova Scotians come out early and vote in those kinds of numbers they are sending a message that they want to change the government," he said.

— With files by Aly Thomson in Halifax


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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May 29, 2017 4:52 pm Updated: May 29, 2017 5:02 pm

Nova Scotia advance voting up 12 per cent from previous election

Steve Silva By Steve Silva
Video Journalist Global News

An extra 12,202 Nova Scotians voted at advance polls than in the prior general election, according to Elections Nova Scotia.

Although the exact number wasn’t available yet, the organization reported more than 112,900 people voted by the time those polls closed on Saturday.

READ MORE: Complete Nova Scotia election coverage

In 2013, 100,698 people voted in advance.

“It’s really difficult to say whether this is the sign of a trend or not. It’s up 12,000, but keep in mind that we also went up from two days of advance voting to seven days of advance voting,” said Andy LeBlanc, a spokesperson for Elections N.S.

He added the increase may be a record.

Another change in this election was an easier way to vote in a different district for a candidate in a voter’s home district; that accounted for more than 22,000 votes.

“That’s an interesting number,” LeBlanc said.

In the prior election, 720,077 people were on the list of electors; there are now 748,633.

Nova Scotia’s population has increase between 2013 and 2016 from 943,500 to 949,500, respectively, according to Statistics Canada.

“There’s a definite increase in the voter turnout for the advance polls, even adjusted for the modest increase in population that we’ve witnessed since the 2013 provincial election,” Tom Urbaniak, a political scientist, said in a phone interview from Sydney, N.S.

READ MORE: How Global News is covering the Nova Scotia election

He said one cause of the increased turnout could be because Elections N.S. did a more extensive job of letting people know about advance voting options. He also said that campaign teams have been encouraging people to vote early.

“Just in case circumstances might change. There might be gaps, there might be scandals, there might be a particularly good performance in a debate by the leader of another party. You don’t want to leave it to chance if you’re a campaigner,” Urbaniak said.

The prior election’s voter turnout was 58.2 per cent. Election day is May 30


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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nova Scotia election day: Penny-pinching Liberals seeking second term in office

Michael MacDonald, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, May 30, 2017 5:40AM EDT

HALIFAX -- When the Nova Scotia election campaign started 30 days ago, Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil set the tone of the race by warning supporters that his tight-fisted approach may have turned off some voters.

"We had to make tough choices, choices that weren't always popular," the Liberal premier said on April 30, acknowledging a frugal style of governing that has allowed him to deliver balanced budgets in the past two years despite weak economic growth.

As voters head to the polls today, many will likely be recalling how McNeil's majority government was defined by its decision to rein in spending by limiting wage increases within the public sector. That led to ugly standoffs with the province's nurses and public school teachers, culminating in protests at the legislature, brief strikes and back-to-work legislation that the unions said was draconian.

There was also a series of cuts to seniors' long-term care and public service organizations, including cutbacks to non-profit groups serving those with hearing loss, eating disorders and epilepsy. And in 2015, thousands of people working the province's film industry took to the streets to protest the government's decision to eliminate a film tax credit.

Despite McNeil's hard-nosed approach, the Liberals maintained a strong lead in decided voter support throughout their mandate, with the Progressive Conservatives under Jamie Baillie well behind in second place, and Gary Burrill's New Democrats a distant third.

Still, a closer look at the polls showed there was a cost to McNeil's approach. Though his party has remained in first place among decided voters, his own popularity lagged behind that of his party.

In the two months before the election campaign, the Liberals attempted to soften their image by spending tens of millions of dollars in a flurry of daily announcements. The party then tabled a budget last month that included a modest tax cut for about 500,000 Nova Scotians.

Three days later, McNeil pulled the trigger on an election, an announcement that reminded Canadians that Nova Scotia is the only province that does not have fixed election dates.

At dissolution, the Liberals held 34 seats in the 51-seat legislature, the Progressive Conservatives had 10 and the NDP 5. There was one Independent and one seat was vacant.

By the end of the campaign, some polls suggested the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives found themselves in a tightened race, with Baillie repeatedly hammering McNeil for what Baillie describes as a health-care crisis.

On Monday, Baillie again returned to a theme that he said was resonating with voters.

"Everywhere I go in Nova Scotia, people tell me that they are frustrated and afraid because of the state of our health-care system," Baillie told a rally in Dartmouth. "Everyone acknowledges there is a crisis in health care -- everyone except Stephen McNeil."

In particular, Baillie has made a point of telling voters McNeil had failed to deliver on a 2013 promise to make sure every Nova Scotian had access to a family doctor. About 100,000 Nova Scotians are still looking for a doctor.

The health issue is crucial to the Tories' success because there is little else to distinguish their platform from that of the Liberals, especially when it comes to fiscal policy.

Baillie, who is contesting his second election as leader, is promising four years of balanced budgets if elected. McNeil is promising the same. And both men are promising to keep public sector wages in line.

By contrast, NDP Leader Gary Burrill campaigned on a platform that calls for adding close to $1 billion to the province's accumulated debt over the next four years if he becomes premier.

Burrill, elected leader just over a year ago, has said his party was inspired by Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal party won the 2015 election by, among other things, pledging to spur the economy by using deficit financing.

The Liberals have described the NDP's leader as "anti-capitalist," while a Tory spokesman called his platform a "reckless spending orgy."

The NDP's commitment to deficit financing stands in contrast to the approach taken by the province's first NDP government, which won the general election in 2009 by promising to table three consecutive balanced budgets -- a promise they eventually broke.

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Nova Scotia headed for a spring provincial election ?

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